In which Andrea Clatworthy, Global Head of Account Based Marketing at Fujitsu UK and James Kyd, Global Head of Brand Strategy and Marketing at Xero talk us through detailed case studies.

Written by Rebecca Caroe, member of MA’s B2B Special Interest Group

Account Based Marketing for B2B

Andrea led with her experience of setting up Account Based Marketing (ABM) at Fujitsu UK. She has a helpful definition of the advantages ABM provides for marketers, right people, right message, right time.

Key to the success of any ABM programs is collaboration with the sales team. Fujitsu sales team uses the 3 Rs - Relationships, Reputation and Revenue to add to the ABM tenets.

The triangle of ABM

Andrea set up three tiers of ABM [insert triangle image] so that all Fujitsu customers can benefit - the differences are in the delivery with decreasing automation and increasing personalisation across the tiers.

  • One-to-One ABM using key accounts, individually customised account plan
  • One-to-Few mix of new and existing accounts, clustered by similarity with modest personalisation
  • One-to-Many focus on new accounts, broad programmes with light personalisation using tech for scale.

A strategic approach, insight-driven, with sales and marketing working together to open doors and increase engagement with stakeholders in specific identified accounts, with a view to increase Relationships, improve Reputation, and ultimately generate Revenue.

Key success tips

Andrea described the importance of a strong relationship with sales and account managers. They succeeded in getting reporting included in the ABM plan as part of the sales account plan.

The methodology for ABM is a robust 6-step process which everyone follows and she also created a portal with how-to guides, policies, guidelines e.g. how to create a podcast, how to create a one-to-one account plan. Amusingly, she said the best used material came from anecdotes from team members which she calls “snippets of goodness” or SnoG.

Takeaway learnings:

  • Prove value quickly but remember it’s a marathon not a sprint.
  • The best way to get buy-in is to find a friendly account team and pilot it.
  • Start with an agency then fly solo.

Breakthrough Brands for B2B

James Kyd has been building Xero into a “breakthrough brand” and he showcases the attributes and benefits of becoming one.

You may not have heard of breakthrough brands, but James defines it quite simply as making sure you build a meaningful brand that means something to someone.

Well, anyone can do that!

6 traits of Breakthrough brands

Xero is doing this for accountants because they are a key growth driver for Xero and the small business platform.

  1. Built from a cult following - fanatics - they love you and feel strongly. Loyalty drives adoption.
  2. Commodity as a status symbol - a category area or product - step above and beyond as a status symbol.
  3. The rise of the B-corp - the mentality of purpose-bred brands deep in DNA of the brand
  4. Un-capitalism - take the longer-term view of value and greater focus on sustainability versus short term gains.
  5. Open-source generosity - go beyond just being transparent - active sharers and giving with warmth and care.
  6. Remodelling the category - challenge the category norms, find a human problem to solve and new ways to solve them.

Marketing activation sits below these six traits and James ran through a range of ways the Xero marketing team support and celebrate accountants as well as help to tell their story.

James’ examples from Xero included:

  • Create events with fanatical experiences - Xerocon roadshow, Xero on Air, Xero Hour. Where the deep geeky fanatics go to celebrate their passion. We describe it as a brand love event. Celebrate it.
  • We run awards ceremonies
  • Send gift boxes and cupcakes
  • Encourage others to “find love with accountants” on Valentine’s day. Bookkeep me in your heart. Roses are red, violets are blue, balanced ledgers are me and I love you.
  • Find ways to acknowledge our culture and history.
  • We advocate for accountants - Do things they cannot do individually such as ‘State of the Industry’ business index
  • We are super-active in social channels. We listen hard, respond humanly, take it offline if needed. We send a care pack if they’re having a tough time sent by customer support agents.
  • Give them symbols and artefacts to embrace the brand - we do merchandise beautifully
  • We share selflessly and address meaningful issues. [counselling for business owners psychological safety]. Find topics relevant to our population.
  • Support them - Forward Fund Scholarship for new trainees
  • Allow teams to express themselves and do what is right - bring out the best in you and them

The success of the 6 Traits marketing programme has created a brand that really means something to a key audience. And so this is a really helpful way for B2B marketers to plan campaigns designed to drive customer loyalty as well as create raving fans.

Takeaway learnings:

  • All marketing activations drive customer love.
  • Find out what your clients need or lack and then provide it for them.
  • Be an advocate for your clients in the wider industry.

Read more about MA’s B2B Special Interest Group here.