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Let’s talk ABM: A peek under the hood

In a recent episode of Let's talk ABM, we unveiled an exciting new project that our Heads of ABM have been working on. Here, we give you a sneak peek...

Strategy   |   ABM

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Nicky Kemp

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Aug 22 2023 - 9min Read Date published: Date modified: 2023-08-25


Likening Account-based Marketing to a car isn’t any sort of a stretch.

Where a One-to-many program resembles a production-line, high-performance SUV, One-to-few could be described as more of a limited-edition sports coupé. And One-to-one? That’s more like a unique F1 team racer!

Whatever your program type, premium insights are your fuel.

But, wait! There is so much more to it than that.

As explained by two of our key Strategists – Josh Weale and Jack Rawlings – ABM involves a whole load of moving parts, all working away together, usually out of sight, providing the driving force for your success. 

And that’s precisely where they’ll be focusing their attention for their exciting new podcast: ABM Under the Hood.

Speaking with Josh and Jack in a recent episode of Let’s talk ABM (full interview here), we discussed:

  • What they’ll be exploring in their own new podcast
  • The things people need to know as they start an ABM program
  • What ABM actually is – and what it isn’t
  • Where Account-based Marketing is, two decades on

So, let’s take a peek under the hood and see what Jack and Josh have waiting for us in this brand new project of theirs...


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ABM Under the Hood: A sneak peek

1. Your program as a well-oiled machine

Sitting alongside our award-winning Let's talk ABM series, a new podcast hosted by Josh Weale and Jack Rawlings, our very own Heads of ABM, will provide a whole other perspective.

Called ABM Under the Hood, it’ll go down into the mechanics of what makes an ABM program and ABM strategy actually work. 

So, while we're interviewing top experts and thought leaders from the wider industry, the idea behind our sister podcast is to really dig deep into the specifics, the day-to-day challenges, issues, and solutions.

Co-hosted by two Strat-mechanics used to getting their hands dirty, so to speak, ABM Under the Hood aims to diagnose some of the issues that can arise, enable those who want to run a program to learn a bit more about what goes into it, and shine a light on what good ABM looks like.

“There'll be conversations between myself and Josh on some of the main issues, particularly around things like strategy and development of ABM programs. But also, we'll be speaking to other team members... people from Creative teams, Design, and other areas around the business that kind of help feed into that success of an ABM program.” – Jack Rawlings, Head of ABM, strategicabm

ABM case study

2. From new coining to... buzzword?

In embarking upon a new podcast for ABMers everywhere, our two Js, Josh and Jack, are very aware of two things...

Firstly, there are other Marketing podcasts out there! So, providing a fresh perspective has been very much on their blueprints from the off.

ABM Under the Hood will approach all things Account-based from a nuts-and-bolts angle, and serve as a fitting complement to its stablemate (or should that be garagemate?), Let’s talk ABM. 

Secondly, as Josh points out, the world we all operate in is, this year, passing the milestone of two decades since Bev Burgess first coined the term ‘Account-based Marketing’ in 2003.

This makes it the perfect time to be thinking about the components of ABM today and how to engineer a program – who you're targeting, how you're going to reach them, and what message you'll be putting out to them. 

Ultimately, understanding everything that makes ABM work. 

“From our perspective, what we see a lot of is people thinking that – specifically around LinkedIn thought leadership – it can be very easy to say you're doing ABM and putting that out there. But, ABM as a buzzword is kind of like, well, what actually IS it that goes BEHIND it?” – Josh Weale, Head of ABM, strategicabm

3. What are the moving parts of ABM?

There are many different aspects to an ABM program – especially when you’re starting out. So, what specifically will our Js be looking at, as ABM Under the Hood revs up?

Firstly, account selection. Picking the right targets. Knowing who you're going after, why, and how best to action it. Account selection forms the foundation of your ABM program, so it’s only right that we’ll be taking the time to dive into its nitty-gritty details.

And naturally, this leads directly to Sales and Marketing alignment: One of the massive issues that businesses face when they're setting up an ABM program.”

No argument there.

Problems can arise when businesses come from a traditional Lead Gen mindset, where it's all about MQLs, SQLs, and hand-off points for Sales. So, they're used to trying to hit quotas and having leads in a spreadsheet – meaning you end up in a situation where Sales and Marketing aren't necessarily working together. 

Based on such fundamentals, the new podcast aims to give listeners tips and solutions to help them get into gear.

“It's around that Sales and Marketing alignment piece, and NOT having that established from the outset – because of the mindset of the business – that's a real key blocker for successful ABM.” – Josh Weale, Head of ABM, strategicabm

ABM Playbook


4. Next up: tech (of course) and buy-in

We all know there are vast quantities of technology tools available to ABMers; platforms that help to scale and grow our programs. 

And because this is Under the Hood, we’ll be going back to basics there, too: What’s actually necessary, and what isn’t? What are the fundamentals people might want to look at, from a tech perspective?

Also up for discussion, though, are the very latest trends in tech – and how they do, will, and might soon impact ABM.

Late last year, everyone in Marketing was talking about the Metaverse; fast-forward eight or nine months, and it’s ChatGPT and Generative AI dominating the conversation. 

As Jack points out, “There's so many different use cases that I've already seen in the space of maybe two or three months, of actually using some of these tools.”

From learners to those with an engine up and running – and keen to embrace the potential of these revolutionary developments – one common issue is the need to communicate the value of an ABM program. 

Even after 20 years, not everyone is bought into this way of doing things – so, lifting the lid on ABM’s internal workings, Under the Hood aims to help with that, too.

“Communicating the ROI is something that we're going to be touching on a lot, because that's a conversation that people are having to have quite consistently with the wider business, and certainly with other stakeholders in their team.” – Jack Rawlings, Head of ABM, strategicabm

5. Setting a roadmap for success

ABM presents many challenges. So, as well as sharing their ideas and perspectives around overcoming these, Josh and Jack will be opening up the discussion with colleagues across our Agency – tapping into the breadth and decades of experience to be found here.

As a taster, where do the guys think B2B marketers struggle most when launching an ABM program? 

For starters, it’s objective setting, being realistic about what you can achieve, and knowing how to play the long game: “ABM is about building the foundations – which means setting out realistic objectives over three, six, nine, twelve months, and beyond that even further.”

Our advice is to set your roadmap for success before you even start the engine – and when you do, to know just when and how you’ll be checking on progress. This discussion is about which types of metrics and data sources are right for a specific ABM program – because as Jack explains, there's not necessarily one clear answer.

“Even established ABM practitioners and businesses still struggle with that question around how best to report... the reality is there's different types of reporting requirements needed depending on the situation.” – Jack Rawlings, Head of ABM, strategicabm

6. Where is Account-based Marketing now?

At the Agency, we like to call ABM ‘zero-waste Marketing’, because it’s so focused. 

Another way to look at it is as a lens. Because with ABM, you’re overlooking your Total Addressable Market – viewing accounts to determine those showing the greatest propensity to buy, or those closest to your most profitable and long-lasting existing customers.

It’s such perspectives that ABM Under the Hood intends to share with the world.

But, in this anniversary year, can we confidently say that ABM is in good shape for a 20-year-old?

Without a doubt!

That’s not to say we’re running consistently at peak revs, though. Education around ABM is still very much needed, with continuing myths and misconceptions, such as the notion that ABM is 'just targeted display ads' – or that it's 'very simple'. 

As Josh points out: “The reality is that awareness and education is the only way we're going to get there in terms of continuing to grow the health of ABM as a category.”

More positive is the number of conversations going on about ABM – and the enthusiastic enquiries we field at the Agency on a daily basis, including from stakeholders outside the departments one might expect. 

“As a category in itself, I think it's pretty well-defined what Account-based Marketing is. I think in terms of understanding what it ISN’T – that's kind of where the gray area still remains!” – Josh Weale, Head of ABM, strategicabm

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7. Stand by to get Under the Hood of ABM

So, watch – or rather listen to – this space. The new podcast is almost here; and we’ll be sure to let you know when it drops!

From our Strategy, Creative, and Content, through to Client Services and Demand teams – everyone at the Agency is lining up, ready to don our metaphorical overalls and join the two Js, to share stories and insights.

ABM Under the Hood will be the place to come for anyone who wants to learn more about how ABM runs successfully. It's a machine of many parts, and there’s a lot of ground to cover – and we can’t wait to get motoring! 

“I think, from a Marketing perspective, ABM is quite an advanced way of going to market, right? It's not saying that it's necessarily complicated or convoluted, but it's not simple. It's not something that you can just switch on and off.” – Jack Rawlings, Head of ABM, strategicabm

In the meantime, catch up with the latest ABM trends and insights in our e-newsletter, DashDot. Each month, we dive into all the hottest topics in the industry, and provide a sneak peek at the upcoming episodes of ABM Under the Hood.

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