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Can APAC be a global leader in ABM?

Roger Marshall

August 02, 2022

As some parts of the world excel at account-based marketing while others are still evolving, the focus on ABM trends and best practices remains constant.  It can even get competitive as one market tries to out-perform another. During a recent small series of events hosted by the Agent3 APAC team here in Sydney, and accompanied by Bev Burgess – widely regarded as the founder of ABM and now Managing Principal at the Inflexion Group – I asked the question: Can APAC be a global leader in ABM?

We engaged a number of senior ABMers from a mix of ‘leading’ and ‘learning’ organizations, each with ABM front-and-centre in their marketing mix, but at different points in the maturity of their ABM implementation. Bev and I discussed some of their observations and learnings in this short video below – here are some of the of the key takeaways:

  • While APAC might be a later arrival to ABM than its EMEA or NA counterparts, the ability to flex and move quickly is bringing a fresh approach in the region that challenges ABM ‘norms’ and drives creativity. Hence, while the ABM market in APAC overall may not yet be as mature, some of the best ABM ideas are now originating in APAC and being replicated in other typically more mature geographies.
  • Face-to-face engagement has been a bedrock of ABM in APAC, but this was decimated during Covid. Still, APAC’s return to more face-to-face activities in ABM programs is more prominent than in other markets. This is bringing new and deeper levels of insight and personalization, delivered in increasingly creative ways, cutting through the competition for attention in non-digital spaces.
  • As ABM evolves in APAC, the need to attract talent from other marketing disciplines is driving a different ABM mindset. As people joining the ABM fraternity bring new skill sets, this in turn is bringing fresh, new perspectives on the art of the possible.
  • Account selection remains one of the biggest challenges in every region. With a smaller account pool to draw from, this is one of the most critical decisions to make (and the most difficult to unwind if you get it wrong). Ensuring the account is thoroughly qualified often happens earlier and with greater scrutiny in APAC than other markets, and engaging the Sales team becomes even more important. Hence, a focus on running ABM programs at a smaller scale is often a driving factor for success in the APAC region, but this doesn’t impact the quality of ABM execution (back to the first point!)
  • Sticking with scale, the evolution of ABM within APAC is sometimes more ‘considered’ than other markets. There’s simply no manoeuvrability (or budget) to keep experimenting or, even worse, get it wrong! One of the keys to getting it right is to nurture close relationships, not only between Marketing and Sales, but between ABMers and other internal Marketing functions. The scale and range of cultures across APAC mean this integration of teams happens frequently, and is a key driver of success.

So, based on all our discussions together, we feel we can say with confidence that yes, APAC can be – and in some cases already is – a global leader in ABM!

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