Account-based marketing has become a time tested and critical approach for B2B marketers wishing to start or accelerate a buying cycle with single target prospects or customers.
In late May, I moderated a panel at the 2012 International BMA Conference titled “Ignite the B2B Pipeline with Account-Based Marketing,” where we heard two very different success stories from Andrea Ogg, then Senior Marketing Manager – Integrated Marketing, CenturyLink Business (now Senior Manager of Marketing—Worldwide Service Provider Campaigns & Demand Generation at Juniper Networks) and George Stenitzer, Vice President of Corporate Marketing and Communications for Tellabs.
Our panel explored how these organizations are using account-based marketing (ABM) to break through to strategic prospect accounts, retain and grow customer relationships, penetrate other divisions of large customer organizations and nurture and accelerate the buying cycle with key prospects. I was intrigued by their stories—and felt there were great takeaways for us all to consider in our marketing. Following is a recap of the stories and results shared.
CenturyLink Targeted Accounts Program tripled, with 8:1 ROI
Andrea Ogg shared with us how CenturyLink Business strove to penetrate new enterprise accounts and promote a sales meeting to initiate the lengthy 12 to 15 month sales cycle by focusing on its key differentiator: the ability to customize a network solution.
To accomplish this, the company delivered a high-value, personalized experience to an executive-level audience, beginning with an architectural tube containing detailed network maps of the prospects’ networks (developed by CenturyLink Business sales engineers). A hand-written note on the map directed targets to a personalized microsite (via a PURL). Information about the transition program, personal recommendations and direct access to their Account Manager extended the personal experience.
The enthusiasm of a CenturyLink sales engineer who proclaimed, “This is the best marketing program I’ve seen in my 15 years in this business,” is backed up by the quantitative results. CenturyLink Business’ targeted accounts program earned 64% participation rate, 26% win rate, 8:1 ROI and tripled its program.
(Full disclosure: my firm was responsible for the creation and implementation of this program.)
Tellabs grew from $1M to $40M in two years by building awareness in Russia.
Tellabs produces equipment for telecom networks such as AT&T and Verizon in 90 countries around the world, with current expansion focused in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. In this industry where the top 20 companies make ¾ of the capital expenditures, the sell cycle is 6 to 24 months. George Stenitzer shared how Tellabs overcomes these challenges as it breaks into new, international growth markets through a case study of the company’s success in Russia.
Russia is a huge territory. With an unknown brand, one salesperson and no strong local partners, Tellabs employed what they call “the Pufferfish strategy”. This approach involves pinpointing specific customers they want to do business with (in this case, the top three mobile businesses in Russia), getting very close to them and surrounding them with Tellabs’ message—so they look big while staffing up sales and service areas.
The company accomplished this marketing surround-sound by launching www.tellabs.com/ru customer and partner website, creating a customer magazine in Russian focused on customer concerns, running fresh banner and print ads to drive site traffic, generating key trade media coverage, building an email list of customers and partners, starting an e-newsletter and having a significant presence at the leading trade show.
Clearly, Tellabs hit their mark with the following results:
• Web visits grew from zero to 400 to >1,000 monthly
• Signed up new local partners
• Won business from two of the top three Russian mobile operators — MegaFon and MTS
• Tellabs increased revenue outside North America to half of overall revenue
The packed room and swarm of enthusiastic people who approached me afterwards to say how relevant this topic is to their business confirmed the importance of understanding and leveraging ABM in B2B marketing today.
Get smarter about ABM
Encouraged about what ABM can do for your B2B marketing efforts? Get more insights and how-to-tips in my post Why Account-Based Marketing Should be a Priority in B2B and 5 Steps for Getting Started.