- Asia-Pacific marketers are turning to account-based marketing (ABM) to prioritize marketing efforts in an environment that is high-growth yet often under-resourced
- Make ABM resources go further by leveraging the wider marketing ecosystem, including content creators, marketing operations, global demand centers and other global account-based marketers
- With high employee attrition common in Asia, organizations must have a plan for hiring, training and retaining ABM talent
I recently had the pleasure of facilitating an account-based marketing (ABM) roundtable with our Asia-Pacific marketing leaders in Singapore, and met many clients and prospects during my visit. Before I proceed to some of the roundtable takeaways, I wanted to reflect on my visit to the country and the warm welcome I received.
Singapore is not called the Lion City for nothing. Singapore is a high-growth, high-energy gateway to Asia, with plenty of opportunities for those who embrace it. Every day I had the pleasure of meeting marketers who were friendly, hardworking, inquisitive, optimistic and intelligent. The job of the Asia-Pacific regional or field marketer is not an easy one. Everywhere I turned, I met ambitious yet often under-resourced teams, trying to prioritize their marketing efforts in a sea of opportunity. In such circumstances, one needs to focus and prioritize to align on where the growth is coming from – which is why it is no surprise that so many marketers in Asia-Pacific see ABM as critical to their business success.
ABM is a hot a topic in Asia-Pacific. According to SiriusDecisions Command Center® data, 93 percent of organizations in Asia-Pacific see ABM as important or very important to achieving their business goals. In our roundtable discussion, we met with eight regional marketing leaders to discuss what ABM meant for them and some of the challenges they are facing. Here are some key takeaways:
- An evaluation of success requires a clear goal statement. Everyone around the table had very different objectives for their ABM program. For one practitioner, the goal was retention – pipeline generation was not important. For another participant, pipeline was the most important measure of success. These very different goals affected the different ways people measured success. But despite the very different program objectives, everyone agreed that without goal clarity, it was challenging to determine how success would be evaluated and the metrics to use.
- Make the most of a global center of excellence, if you have one. We spent some time acknowledging that many around the table were having to stand up ABM programs with small teams and slim budgets. What help could they realistically expect from their global counterparts to help them operationalize and optimize ABM? While global ABM teams sometimes seem removed from the realities of operating within a country or region, they can nonetheless provide support in the form of reusable tools, templates, best practices, training and resources to save countries having to reinvent the wheel and duplicate efforts. They may be able to help with insight gathering, or support measurement efforts by supplying reusable dashboards. Perhaps they have invested in technology categories that, while perhaps not optimized for use in Asia-Pacific, are a starting point.
- Keep hold of your best account-based marketers. ABM is already experiencing a skills shortage due to the rapid growth in the discipline in recent years. This is expected to be particularly pronounced in Asia-Pacific, where attrition rates are high due to low unemployment and high labor movement. Therefore, it’s important to have development and succession plans in place for key ABM players, and regular line management discussions to avoid burnout situations. During recruiting, it is not always necessary to hire for specialist ABM expertise – sometimes it may be more beneficial to hire from within and upskill in key areas. Consider core strengths and competencies necessaries as well as skills, because the latter may be easier to address with training.
- To scale ABM, make use of the wider marketing ecosystem. One of the key challenges identified around the table was how to scale ABM – a challenge that many ABM leaders encounter around the world. We had a lot of large-account programs represented at the roundtable – which are notoriously difficult to scale, so some were considering ways to embrace more scalable deployment models, while others were interested in working more effectively while maintaining a high-touch approach. We spent some time looking at how ABM can get better at collaborating with the wider marketing ecosystem (e.g. content creators, marketing ops, the demand center) for local ABM endeavors to bear more fruit.
One of the reasons ABM is such a hot topic right now is that it delivers results. It helps companies improve win rates, deal size, sales and marketing alignment and ultimately deliver growth. So why not align resources to where that growth is coming from, which for so many global organizations is the Asian market.
Thank you for having me –xiè xie!