Insight is core to successful ABM. But complex B2B buyer journeys means generating that insight at unmanageable scale. Enigma had to face up to that complexity in an ABM programme it designed for Symantec. Martin Simcock explains

B2B marketing has never been easy – but it’s getting harder. According to Gartner, “The typical buying group for a complex B2B solution involves six to 10 decision-makers‚ each armed with four or five pieces of information they’ve gathered independently and must de-conflict with the group”.  

So, if your ABM campaign needs to hit all of these stakeholders, that’s potentially 50 separate pieces of collateral you need. And you can multiply that number by the vertical markets you want to hit, the regions in which you are active and the different stages of the funnel that these decision-makers may be occupying. Given this complexity, it’s no wonder that so many people are spinning their wheels.

One to (very!) many 

Enigma is currently working with one of the world’s largest financial software companies on a series of bid support projects. We are producing entirely bespoke hard copy value proposition documents that can be shared internally after a pitch meeting. In these cases, a successful bid would be worth millions – sometimes hundreds of millions – of dollars. So, the potential ROI more than justifies the investment. 

Most companies don’t have deal sizes large enough to justify that kind of expenditure on a single account. In lots of cases, our customers are coming to us with an account list of 1,000 or more – and what differentiates ABM from a ‘spray and pray’ email campaign is the insight that underpins the outreach. So how can you generate insight at that kind of scale – particularly bearing in mind the complex buyer landscape I described earlier?

Confidence redefined

This was precisely the problem we faced when Symantec asked us to run an ABM campaign for their digital security certificates to 1,500 accounts across EMEA, AsiaPac and the Americas. 

A first pass at using vertical industries to segment this group was rejected – there were simply too many industries for this to work. So, we went to work on personas. 

By carefully constructing the buyer journey and understanding the cultural challenges involved, we were able to whittle down a dozen or so personas into just three. We also identified five solution sub-categories to map onto each persona, giving circa 15 core assets (each of which was translated into one of six languages). To further customise the experience, we used cityscapes from one of six global cities, using New York for North American prospects, London for the UK, etc.

The research we conducted for the campaign was re-used in detailed sales enablement materials, ensuring that the sales outreach was customised to the right segment and extending the campaign all the way to off-line engagement.   

This was an intense piece of up-front work taking four months to complete – but it was the foundation of the entire campaign. It enabled us to manage the complexity of addressing 1,500 accounts and deliver a personalised experience – but without investigating every individual account and developing bespoke communications for each. 

This very efficient use of resources was not achieved at the expense of results: We had engagement rates as high as 30% and click-through rates as high as 17% – and we delivered tens of millions of dollars of pipeline with an ROI of 101:1.

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