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Accelerating growth with Agile ABM

In this episode of Let's Talk ABM, we speak to Marlowe Fenne, Senior ABM Manager at FireEye, on why agility is key to ABM success, plus more.

Date published: Date modified: 2021-08-02 strategicabm 550 60

Marlowe Fenne
Senior ABM Manager, FireEye

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Marlowe Fenne heads up Account-Based Marketing at FireEye, one of the world’s leading cybersecurity companies. Marlowe is considered to be one of the leading ABM practitioners operating today. His ABM program at FireEye has generated tens of millions of dollars in revenue. In this episode of Let’s talk ABM, Marlowe shares what makes his program different and why agility is key to ABM success.

Declan heads up marketing at strategicabm. After some 20 years working as a CMO in the Professional Services, SaaS and EdTech sectors, Declan is now Agency-side building the strategicabm brand and sharing our clients’ ABM success stories.


Watch this webinar and learn:

  • Why agility is key to ABM success at FireEye
  • How crises can be turned into opportunities
  • Why One-to-few ABM is the right choice for FireEye
  • Advice on how to succeed at Account-based Marketing
Read the full transcript

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Accelerating growth with Agile ABM

The full transcript

Declan Mulkeen (strategicabm) - So today I'm joined by Marlowe Fenne, Senior Account Based Marketing Manager at FireEye. Marlowe, thanks so much for joining us today.

Marlowe Fenne (Fireye) - Yeah, it's a great pleasure and honor to be here. Thanks for including me Declan.
Declan (strategicabm) - So Marlowe, let's talk about FireEye. It might not be a household name but it's obviously a very important player in the Cybersecurity market. Tell us a little bit more about the company.

Marlowe (Fireye) - Yeah, thanks Declan. And it's become a bit more of a household name since all the SolarWinds stuff. And our CEO was on '60 Minutes' and in Senate hearings and all sorts of other stuff.

So FireEye is the sort of premier Cybersecurity vendor that knows more about the bad guys than anybody. So we're involved in all the biggest cyber events in the world, and we have the most frontline knowledge of all of those events. And that puts us in a really interesting opportunity position with our customers as well. We can help them in really unique ways by sharing all of that knowledge and helping them, you know, not become the next victim of whatever hacks are happening on a more frequent and more sophisticated basis.

So it's a really amazing place to be, and it can certainly be a challenge, but I also look at it as an opportunity to help, frankly, the entire world in fighting against evil.

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Declan (strategicabm) - Yeah, I mean, it's definitely a growing market and obviously it's...on a daily basis, we read about various hacks and various infiltrations. So I think you've definitely got a lot of work there as well.

So talking about, you mentioned actually about your customers. Who is your ideal customer?

Marlowe (Fireye) - Our ideal customer is anybody who's trying to stay one step ahead of all the evil and bad guys that I just mentioned and somebody who understands the full scope of, or wants to understand the full scope of, the threats that they're up against.

And just as you mentioned a moment ago, it's really hard unless you're in the trenches to really grasp how broad, how deep, how sophisticated these threats are and the implications of those threats to virtually every business. And so anybody that has the, you know, ‘it's not going to happen to me’ approach, they're obviously going to have challenges.

So our ideal customer is somebody who sees the most value in that and has the most risk, you know, to their business and also wants to stay further ahead of that than perhaps some of their peers.

Declan (strategicabm) - Yeah, so we were talking obviously, Marlowe, previously to this recording today and you were telling me a little bit about the ABM program that you have there. And you talked about, you know, something which kind of resonated a lot with me which is 'Scale, Personalization and Agility'.

Now I think a lot of, you know, with the terms, 'Scale and Personalization', but perhaps less around 'Agility'. Can you talk to us what that means there for FireEye in terms of Account-based Marketing.

Marlowe (Fireye) - Yeah, the ‘Agility’ piece is fascinating and, you know, per some of our previous conversations, the whole set of world events in the last year or two has really stepped up the need for agility.

And this isn't just true for Cybersecurity, but I'll give some Cybersecurity examples. As technology continues to pervade and people are doing more working from home and all sorts of other vectors that you could talk about, right? It has a huge impact on the speed of just development of everything.

And, you know, we could kind of bring in the whole aspect of agile development and remember how you used to have these big monolithic development cycles where hardware would be released every three years and software would be released once a year.

Well, now we're in these sprints where, you know, there are companies that are doing it, you know, month-by-month, day-by-day, whatever, right? And that's true in the cyber world as well.

And clearly that has implications for how we could or we should do ABM. So now if you look at it... simply even just a new cycle. Every week, if not every day, and certainly every month, there are new cyber developments that are really relevant to our customers and you can't, you know, build a calendar out with a year long, highly structured set of activities that don't take into account whatever those next hacks are going to be.

And we're discovering new stuff all the time, right? So the whole idea is to have enough speed and flexibility to take those waves into account. And I'll, you know, kind of use the surfing analogy on, there's always going to be some event that's going to be happening either now that we just don't see yet, or it comes over the horizon and hey, you know, surf's up outside.

However you want to leverage that metaphor, but you need to be able to catch that in order to deliver the most value, particularly from a cyber perspective, but elsewhere to your customer. So now what we're able to do is take those events that are happening, that are starting to develop in these things that we see first and share that information very opportunistically with - again, back to the ICP question that you just asked - those customers that are going to potentially be the most impacted or/and that are looking for those threats and make sure that we share that information to help protect them.

Declan (strategicabm) - Now, linked to that agile process that you've put in place there. I think you mentioned before that you're actually able, with this process, to reach people and engage with people that perhaps you might have missed otherwise.

Marlowe (Fireye) - Indeed, yeah. It's really, really fun and frankly an exciting opportunity because what happens is we share... I'll just give you an example and I'll try not to geek out, but everything that was going on on SolarWinds hack, you know, a few months ago, everything that was going on with the Microsoft 'Zero-days', Microsoft Exchange, excuse me, 'Zero-days' hack that was also in the news recently. There were clearly a very specific set of customers, companies that were concerned about that.

And if you look at the SolarWinds hack, there were about 800 customers that were concerned about that, right? And they were the profiles that you would understand, you know, the big automakers, the big banks, et cetera. Now they, having that frontline knowledge was not only valuable to them, just in terms of how to overcome, to thwart some of those, you know, techniques and procedures, but also the timeliness of that becomes critical.

Because you know, it takes so much less time now. And the overall dwell time of the threat actors in these environments is actually gone down. But the amount of damage that they can cause in that time is really short. So customers need to have that intelligence sooner and as close to real time as, frankly, we see it so that they can again, stay ahead of that, right?

So there's all these things that we're doing to share, and again, are very agile. So for example, the 60 Minutes interview - I'll use that one, right? - that our CEO did, that happened, we found out about it on a Friday. It happened on Sunday. And by Monday morning, when all of our sales reps walked in, we had that interview to share with everybody along with the intelligence that sat behind that to make sure that everybody understood not only that, hey this is a big issue, but what to do about it.

So there was a very specific set of steps. And to be able to build out that in literally, you know, a weekend, provided huge value to our customers and to our salespeople. And I'll tell you regularly, Declan, getting back to your question about reaching people. We have lots of CIOs and CISOs who send us thank you notes because they see so much value in what we're doing and they're sharing it with their teams.

So the way this works is those key constituents, CISOs, CIOs and others are sharing all that information with their teams. Those are the people that we don't always get to. So on the MS Exchange one, for example, there's a whole bunch of app people that need to know about security more than they do. And we were able to reach them by sharing how to harden your exchange environment. And they wouldn't ordinarily get that from, you know, their necessarily Microsoft vendors. They need the additional perspective that we bring to the table.

And so again, we're able to, you know, infiltrate if you will, a lot more people as we start to cross-pollinate that security knowledge and raise across our entire customer base.

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Declan (strategicabm) - So Marlowe, that probably links nicely to, you know, you've talked before about making champions of key people within your accounts. So is that what you're doing there in terms of feeding that information in real time is actually helping them to become those champions?

Marlowe (Fireye) - Absolutely, they become champions. So they become, you know, Cybersecurity experts on their own, right? In their own right based on all the intelligence that we're feeding them. And then they're able to, you know, in turn, share all that.

And then of course we're paying close attention to what they're looking at and what they're not looking at and what they're looking for. So there's an intent data component of this. So we know for example, who are the bad guys that our customers are looking for and we can then map the intelligence that we have about those bad guys, 'cause there's codes for all this right, that we then share. And that becomes extraordinarily valuable.

And I'll just give you a really simple example. So we have a, you know, a yearly report called M-Trends and it's known in the security industry as sort of one of the big prospective thought leadership papers every year, right? So for the first time this year, what we did was we actually took every single mention of all the bad guys, all the threat actors that I just referred to and put links to all of those reports for all the intelligence for those bad guys, into this M-Trends report and shared it out with our ABM customers.

So now what did they do? They took all that information and shared it again, a CISO or CIO or whoever shared it with their folks. And now what they're able to do is connect the dots from these high-level, thought leadership, strategic trends all the way down into what are the very specific things that these bad guys are doing. How are they, you know, getting access to my network? You know, what sort of techniques are they using to steal data or, you know, put ransomware out there or whatever it is, right?

All of that becomes, and again, I'll try not to geek out, extraordinarily valuable to our customers because now what they can do is connect the dots between what they should be doing in the boardroom and what they should be doing on the ground when it comes to managing the threats that they're trying to protect against.

Declan (strategicabm) - Really, really intriguing stuff. And talking about bad guys. And obviously you mentioned earlier the SolarWinds attack and obviously FireEye was very much…

Marlowe (Fireye) - In the middle.

Declan (strategicabm) - Yeah, without going into more detail now, but you mentioned to me before that that was really an 'inflection point' for FireEye, and also for the industry, but talk to us a bit more about what you mean by 'inflection point' and how did that impact your ABM campaigns thereafter?

Marlowe (Fireye) - So, you know, the SolarWinds campaign was really sort of a wake up call for the industry that there's, everybody has blind spots, including FireEye, right? I mean, we're in the middle of this whole thing. And so how that, you know, kind of tied into the ABM program was it was a wake-up call to really start paying more attention to what we don't know.

And, you know, there's the old adage, you know, you don't know what you don't know, but you got to set up a way to, you know, continue to shine the light on that and then, learn more and get better at that, right?

And this kind of ties back into the agility piece. Because if you're, you know, laser focused on one particular part of your ABM program - whether it's personalization or scale - those are important. I'm not saying that it's not, it's huge, right? And I've done a number of, you know, sessions on that. But if you're not keeping pace with whatever the latest trends are, whatever you're giving your customers from the value perspective is frankly, you know, I'll just say it, it's kind of stale and it's not as relevant.

So the more timely that you can be with that information - and SolarWinds is a really good example - you know, the more value you're going to create. So it's not just what you know but it's when you know it. So if you're sending customers something that was relevant to them six months ago, and you're not getting the response that you would expect, you know, look a little harder at your intent data or other feedback loops that you have and make sure that you're giving them the most current stuff.

And that's a tall order Declan. I mean, it gets, I'm also a distance runner and I always have to balance that pace, right? Like I can't catch every single wave and that's okay. I don't expect to catch every single wave, but you have to have built some muscle, some judgement , whatever you want to call it, around deciding which waves to catch.

And SolarWinds was easy. That was, you know, as soon as we understood the scope of that, then you know, wow we have to do this, right? The MS Exchange stuff was also fairly easy but you know, smarter or lucky, we caught that within 36 hours of that being announced, we had the information out to our customers and again, huge gratitude from them.

So I could go into and geek out on a whole bunch of other attacks since, but we also get briefings literally every day on what's going on in the cyber world and I actually have my hands in the deep databases of what that landscape looks like. So I'm, you know, part, investigator, if you will and I'm actually mining that information on behalf of our customers and then mapping it to them in real time. And that becomes a really, you know, fun, satisfying, agile approach that gains us a lot of goodwill. So when you talk about kind of the three 'Rs' of ABM, you know, Revenue, Retention and Relationship. It's building all of those simultaneously because of the value, right?

Declan (strategicabm) - And actually quite, linked to that, Marlowe, you talked before around, you know, crisis and opportunity. And also the SolarWinds was a case in point where there was a crisis and that actually then proved to be an opportunity. Has that changed FireEye forever, that moment?

Marlowe (Fireye) - I think it's changed the entire security and the world, frankly, forever. And, you know, obviously I have a very specific view on that but when, so Brad Smith at Microsoft, if you haven't seen the 60 Minutes interview, essentially said, ‘if it wasn't for FireEye catching this, it could still be going on’.

And so the meaning simply is that if we didn't have some insanely detail oriented, you know, cyber geeks who were able to not just discover this thing but decode it and literally, you know, reverse engineer the whole thing, this would still be happening. And so what it was was a wake up call to how sophisticated, how focused and dedicated long term, the cyber criminals are to these campaigns.

So when they're actually impacting, you know, software releases from a company like SolarWinds and that's taking a year or more of infiltration to happen and it's happening at that level, and they're cleaning up their tracks afterwards, everybody should be on alert that that level of sophistication is now repeatable at some level. And hopefully not on a grand scale, but the fact that it's proven just like, you know, going to the moon, well guess what? There are more people that are going to do this.

And also, you know, kind of back to the ABM relevance on the scale side, it can be done not only once, but there's a lot of copycats that are trying to replicate some of that, you know, that hacking success. And that has also changed the industry quite a bit.

But crisis opportunity, back to your question. That also creates an opportunity for us to get better at sleuthing out where those folks are and sharing that information sooner with our customers so that it doesn't take a year for us to discover it, right? And that's where the real opportunity lies, is there are, if you know where to look, 'cause you know, we know where to look now as well, right? We're learning at the same time. There are ways that you can, again, share a huge value with your customers by sharing what you know on how to go find that stuff. And you can train everybody else to find what we did.

So that's not to say it's easy for them, but with the intelligence that we provide with, you know, the tools that we provide, they can find it faster. And again, we're back to, you know, the race part of this. You need to find it before all the damage and chaos happens in your environment. And that's the million dollar question is, you know, how do we as an organization, and I mean an industry, sorry, you know deliver the pace that's required to stay ahead of the bad guys.

Declan (strategicabm) -Yeah, it's interesting because when we spoke, what kind of came to mind for me was the word journalism. Because it is striking that part of your ABM strategy is almost like a journalist, or journalistic rather, approach in terms of curating and distributing content in a timely, relevant and probably more important, contextualized manner.

So can you give away a couple of tips there. What you're doing? What's making it, 'cause time is of the essence here really.

Marlowe (Fireye) - Yeah, no, it's a really fun and interesting, you know, part of the gig, right? There is, beyond what we know and aren't allowed to share outside of a certain environment for obvious reasons, there are inklings always that happen whether it's in the press or wherever, right? And we do keep a really close, you know, finger on that pulse.

And so literally there are news feeds that I'm looking at daily within our cyber intelligence tools that are the initial tracks, if you will, that start to indicate, you know, these bigger sets of compromises that are starting to happen. And so you start to see patterns and you can start to share that information based upon all the other intelligence that we have, right.

Because it's not just, you know, random acts of hacking. There are very specific patterns. And if you look at, you know, just some of the big nation state ones. Let's just take, you know, those top three to five, right? They're responsible for a big set of those. There are definitely patterns that you can see and you can share, you know, information about those prior patterns to indicate, kind of, what you can expect going forward. And that vast library of those patterns is available to our customers that have threat intelligence.

So we can say, hey, there's a new blip on the horizon, this new wave of attacks. And it looks like these other attacks that have happened similarly in the past through these factors. And so we're able to kind of put that, you know, that glue, that connective tissue together, and yes, it is, you know, journalistic in that there's a lot of connecting dots and a little bit of a really fun and interesting mix of qualitative and quantitative.

So quantitatively, you can say okay, this many infections or intrusions have happened. And yes, that's interesting, but if it's only five, but you know you're one of those, it's really important to you. So if there's any of those patterns that can help you prevent number six, seven, and eight from happening, get really, really valuable.

And again, so this is where the, if you go back to agility, scale and personalization, this is where the art and the science kind of come together. We have to decide is, SolarWinds was a huge concern and, you know, important to everybody because it was kind of raised the bar for sophistication. But if, like I said earlier, there's about 800 customers that were really the most impacted but everybody was worried, you know, can this happen to me?

Now, let's shift gears and talk about the MS Exchange 'Zero-Days'. Exchange 'Zero-Days' was a much broader audience, but we were able to, from some of the stuff we learned from SolarWinds, get further ahead of the curve, if you will, on the Exchange 'Zero-Days'. And you know, it just, it became really satisfying, Declan, for lack of a better term, to be able to share that information.

So we had a white paper, for example, on how to harden your exchange environment, that again, within a couple of days of finding out about this, we shared. And it just, it was huge and yes it's journalistic, but you're mixing that qualitative and quantitative. So that part of it is just again, really satisfying.

Declan (strategicabm) - Yeah, so let's just dig a little bit deeper Marlowe, into your ABM program there. I understand that it's primarily a One-to-few play that you find is your sweet spot. Why do you think it is a One-to-few that works best for you there at FireEye, as opposed to maybe going deeper into a One-to-one strategic approach?

Marlowe (Fireye) - Yeah, and it ties back into the journalistic thing. You know, kind of the qualitative and quantitative, and I'm going to bring in an orthogonal point here for contrast. So I built the ABM program at Cisco where we had a One-to-many, and when I say many, 3,000 reps and 10,000 customers, and yeah, and so that was at the very far edges of scale of ABM and it was personalized.

And I could have another whole fun session with you Declan on how we took a very big data approach to sharing our unique value with our customers at scale. And again, so another one of those, you know, three points in a very different perspective.

Now bring that back around to FireEye where we don't have hundreds of data analysts here on the Marketing side and we don't have the same level of, you know, market share and install-base that Cisco does, but that's okay. We know so much more about the bad guys that I'm like, okay where we have that differentiation and how do we bring that value to our customers? It basically becomes, you know, how do we mix and match that on a One-to-few basis, that qualitative and quantitative for the right set of customers?

And essentially what that is is we have a very specific set of target customers based upon, you know, some very typical firmographics, but also it's nominated by the reps. And so there's always a very strong partnership on that side of things. And then when it gets into, you know, the One-to-few side of things, we have exactly that balance between, how do we give the most value to the most customers with only, by the way, two of us doing this for 200 accounts.

But we have a really sophisticated process and it scales well. You know, what's the outer edge of that? Now I could do more accounts from an ABM perspective if I was willing to give up the agility, but the value of the program and the results would diminish accordingly. So there's always that sort of middle ground of, you know, how much scale can I deliver through a highly personalized set of activities that are mapped to each and every account based upon what's most important to them, whether what they're looking for or where we can deliver the most value based on what we know about the bad guys who are after them.

That whole balance becomes really fun and intriguing. And, you know, there's always ways to get better at automating. And I say that in air quotes. And so, you know, while we could potentially grow our program, and I was having this conversation with a good friend yesterday, you have to decide based on your resources in ABM how deep you want to go from a personalization standpoint. And if I were only working on one account, I would go into the deep Google analytics and, you know, 6sense on a daily basis and all that. And marry-up that altogether in a much more personalized, you know, fashion.

And I have a good friend who brought one of the biggest deals, you know, into SAP ever by delivering a One-to-one piece of content that really spoke to those folks. And that's awesome, I love that. I want to have a broader impact with our ABM program. So I've picked the balance of where we can deliver the most value to the largest set of customers that's still so personalized that it's relevant for them and it's not just typical Programmatic Marketing.

Declan (strategicabm) - Yeah, and if we go into that program in a bit more detail and think about the kind of various building blocks that make up an ABM program. You know, ICP, account selection, value proposition, the creative elements, intent data as you've mentioned as well there, Marlowe - where do you think, in the case of FireEye, where are you spending most of your time?

Marlowe (Fireye) - Well, it's that balance again, Declan, of qualitative and quantitative. And so essentially what I'm doing is I'm looking really carefully at all of the threat data and the intent data, and if you think about that, that's already kind of a matching system that I've created because what that's telling me is exactly where we can add the most value, right?

And then I'm mining all of our, you know, industry leading threat intelligence and sharing that with those customers on a very selective basis. And so that's kind of the essence of what I'm up to, but now I'm doing it at high, at speed and scale, right? And so this becomes, again, really fun and just a huge opportunity to get better at that.

And so there's some really cool technology that I use to do that. You've heard me talk about the Folloze application which let's me, you know, build for example, the Exchange 'Zero-days' stuff that I told you about that we were able to do in a day and a half. You know, that's because I've got, you know, the support from the Folloze team and that tool set dialed enough to where I don't have to go fill out a marketing request form and wait for two weeks or a month, or longer to have all that stuff built. I can literally go cherry pick the content I want and throw it together in a very highly personalized fashion and deliver that again in almost real time.

And there in, you know, is one of the keys to my agility and then reading all that data in as close to real time around intent and intelligence and other factors. What are they already engaged in? Obviously I'm not going to send them something they're already seeing. And what's most important to each of those customers, you know, people that we're trying to reach. Whether it's the executives or the practitioners.

And we actually have a very, you know, multilayer if you will, program that lets us share on both those levels.

Declan (strategicabm) - And just moving on from there, in terms of the ABM program that you're running. And obviously you mentioned earlier the three 'Rs' and obviously the most, the one that people, lead with... Reputation, Relationships leading through to Revenue. What can you tell us about the ROI there from your program?

Marlowe (Fireye) - It's been such a huge honor to, every time we have our quarterly business reviews, have the sales leaders stand up and say, ABM is our most valuable tool. And then going through with the sales reps, the same thing. What were the keys to your success? And literally, you know, we just went through this the last couple of weeks. So it's kind of fun.

When your top three ABM wins for the quarter match the top sales wins, you know you're onto something, right? That's highly gratifying. And again, ABM is meant to build that bridge between Sales and Marketing. And so that part of it feels great, and the sponsorship and the recognition, the feedback is huge.

So that's the qualitative side of the ROI and it's just as important as the quantitative. And yes, we have an insane ROI. I mean we're, again with two of us doing tens of millions of dollars per quarter in ABM, in both sourced and, you know, influenced pipeline as well as bookings. And so it's a pretty easy, you know, equation to work on and yes, you know, we're getting more budget accordingly.

So that part of it's again, highly satisfying. I won't give away more numbers than that, but the ROI continues and not to say that, you know, there wasn't a startup time. It took me about a year to really get all of the pieces in place to do this. And so that would be my encouragement to the folks that are, you know, maybe not in a huge company.

There's only two of us doing this at FireEye and we're a billion dollar company, right? So you can through the right, you know, mix of technology and, you know, wisdom if you want to call that around ABM, you can build an ABM practice, even if you're small. And there's a lot of new, you know, services that'll help you do that on an outsource basis as well.

Declan (strategicabm) - Yeah, I mean that's unbelievable results there, Marlowe in terms of what you're achieving, and I'm sure that the whole C-suite and the whole, you know, the higher echelons of FireEye have their eyes on you, so to speak. They're going to be putting some more dollars your way and your team's way in terms of giving you more resources.

Just to get a couple of questions really to finish on. What would you say is the hardest thing about doing ABM?

Marlowe (Fireye) - So the hardest thing about ABM is, I won't say forgetting all you know about marketing, but really coming at it from a different perspective. There's a lot of folks that come in from a broad based world into ABM, and think that, oh if I do a couple of things a little bit more personalized fashion, I'm going to do well at ABM.

And I would ask you to stop and, you know, kind of time out and take a couple of really deep breaths and go through, you know, some of the great podcasts that you have. Learn everything you can about ABM, because it is a very different approach than traditional marketing, in my humble opinion. And it really does take a unique mindset of mixing qualitative and quantitative and that journalistic, you know, to use your word approach.

So you need to come at it from a different angle that is that ideal blend of what's most important to my customers and really have a customer approach. And it's easy to say and hard to do, but also where is all of my value as an organization and how do I knock those together in a meaningful, scalable, personalized way for my customer?

And it doesn't mean that you have to put all the corporate initiatives on hold, but you have to you know, set those down for a minute and really focus on those other elements of where your value is and where your customers really need that value and really laser focus on that in a way that a lot of traditional marketing folks don't.

Declan (strategicabm) - I think I'd definitely agree with you there that I think if you approach ABM with a 'pure' Marketing mindset, you'll probably fail. I was talking to somebody earlier today in terms of working in ABM and they said that the people that they look for when they're looking to hire ABM people are people who are incredibly curious, almost with a sales type background or at least with a sales appreciation, because it's such a commercial focus from a Marketing team that you do need a new, for want of a better word, a new skill set, right?

So the final question, just to finish off with Marlowe. Just leading actually on from this, from your answer, actually. Anybody out there looking to either start an ABM program or they're at their kind of early stages, and they're just saying, well I'm looking to kind of make this work better. What's that one piece of advice that you have for them?

Marlowe (Fireye) - Be bold. Try new things, learn from your mistakes. You know, it's again and the agility thing comes into this. So the upside, let's start with the downside.

The downside of agility is that you have to figure out how you can keep pace, and it's easy to have that agile approach devolve into chaos. And that's kind of why I use the surfing analogy because you have to pick which waves to catch, right? Now not all those waves are going to work out.

And what I would really encourage people to do is keep a really, really close eye on your results. And I'm not saying, you know, to build a program and look, you know, a month or two months or three months later for, you know, how well it's doing. You should know within literally a couple of days, if not a week, whether or not what you're doing is having an impact on the specific customers that you're trying to help.

And if you don't have that level of agility and that level of visibility into your customers, then you know, you should think hard about how you get the feedback loops that you need beyond the salespeople. 'Cause again, I just said the, you know, the Sales leadership saying this is great stuff is awesome, but that's not by accident, right? We're paying extraordinarily close attention to what we're giving to customers, what they're paying attention to and what they're not paying attention to.

And for all those campaigns that I just told you about that were successes, I'll tell you that there were, you know, just as many whiffs in terms of not all of them went the way that we would have liked, but we learned very quickly and we stopped campaigns on a regular basis that we have in flight once we see that they're not as relevant to those customers as we think they should be. And, you know, again maybe 'TMI', but a lot of times that comes from having too much of a corporate view of what needs to be pushed versus what the customer needs.

So back to, you know, what I would encourage people to do is really make sure that you understand the value that you can bring to your customers. And this is why the Sales background really helps because you can have those conversations in a unique way and not just sort of tow the company in line when it comes to Marketing.

And then be able to, you know, through that skillset, see very quickly where that's going to add the most value for each of your different target customers and then prioritize. So, you know, if you're one person that's just starting ABM, then do a One-to-few approach where, and be careful because if you only have one customer - and I'll give you a sad, but true example.

When I was just starting at FireEye, we had literally 10 ABM accounts. And in one of those accounts, the CISO died and it was one of our key ABM accounts. Now you know, sad, tragic, absolutely. But we had to put that account on hold and then switch gears very rapidly to another account.

So you have to be careful that you have enough opportunities within the scope, you know, the scale of ABM that you're doing to where you can, let's say, you know half of them pan out and half of them, don't. If that's only two accounts, that's okay, but you better be really clear about, you know, early days, what's working and what's not so that you can make the right decisions.

Otherwise, you're going to come up for air six months or a year later and your leadership is going to look at you going, what'd you do for me? And you're not going to have, you know, a good story. So that agility becomes really important. That personalization becomes really important. And then obviously the tools and the value that you can bring to your customers, just how you do that in a very efficient fashion is where the real opportunity lies.

Declan (strategicabm) - Marlowe, great advice. Thanks so much for sharing that with us. And thanks so much for sharing your ABM journey and all your experience there at FireEye. It's been an absolute pleasure talking to you today. Thanks so much.

Marlowe (Fireye) - Yeah, it's a great treat Declan and I really appreciate the time and the insights from you as well, and thrilled to be part of the ABM community. So thanks, have a great day. Thank you.

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