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Scale the peak of ABM success!

Greg Salmon

November 15, 2023

In the Brothers Grimm fairytale, Rumpelstiltskin, a miller claims that his daughter can spin straw into gold, and when the King decides to put this story to the test, to his delight (and her’s!) he finds that the miller was telling the truth.  The reward?  An even bigger room of straw to spin into gold the following night!

And so it can sometimes seem with ABM programs. 

We're all aware of the Gartner Hype Cycle and believe there is perhaps a danger that, in the rush to scale the initial results of their pilot ABM programmes, organisations make some strategy, infrastructure and implementation missteps and, as a result, risk falling into the Trough of Disillusionment. So, how can you think multiple moves ahead about the implications of scaling ABM initiatives as they come under greater visibility - and scrutiny - across the organisation?  And how do you get ahead of some of the hidden pitfalls?

At the recent Global ABM Conference, I got to explore this very subject with two seasoned (and award winning!) ABM leaders, Rachael Bell, VP ABM, NTT Data, and Matt Brown VP, Global Campaigns, Infor.  Judging by the lack of empty seats left in the room, it is clearly a challenge facing many industry practitioners!

We had a great conversation drawing on the experiences of both Rachael and Matt, who come from quite different ABM backgrounds, so I’d strongly encourage you to watch the conversation in its entirety for some ​​valuable tips and advice.  

In the meantime, though, here are some key takeaways:

  • Back to basics: while the starting point of each organisation was quite different, Rachael and Matt based their future ABM success by going back to basics on:
    • Establishing a company-wide agreed definition of ABM and what it can - and can’t - achieve
    • Agreeing realistic objectives and goals for the ABM programs in conjunction with the sales teams
    • Establishing key messaging and continuing to hone it and drive it.  Strong law and order enforcement may be required to keep everyone on message and paddling in the same direction
    • Rinse and repeat!  It’s a continual process.
  • Clear, ongoing communication is key to success: keep lines of communication open with stakeholders and update continually on progress.  This includes everyone from sales teams, heads of product, heads of sales, leadership and even CEO level.  Everyone has to be aligned to what ABM is trying to achieve and the progress to date, especially successes
  • Timing is key: part of securing buy-in from the organisation is gaining trust in the value that ABM can deliver throughout the year.  But not everything has to happen immediately.  It’s important to understand when the business needs pipeline, and when it doesn’t, as this will inform when you put certain programs in flight.
  • Processes and frameworks: these can help, but they must be policed to ensure no deviation and therefore dilution of the results
  • Data delivers value: ABM is more than just a baton that passes leads to another part of the business.  It’s a relationship between multiple organisational elements that creates an end goal.  Becoming obsessional about the data will ensure any changes required can happen immediately to keep a program on track.  Being ahead of the game in this way will be particularly valuable as programs start to scale.  Insight, too, helps ABM teams deliver more value to sales teams who may not have the time to invest in researching their accounts, so such support helps position the ABM team as strategic partners.  

You can watch the discussion below, and if effective scaling of ABM programs is something you’re grappling with right now, drop us a line on for a chat.  We’d love to hear from you.

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