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Structure, Scale, Agility and Personalisation in ABM

Agent3 Partner, Roger Marshall in Conversation with Salesforce ANZ Senior Marketing Director, Stephanie McCredie

Written by Roger Marshall


As the pandemic continues to impact businesses and customers across the globe, the importance of delivering agile, scalable, insight driven and human-centred marketing programs has never been greater. 

In Australia, Salesforce and Agent3 have worked together for the past two years to build a successful Account Based Marketing (ABM) program that’s grown and scaled each year to deliver some amazing results.

I recently had the pleasure of discussing this relationship with Salesforce ANZ Senior Marketing Director, ABM, Stephanie McCredie at the ABM Leaders Forum APAC. Focusing on ABM structure, scale, agility and personalisation, our conversation offered advice on turning insights into action, getting to the hearts of your customers, and delivering measurable results while still remaining true to the principles of ABM.

Structure and Scale:

There’s no one size fits all when it comes to structure. Early on, Agent3 and Salesforce recognised the significance of selecting appropriate accounts without bias, and conducting thorough account discovery to build trust internally with Sales and externally with strategic customers through personalised marketing. 

Within the APAC region and beyond, markets can vary massively depending on sales culture, the nature of the target business, repeatability, channels, local nuances and of course, ABM maturity. All of which must be considered in how you structure your ABM strategy. To quote Stephanie McCredie: “ABM starts with the needs of the customer so it’s important to invest time in sourcing customer insights from both internal and external sources. When you understand the needs of your customer through these insights, you can deliver more valuable experiences through personalisation, which is the foundation of a successful ABM program.”

The most common advice I give to anyone starting their ABM program in APAC is: ‘Never eat anything bigger than your head – you’ll get sick quickly!’ Essentially, don’t try to scale too fast without adequate talent, resources and personalisation. Instead of focusing the beginning of an ABM journey on increased scale and technology, I always recommend customers start by fostering the relationship between Sales and Marketing – as well as Marketing and Marketing – to build a solid foundation that can be scaled over time. 

It’s also important to remember that scaling can occur in both directions (up and down), not everything can be scaled together, and that scaling accounts to new markets can actually mean starting again from scratch.

Stephanie adds: “ABM is not a short term approach. It is a strategic initiative that requires sustained investment to deliver maximum results. I suggest you think big, start small, move fast.  Be clear on what you are trying to achieve through the different phases, and engage early and often with your sales team.”

Agility and Personalisation:

Keeping agile and continuing to deliver relevant personalised material is a huge part of building the trust that allows ABM to work so well. 

To Agent3, agile ABM means Responsive ABM. Agent3’s Responsive ABM model allowed Salesforce to scale the number of targeted accounts and adjust the ABM support received up and down according to key moments for each customer in the sales journey. This isn’t a ‘tool’ but rather, a strategy that takes time to mature. As the world has changed during pandemic, the needs of our clients have shifted – in some cases dramatically – from when we first began our relationships. In response to these changes, we have had to maintain a thorough understanding of their industries, locations, customers and strengths to continue to offer meaningfully personalised ABM that allows them to succeed. 

To me, personalised ABM transcends structure, scale and agility, and sits at the heart of what I think of as ‘true ABM’. In the end, two of ABM’s 3R’s – Revenue, Relationships and Reputation – are emotional so, incorporating genuine, personalised human touches will always create so much more success for businesses, clients, consumers and communities.

In this increasingly digital world, impactful human touches can be critical to sales progression. There is so much research into the emotional connections that sit behind a purchase decision but ultimately, I always just go back to what my father, a farmer in Ireland used to tell me, “People buy from people – you’ll always get a better deal from a friend than a foe.”

Gain access to Roger and Stephanie's discussion to find out how Salesforce and Agent3 are working together to create agile, personalised, scalable and structured ABM.

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