ABM and brand: Beyond the chasm

  • 17 Jan 2024

Alisha Lyndon

I recently spoke to Rachel Fairley, Chief Brand Officer at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, to explore how ABM and brand work together. Rachel has successfully repositioned over 30 companies, and the argument was clear: ABM extends beyond mere demand generation and has the potential to revolutionize the way businesses approach customer engagement.

It’s a common misconception that ABM is a strategy in place of lead generation. The integration of brand and demand efforts brings together the best of both to grow accounts. The pitfalls of segregated strategies are akin to donning rugby gear one day and a three-piece suit the next. So, I asked Rachel how we can avoid the lead-generation chasm so many ABM programs slip into.

Show up consistently

Separating brand and demand efforts means inconsistent interactions with accounts. This is disconcerting for customers and bad for revenue. An account-based strategy calls for a unified and consistent presence, so the entire organization shows up consistently for your accounts.

There’s a methodology to how you define your brand so that it actually accelerates the business strategy. And then make that how your business behaves and interacts and what the expectations are with customers, suppliers, and partners. It’s almost like you become a real thing that people can be confident is always going to show up and be the same.

Develop solution portfolios based on customer needs

Evolving market dynamics call for adaptability and innovation. Selling and serving customers in one area doesn’t guarantee a similar reception for a new offering. Adopting an account-centric approach allows businesses to develop tailored solution portfolios based on customer needs. This ensures that services and offerings resonate with buyers, driving business impact and sustained growth.

You have to figure out how to make that marriage work between what the market is looking for, what the buyer’s looking for, and how you can actually solve those problems for them. Rather than just marketing your features and functionality and hoping somebody will find that sexy.

Know your customer

Don’t assume that your accounts will seamlessly retain information from one interaction to the next. An account-focused effort involves your organization building connective tissue and insights across executive, marketing, sales, and service interactions. This valuable knowledge is then utilized to foster and maintain brilliant relationships.

It's not about what you have or what you want to sell. It's about what they want to buy and how you can get that product into their hand in the way that they want.

Keep buyers alive when they're not in the market

Stay relevant by understanding what motivates a customer’s entry into the market, while delivering memorable experiences and maintaining a continuous stream of communications. This approach aims to enhance both mental and physical availability, ensuring sustained engagement and impact.

They're not shopping, you're completely and utterly not what they're looking for. But you want to be top of mind. You want to have that mental availability when they come to market.

Create a culture that serves buyer needs

Our collaborations with clients are geared toward driving transformation. In this context, culture extends beyond mere interactions like marketing collaborating more closely with sales or the distribution of customer feedback. It goes much further – when done well, it involves a deep understanding of customer needs. The embedded culture is designed to fulfil these needs, adapting behaviors based on the specifics of the purchase. This could be a customized solution for their business, prompting a different approach, or a purchase of a well-understood product.

If you truly care about your customer and want to understand them and make sure what they get from you is exactly what they need… then that is everything in business, that is loyalty for life.

This is the very essence of ABM – a strategic approach that goes beyond traditional marketing boundaries. ABM creates a culture deeply rooted in customer needs, understanding, and satisfaction.

The fusion of ABM and brand isn’t just a strategy; it’s a shift in organizational culture and a commitment to a customer-centric ecosystem that stands the test of time.

Listen to the ABM podcast here.

When tightly interwoven, ABM and brand initiatives emerge as corporate strategy game-changers for growing accounts.