Interview with Ricky Abbott

President at Transmission

ricky abbott president at transmission

Interview Highlights:


  • ABM Marketing – UK vs US audiences
  • ABM as a Strategic Discipline
  • Leveraging Internal Intelligence for Meaningful Insights
  • Understanding Audience Personas
  • Targeted Messaging – Customized One-to-One Messaging
  • ABM Case Study – HP
  • ABM Case Study – Couchbase
  • Direct Mail ABM Marketing
  • Omni-Channel ABM Programs
  • Sales and Marketing Coordination
  • Segmentation Methodologies
  • Hyper-Personalization
  • Customer Advocacy Programs
Video Transcript

hi this is Bob Samuels founder of tech
connector tech connector is a
marketplace and campaign management
platform of Best of Breed account based
marketing lead generation solutions in
association with the serious decision
summit we’re happy to bring you wisdom
from leading account based marketing
thought leaders to that end I’m proud to
introduce you to Ricky Abbott of
transmission a data-driven custom
obsessed b2b marketing agency based in
the UK
Ricky recently moved to the San
Francisco Bay Area as president of the
Americas Ricky I’m pleased to have the
opportunity to speak with you how are
you today
I’m very well yourself I’m doing well
too it’s a it’s a beautiful day here in
California life is good
really is I wanted to I wanted to speak
with you with about one of my favorite
topics which is account based marketing
and there’s a lot of different thoughts
and ideas and it’s a very vague subject
can you give a little bit of a
background about well first of all give
a little bit of background of you where
you’ve been as an in your and your
career as far and as far as dealing with
ABM and then how do you guys at
transmission think of a/b and how do you
approach it
sure so um so as you can probably tell
from accent I’m not here for I’m not
from the United States I’m a Brit but
I’ve been running ABM programs now for
the best part of five years across the
globe and it’s been an interesting
journey because the different ways in
which the different regions either
understand ABM or leverage ABM is a real
new ins so for example in a mere much
more focus around one-to-one ABM
programs in the u.s. is much more at
scale but certainly the way we look at
ABM is that it shouldn’t be a tactic it
should be a strategic discipline and
what I mean by that is a again this is
not saying that
generally a lot a lot of companies will
think ABM is a Marte provider like a
tomorrow base and terminus and those
guys are amazing
they’re really really useful solution as
attacked as an element of as part of an
APM program but if IBM’s run correctly
it should be a strategic discipline that
involves everything from understanding
your account and whether you’re using
data or whether you’re using in
leveraging internal intelligence that’s
how you understand who’s the target
audience we should be going after
Hardware segments them down how do I
build that into my ABM programs and bi
programs that don’t mean let’s do a
one-to-one one-to-many how does if had
all those different layers feed each
other so one-to-many feeding once a few
meaning one-to-one then how do I
understand my audience my personas my
stakeholders how does that feed into
needs based messaging how does that then
feed into my content am i creative how
does that in feed into my omni-channel
activation programs by persona how does
that then feed into my sells and labor
and how does that feel reporting that
whole cycle has to work together and a
lot of companies get stuck on activation
and personalizing a website without
thinking about the message and you can
personalize a website as much as you
want you can personalize your ads as
much as you want but if the message is
incorrect you’re not going to resonate
with that audience so for us everything
has to work in tandem now there are
shortcuts you can take and there’s
certainly things that you can do quicker
to get you off the ground but if you
want to see long longevity and success
over a longer period of time you have to
follow a methodology or a strategic
framework so so before you jump into it
you really need to think through the
whole strategy and identifying who
you’re gonna go after what are you going
to talk to them about how you gonna
resonate with them and that sort of
thing and then there’s tools out there
exactly if tools are part of your your
your armory if you will but they
shouldn’t be the starting point and I
think a lot of people make the mistake
of trying to use tools to fix all their
problems and when it doesn’t work they
then blame the provider which actually I
think is a really bad thing to happen in
this industry and I often think that
some of the providers are actually
unfairly picked on
but actually there should be worked with
yeah that makes sense and the providers
include I guess the yeah I think you
mentioned the terminators and demand
bases and then they even gave you yeah
I’m just using those yeah I’m using
those guys in example engage they’re
slightly different
he’s obviously engages much more of a
reporting and analytics platform rather
than necessarily and you’ve also got
their playbook solution but ultimately
they’re a bit more around bringing this
intelligence together to make it into
meaningful insight but again if you’ve
not got the right message you’re not
going to resonate you’re not going to
resonate you’re not going to have the
analytics on the backend if not gonna
have the analytics you don’t have
insight to pass to your sales teams CCR
every sync is linked and most companies
in my viewpoint not most companies
actually some companies aren’t able to
elevate themselves away from the
day-to-day which is I need to generate
leads within these accounts and that’s
obviously not the goal of a theum
well that’s not the primary goal of a
beum yep so I suspect over those five
years you’ve seen some interesting
examples do you have any examples
offhand that you can think of our case
studies were where they did it right and
they thought some nice results yeah so
I’ve got a few examples of companies
that we’ve worked with over their years
HP being one Couchbase being another one
identity being another company that we
work with it or worked with as a number
of companies and all of them work with
slightly different types some of these
companies have done what I would call
full end-to-end ABM and that’s one too
many or one to one some of these
companies have done tactical ABM and
what I mean by that is sometimes if you
pick a really good tactic let’s say
Direct Mail and you have a lot of
thought into the proposition and the
message you’re going to deliver and
you’ve got a really good orchestration
plan that can resonate just as well as
having a full end-to-end omni-channel
program often what we find is companies
try to buy off more they do they try to
do the whole thing and they don’t know
the budgets or the resources or even the
time to do it and so they take three or
four months to get an ABM
off the ground at that point they bought
they got sales excited at the start
sales are then uninspired four months
later because they think that they
should have had something to market you
then tell them we spent the last four
months getting ready now we’re going to
go to market and sales are already on
your back that’s not a good process in a
place to be in so in terms of results
we’ve seen some really amazing results
we’ve seen some clients we’ve got for
every dollar we spent we’ve got one
hundred and fifty seven dollars in
return we’ve seen similar accounts even
higher than that so we’ve seen one
account in particular which I think was
something around one thousand five
hundred and something dollars for every
dollar spent so we see massive uplift it
when we when we engage with an ABM
program it’s just making sure a the
organization’s ready and be they
understand what they’re getting
themselves in for and and I guess one of
the key things seems to be a
coordination between sales and marketing
at least the respect of each other’s
roles yeah I think the I think the
interesting thing was as a marketing so
so actually as a transition of what
we’ve seen when we first started doing
ABM programs we were working a lot was a
marketing team building what I would
call marketing programs and then we were
handing it over to them to then talk to
the sales team over the five years that
we I’ve been doing this and five years
doesn’t sound like a long long time but
actually in the world that we’re now
living in I think five years is probably
a fairly long period of time but what we
have seen is that we’ve moved further
and further downstream what I mean by
that it’s not not moved we spend more of
our time what I mean by that is we still
do the messaging we still do the content
creative activation etcetera etc but
we’re spending way way way way way way
way more time on the sales enablement
piece than we ever have before
and when I say spending time I don’t
just mean you know handing off an
account in sigh report I mean granularly
helping the sales team okay salesperson
do you understand the report that we’ve
created what don’t you understand how
can we help you leverage it do you want
to help you build copy do just going
into that type of detail and that’s been
a huge success here for us because it
we basically you can see a high
conversion rate when we do that kind of
work okay so it’s not just dealing with
the marketing but working with the sales
team to to make sure that they they’re
following their yeah and sometimes
that’s a political no-no but I would
argue that if you don’t do both you’re
doomed to fail
well you’re not doomed to fail but
you’re not you’re not you’re not you’re
not realizing as strong results as you
kid so what do you think that I’ve
struggled with in my own marketing is I
get the idea of you have your very very
important prospects and you want to give
them one to one if you can and you have
some further down where you want to you
want to be efficient and you want to
give a message that will still sort of
resonate but it doesn’t take nearly as
much time and research to build very
specific customized one-to-one messaging
but knowing how to do the messaging is
kind of a hard hard thing there’s no
system that will give you that no I
think actually leverages of this
segmentation we have a very linear way
of working in marketing where sometimes
we focus on personas we focus on
audience tired so we focus on verticals
actually that’s not the segment there
are lots and lots of other segments
could it be complementary it could it be
partners could it be competitors there
are lots of ways to slice and dice their
segments if you start to start to slice
and dice your segments into different
into different methodologies that aren’t
the norm in the market so for example if
you do a persona based APM program you
can do one and a one-to-many level and
you will get some you will get some
generate some cut through but I’m
fortunate at the moment so many people
are doing those type of programs that
actually getting that cut through is
quite difficult if you took a different
type of approach a different type of
segmentation that would leave you doubt
lead you down a different type of
messaging route which would probably
create better cut through because
there’s less companies doing that so
make sense it does make sense so I mean
one thing I’m thinking of is for perhaps
getting some intelligence and figuring
out maybe what maybe maybe what what
prospects are you
and different competitors products and
maybe hitting them with that a bad angle
exactly those are the kinds of things
you might want to think about but again
this all the problem we face in this
market is that when people start
thinking segmentation they automatically
go okay only use intent or I’m going to
use predictive whatever it might be
and all of those tools are amazing but
you need to use them the right way and
you can use them in lots of different
ways to build out your to build out your
segmentation which then informs your
messaging so so what do you think think
of things over the last five years on a
VM and it still seems to be a hot topic
what do you think the landscape will
wither or the thought process will be in
a year from Maryland five years from now
so I think him when we first started
doing it we were quite odd when we first
started doing ABM we actually focused on
one too many ABM we did it really really
well and then we worked up to one to one
and actually that’s the way I think most
organizations should take a stance not
not most although some organization some
organizations are always going to be
focused on the one to one for area where
I think I’m ABM is going in the
marketplace is in a couple of years it’s
just going to be the way we do marketing
it’s not going called ABM because the
tools and technologies will allow us to
be hyper personalized at any given time
the nuances are going to be in how much
research and insight you can do into
this to the audience you’re going after
to differentiate your message where I do
think ABM is going is in building an
infrastructure that allows you to be
able to personalize down to account down
to personas down to owners and then
bring that messaging in to create really
unique customer experiences there are
lots of tools and technologies out there
at the moment that do some of this but
they don’t work together Harmonist harm
no I’m trying to say Harmon oh you know
I say anyway in harmony yeah
harmoniously together there’s lots of
tools and technologies out there but
they don’t all work harmoniously
together and that I think is a massive
battleground for us I think the other
interesting thing with ABM is that what
we’re seeing is ABM isn’t being called
ABM anymore it’s been called digital
transformation or customer advocacy
programs but the approach you take in a
b2b world is still an account-based
marketing methodology it’s just you you
label it something slightly different
and for me I think
ABM programs at today are still focused
on what companies want to say to their
audience we position ourselves as a
customer obsessed unified agency and the
reason why we do that is because what
we’re trying to do is to help our
clients to become more customer obsessed
and what I mean by that is always
thinking about the audience and their
needs first
most companies still think they do this
but they honestly do not we see it all
the time they say here’s our messaging
framework and we look at it and it’s
always what they want to tell the
customers out is inside out rather than
outside in and when you brought up a
good point so when you’re talking about
so I guess ABM could be for the growing
existing customers or bringing in new
new processes new customers absolutely
ABM is across the whole spectrum it
should be everything from some brand all
the way through to upsell cross-sell to
customer advocacy programs and then when
you were saying the more you learn about
the companies the better so you can
basically triangulate on on various
slices of your market and not just go
for certain personas but certain overlap
the personas and the intent and
predictors in this it to be able to get
you’ll get more more groups that way but
each one will be more closer to one to
one marketing correct correct don’t just
do a general slice I think everyone’s in
general slices at the moment we see it
all the time even big big companies in
general slices
start to really hone down what it is
that you think separates you from the
audience and make sure that the audience
actually care about that and then the
messaging you kind of burst on again I
think that’s the hardest part I’m a
numbers guy and the data guy and I that
part is fairly easy seeing that you’re
getting the messaging down and making
sure it resonates with with the person
as much as possible which is an art
absolutely and they are is in matching
the two things together again in the IBM
world what I think is happening at the
moment is everyone’s focusing on ones
and zeroes on data and I’ll be frank
with you I’m one of those people I’m a
very much a data guy people are totally
forgetting about the message and that’s
why per certainly here I surround myself
with people are really good at building
messaging but understanding messaging
from a data analysis point of view so
that we can build really focused a BIM
programs any other what am I missing
let’s see so so I guess you know it
doesn’t really matter what the size of
the company is what the industry is even
like you said that the geography or that
that’s not a good point what about
Europe what about GDP or how is that
factor in all this so GDP our hasn’t
necessarily affected the ability to run
a B in programs what is just a filler
fected is the least how much more
stringent you have to be in how you
gather data in how you pass data across
whether you’re a process or an operator
or a controller so so GDP our hasn’t
massively affected us in terms of
running ABM programs if anything I
actually say it’s improved it because it
now means that the data you get through
is clean it’s been opted in you have a
greater chance of success with those
audiences the problem with GDP are is
that most companies do not understand it
also when I say companies I don’t mean
that the big vendors you know the IBM’s
HP’s VMware’s those kind of guys what I
mean is
most companies that are running ABM on
your on these big company’s behalf they
don’t understand the GDP are into dpr
correctly and because they don’t
understand GT Pro correctly I suspect
there’s gonna be a big court case fairly
soon and when there is everyone will
fall in line yeah I haven’t been there
yet is to middling I think it’s way too
nebulous at this moment in time for it
to affect the wider market and then I
hear California is heading that
somewhere direction is it really a Jenny
we did not know that so that would be I
mean that’s going to be that’ll be a
problem because the companies here
I mean Europe and maybe 10 or 20% of
their business and it’s a big chunk but
then you start to get into individual
states because people move so fast it’s
you know at some point I guess
everybody’s going to have to and it’s
probably a good habit to adopt the
controls we made it to GDP our for yeah
I mean now I can I can only comment on
my experience of living in England
versus living here living in the UK as
an example I would get the occasional
spam phone call but not not not so much
I’ve experienced since living here and
I’ve only been here in a few months I
get spam calls all the time because
obviously data at the my data privacy is
a lot lower than it actually is in the
UK or especially around GDP are so yeah
this is so what it’s wonderful discuss
English with you it’s it’s a fun topic
and it’s I like it because it gets sales
and marketing on the same page they get
to work together on on the high value
accounts and high-value strategy and so
that’s a wonderful claim and then having
you know data to me data is king some
people say content is king it’s probably
both and you have really good content
that takes the people and resonates with
them and hitting them at the right time
and everything
beautiful thing yeah yeah I think it’s
em yeah I think look it’s been a really
interesting area I just think there’s so
much you can do to make it better and it
probably most companies aren’t but a few
quite a few companies are have some
experience have some experience of doing
it well and there I think is a longer
runway to make it better than it ever
has been before that makes sense
well I love your strategy first planning
first ibms approach thank you for your
time Ricky and I look forward to
visiting you in your new San Francisco
office soon Cheers

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