How do you grow (and retain) a portfolio of 125 global accounts with 100s of millions of dollars in revenue?
Jabra, the leader in engineering communications and sound solutions, opted for an Account-based Marketing strategy to meet this challenge.
Why ABM? Jabra’s Global Accounts team manages 125 accounts representing more than 19 million employees (and end-users) with dozens (or even hundreds) of buying committees and decision-makers.
An Account-based strategy has allowed Jabra to:
- Communicate with customers globally, regionally, and locally
- Reach dozens or hundreds of buyers within each account
- Build Account experiences unique to industry and customer
- Craft a value proposition that resonates with each customer
- Build expansion programs with HQ-centric organizations
- Grow accounts into major revenue generators
In the latest episode of Let’s talk ABM, I spoke with Andreas Villumsen, Global Account Marketing Manager at Jabra, about the key steps to launching and developing a Global Account program.
In the interview (full recording here), we discussed:
- How Jabra’s Global Account program drives growth
- Why ABM is key to Jabra’s ‘Land and Expand’ strategy
- What some of the hardest parts of ABM are
- Advice on how to succeed at Account-based Marketing
So let’s dive into some of Andreas’ top tips:
7 steps to launching a global account program
1. Empower your Sales and Marketing teams
Account-based Marketing is all about driving greater value from your Marketing and Sales efforts.
From the moment you deploy ABM, your teams need to be unified and willing to cross the traditional boundaries of their roles.
What do I mean by that?
Quite simply, Marketing is no longer just about launching campaigns, and Sales is no longer just about closing deals.
Both teams become invested in the ABM journey, in creating a relationship with the account, and in seeing the journey through to the end.
For Marketing, that means producing personalized content that tells a story, aligns with your program’s Value Proposition, resonates with the target account, and empowers your Sales team.
For Sales, as soon as your teams realize the power and capabilities that a dedicated Marketing team can bring to them, and that alignment is core, successful ABM will be that much easier to achieve.
“ABM can help in a lot of senses - say not only from a Demand Generation awareness perspective but also a Sales Enablement perspective, really, right?” - Andreas Villumsen, Global Account Marketing Manager at Jabra
2. Tier your accounts
Of course, account tiering is a crucial step for any ABM program.
But the minute you start to scale that program and target more global accounts, tiering and classifying becomes all the more important.
By tiering your accounts and putting them into categories, you can easily assess the level of resource and personalization needed to ‘land and expand’ each account.
Jabra tiers their 125 global accounts like this:
- Tier 1: ‘Mature accounts’ to maintain
- Tier 2: ‘Global development accounts’ to expand outside of HQ
- Tier 3: ‘Acquisition accounts’ significant development opportunities
These tiers determine the ABM program type, level of support, and personalization.
With categories and tiers helping you prioritize your accounts, your processes will become a lot more unified and streamlined, with a holistic understanding of where resources need to be focused throughout the organization.
3. Land and expand
Global accounts offer huge opportunities but equally considerable challenges.
Each account is naturally different - some are centralized, some are decentralized, others are a hybrid.
Jabra has found that, in the case of some global accounts, there are hundreds of potential buyers within one single account.
That means that they have to deploy ABM to land and expand within the account to build reputation relationships and, ultimately, revenue.
This makes the work of the ABM team harder. The good news is that the value proposition and Account experience can be deployed at scale - with a level of personalization relevant to each buyer within the Account.
“Some companies are capable of making this global program or rollout. Others will have very decentralized decision making. And of course that makes our job harder in not having to just go to one decision-maker, perhaps multiple, even hundreds sometimes.” - Andreas Villumsen, Global Account Marketing Manager at Jabra
4. Assess where you need resources
ABM is a resource-heavy strategy.
That doesn’t necessarily mean you need a huge team to support you. It just means you need to learn to work smarter, not harder.
One of the first steps you can take is to monitor and assess where resources are being used and where they need to be used in order to be most effective.
This ultimately links back to your account tiering.
Some accounts will require more investment and more personalization than others. Some will require a whole new level of resources. If you’re not keeping track of that, then a lot of budget and effort will go to waste.
It’s wise not to rely solely on your financial metrics to see how effective your strategy is. In addition, check in with your Sales team.
Ask how much resource is going into these accounts. Ask how many more resources are needed, and where.
Knowing how many resources you have and where to focus them, is absolutely critical if you hope to succeed with ABM.
“If we want to be truly customer-centric, as we do, we need to personalize and cater for those personalized individual stories.” - Andreas Villumsen, Global Account Marketing Manager at Jabra
5. Align with Sales
We have spoken a lot about the importance of Marketing and Sales alignment. It’s a topic that has cropped up in almost every Let’s talk ABM interview I have done to date.
Because it matters.
In order to get that alignment and break down silos, you need to agree on a set of goals and metrics that both teams can use as benchmarks; such as a revenue goal, a number of closed-won deals, etc.
“If you don't have the buy-in from Sales it's going to be a disaster for sure.” - Andreas Villumsen, Global Account Marketing Manager at Jabra
You also need alignment on investment. If Sales and Marketing aren’t able to agree on which accounts are worth that extra investment, then you have less chance of closing those high-value accounts.
“I think a dream scenario, from a lot of Sales guys, would be to have dedicated ABM resources to support them, right? [...] But it also needs to make sense. You wouldn't want to do it for a customer that would be buying 50 headsets off you, right. It needs to have a certain scale or potential.” - Andreas Villumsen, Global Account Marketing Manager at Jabra
6. Get buy-in from the C-Suite
ABM has huge impacts on revenue and ROI, and can completely transform an organization’s performance.
In fact, 87% of B2B marketers surveyed by ITSMA reported that their ABM initiatives outperform their other marketing investments in terms of ROI.
And on that basis, it only seems right that your C-Suite and Executives get a seat at the table.
You need their buy-in and support to make ABM an organization-wide initiative.
Not to mention the fact that, if your C-Suite can see the results of your hard work, they’re more likely to want to invest further in your ABM program.
7. ABM requires full-time dedication
ABM is not just good B2B Marketing.
It’s much more than that.
And it requires a very different form of Marketer. It equally requires full-time dedication. It’s not something that you can combine with other Marketing activities.
Your team needs to be 100% dedicated to the strategy.
The sales cycles are longer, the Marketing is a lot more targeted and personalized, and once you land the account, you still have to nurture and grow that relationship.
“I would definitely say that organizations need to dedicate full-time resources to it from a Marketing perspective, if you want to be successful. This is not something you can do next to your PR or Events Marketing or whatever, right? It needs to be full-time dedication. Otherwise I think you're going to choke on the task.” - Andreas Villumsen, Global Account Marketing Manager at Jabra
Keen to find out more about the world of ABM? Check out our Let’s talk ABM podcast and webinar series where you can watch the full interview with Jabra’s Andreas Villumsen, and hear from more ABM experts.