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Building relationships with ABM

In this episode of Let’s talk ABM, Declan speaks with Rhiannon Blackwell, ABM Leader, Global Marketing Organization at PwC

Date published: Date modified: 2024-03-12 strategicabm 550 60

Rhiannon Blackwell
ABM Leader, Global Marketing Organization | PwC

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Rhiannon leads PwC's global ABM team. Over the course of the last 18 months she has built up the team and capability from scratch. She is focused now on scaling the program to drive growth in PwC's top-tier accounts.

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 episode and learn:

  • What it takes to stand up an ABM program from scratch
  • How to achieve Sales and Marketing alignment
  • Why personalization is key for ABM success
  • How to measure ABM success
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Building relationships with ABM

The full transcript

Declan Mulkeen (strategicabm) – Well, today I'm joined by Rhiannon Blackwell, who is the Account-based Marketing Leader for Global Marketing Organization at PwC. Rhiannon, thanks so much for joining us today. 

Rhiannon Blackwell (Global Marketing Organization at PwC)  Thanks for having me. 

Declan (strategicabm) –  Well, we've been obviously tagging each other back and forth over a period of time, actually, since we first had our chat. And I'm delighted that you've been able to make it today, so thank you very much and - looking forward to exploring more about your work there at PwC, and obviously I think you are 18 months now into the role. 

So how about if we kick off with the question around that? I said you joined about 18 months ago now; can you talk us through a little behind the initial challenges that you found when you joined PwC, starting ABM at such a large organization, and what you've kind of found? 

Rhiannon (PwC) - Yeah, so I mean when I joined PwC, I really was starting with a blank sheet of paper, which is obviously why I jumped at the opportunity 'cause why wouldn't you want to get the chance to build a team and a capability from scratch? 

But, obviously, I think when you are starting something new, there's already a number of expectations around the organization around what ABM is, and what ABM isn't. And so one of my first challenges was around: How do I reset expectations around what this program was going to look like? 

And I think we had pockets of people who maybe were expecting me to bring in an intent data platform, and do some automated Marketing to accounts. We had differing expectations around who was actually going to 'do the doing'; were we going to get account managers to actually become ABMers, and add this as another string to their bow? 

Or was that going to be something that my team was going to do? So, there were all sorts of differing schools of thought. And so the first initial challenge was aligning on a single vision and the objectives for the program, and then almost going on a bit of a roadshow across Marketing, and across the business to say: 

"This is our hypothesis now for the strategy for the program. This is what it's going to look like here, but we're going to test and learn, and it'll evolve over time." And yeah, really just getting everyone understanding and singing from the same hymn sheet when we were talking about what we wanted to achieve. 

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Declan (strategicabm) – And that's interesting, you mentioned about reset expectations and definitions. Do you think that that's part of the issue with ABM? That maybe there are different definitions out there? People have heard different things, people aren't quite sure what it is, people have the wrong idea of what it is... do you think that's part of, not the problem, but part of the issue, trying to launch something such as ABM into an organization that there's just no clear definition of what it is? 

Rhiannon (PwC) - I think that's it. And I think particularly when you look over the recent years, the rise of some of the more Marketing technology, they have kind of claimed the Account-based Marketing title because that's what they're trying to sell. 

And that's absolutely a valid Marketing strategy, but it's very different to the pure strategic ABM that many of us are doing, and that started out a couple of decades ago. So, I think that can often lead to a little bit of confusion, where people are talking a completely different language, but giving it the same term. 

And I've found that a challenge when it comes to even hiring, when I'm looking for ABM skill sets, I can get very different CVs and resumes coming in, where we are talking about completely, fundamentally different Marketing strategies, which obviously require very different Marketing skill sets as well. 

So I do think there's quite a lot of confusion, where we're talking about two quite different disciplines. 

Declan (strategicabm) – Yeah, I mean I've definitely seen that as well Rhiannon, that when we speak to potential customers, or just to the wider market, and we talk about: What are you doing? What kind of Account-based Marketing you do, what have you tried so far? 

And very often, what can come back is actually not Account-based Marketing, but just tactics that could be considered part of the kind of suite of things that you might consider doing, but on their own don't actually add up to ABM. 

And I think a lot of people have kind of gone down the route of targeted accounts, or list building in LinkedIn or whatever. Or sending coffee vouchers. And they kind of see that as an account-based strategy. 

As opposed to what you and your peers kind of understand. But just touching on that, actually one thing when we were chatting a while ago now, actually to prepare and have a little get- to-know-each-other for this recording, one thing you said to me at the time that kind of made me smile, I think you said that when you joined PwC you needed to get your hands dirty with ABM, and that you knew what ABM was, and you weren't sure what it was for PwC. So how was that? 

What happened in your head when you got there 18 months ago and now you thought, "Right, I'm going to get my hands dirty! And I'm going to try and understand what it means to PwC." What kind of happened there? 

Rhiannon (PwC) - Yeah, so I mean I've obviously done ABM in another professional services company, so I kind of thought I could come in and almost take what had worked there and apply it in the same way. 

And I think it's been a real learning curve to realize that, obviously, every organization has different complexities, different nuances. You're building a program that needs to fit with different processes, different ways of working, different priorities - and even a different pace. And so the approach that I had taken previously, yes, there was definitely parts that I could lift and shift. 

But there were other elements that were just going to be unique to the environment of PwC. And so I really felt like I needed to go through this process myself and almost come across these battles and challenges, work out how we needed to bring together people, processes, tech and data to do ABM successfully at PwC. 

And so I think that was a big learning for me, is that there definitely isn't a one-size-fits-all approach to ABM for different organizations - even in the same industry. 

Declan (strategicabm) – Yeah, well, I think we'll touch on that a little bit more a little bit later, actually. But one thing that I thought was interesting when you were explaining to me how you were starting was, I think you started originally with five accounts? 

And I think now, as of today, February 2024, you're up to 20 accounts. So can you share with the audience a little bit about - because it's obviously a lot, a very important question a lot of people ask is: How do you decide which accounts to go after? 

How do you decide the priority? How do you decide whether it should be One-to-one or a One-to-few approach? Just talk us through a little bit of your thinking around that. 

Rhiannon (PwC) - Yeah, so in terms of One-to-one or One-to-few, we very much focus on One-to-one so far. That type of approach lends itself very well to the environment that we're in. When it comes to prioritization, we very much leaned into the existing segmentation that PwC has. 

So we have a group of priority global accounts that have already been segmented based on revenue size, footprint, et cetera. And within that portfolio, we have sub-segments including a segment that is identified as having the highest growth potential. 

So in that respect, our prioritization based on account attractiveness had kind of already been done for us. So really what we needed to do was apply some of the softer success criteria - such as: Are they actually willing to be part of the program and work with Marketing? Do they have good-quality data in the CRM system? Do they have a good-quality account plan? 

So, I think definitely there was a lesson there around you don't necessarily need to start from scratch when you're coming up with some kind of complex prioritization model, because most organizations probably do segment their accounts in some way as part of their broader current engagement programs. 

And I kind of was handed these five priority accounts when I arrived, and they were largely handpicked by the business sponsor based on her relationship with those global client partners. Her experience working with them in the past, based on how willing they are to try new things, and also how willing they are to be advocates and shout about successes. 

And that I think is a real key thing when you're choosing your pilot accounts - will they shout about it if it's successful? Because that's what's going to help you get buy-in from your next generation of accounts as well. So, I think they picked very well on that basis. 

Declan (strategicabm) – And these are all existing customers? 

Rhiannon (PwC) - All existing customers, yeah. 

Declan (strategicabm) – Right. So therefore you've got the rep, as you mentioned before, with the team there. You have the reputation, the relationships are there, obviously you can build on those, but you had those in place and it was a case of... Was it a case more of developing out the relationship and the offering, and for them to be aware of the wider PwC offering? Is that kind of the focus? 

Rhiannon (PwC) - Yeah, so most of our big global priority accounts, we've got decades-long relationships with. But in some cases, we might have been their audit partner for a hundred years! And therefore we haven't been able to sell anything else to them. 

So when they choose another audit partner, then suddenly they don't know anything about the rest of how PwC can help them. So there's a massive play there, where we need to introduce all of our wider capabilities and build relationships across the organization. 

Or in some accounts, we've got really strong relationships in one part of the business, say tax - but they don't know that we can also help them with digital transformation, with ESG reporting. So it is new relationships and new services, but into other parts of organizations. So it's quite varied actually what our existing accounts need help with. 

Declan (strategicabm) – Yeah, it's funny Rhiannon that you mentioned that about a hundred-year partnership. I remember I was talking to Abhishek Chakraborty who works at Kyndryl, which is a spinoff from IBM, and I think he mentioned that their oldest client was American Express or something similar, and that was a hundred years, the relationship with the customer. 

So when you have a relationship with a customer for a hundred years, that's quite a relationship! Right? So talking about relationships, one thing you said to me I think at the time was when we were chatting, you said kind of your mantra when you come into an organization is to think big, start small and scale fast. 

And I think that was year one for you. Obviously you're now into year two and I think you've probably got a new mantra now. What's your year-two mantra? 

Rhiannon (PwC) - Year-two mantra is scale smart, fine tune. And so that's where we're now thinking about how do we better use technology? How do we actually take the lessons learned from the top pilots, and re-evolve or evolve what our proposition is for accounts? 

And then the fine-tuning element is around getting better at reporting, making sure that we are constantly learning and innovating. So we've just stood up an ABM innovation lab to help us really maintain that relentless focus on how do we get better, and how do we celebrate our failures as part of our progress journey as well? 

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Declan (strategicabm) – And the fine-tuning is that for a lot of people there, people start an ABM program, they realize that you've got a lot of foundational work to do - several months, very often, before you launch it. 

Rhiannon (PwC) – Yeah. 

Declan (strategicabm) – And I suppose a lot of people think, 'Well, I've launched it so I want it to run for a while.' But with the fine tuning, so to use kind of a musical: How do you play the tune, so to speak? To actually make sure that the notes, what are you looking for? 

Rhiannon (PwC) – For me, I mean I am one for never doing things the same way twice. 'Cause I think there's always something you can learn and we have been kind of rapidly in the background evolving what our approach is, whilst still maintaining a same experience for the accounts that are on the program. 

So, so far whilst we've evolved how we work as a team, the experience shouldn't feel any different to accounts other than they should now see value from us more rapidly than they did before. 

So I think it's about making sure that you are continually evolving and capturing those learnings, and doing something about it whilst also making sure that you are not then providing a very disjointed experience to the accounts that are on your program, and confusing your stakeholders or sponsors in terms of the direction of what you are going. 

So almost maintaining that relentless focus on what your vision is, what your outcomes are, but being very fluid in terms of the flow of the program and your strategy of how you are going to deliver it, if that makes sense. 

Declan (strategicabm) – Yeah, and out of curiosity then, in that case, how do you listen, so to speak, to the customer? I mean are, you getting direct feedback because you are talking to the customer and obviously you're collecting it from the various sponsors, I'm guessing? 

Rhiannon (PwC) – Yeah, so predominantly the feedback that we get is from our internal, so our global client partners and their account managers. But in some cases I've been lucky enough to speak to clients as well and actually talk to them about Account-based Marketing - not calling it Account-based Marketing, 'cause I feel like that would be weird to talk about us marketing to them. 

But talking about how we are investing in the account, we are looking at ways that we can provide a better experience in terms of them partnering with PwC. And so I'm getting feedback from them as well. 

And that has been incredibly valuable, learning about their experience with our competitors as well, and how what we are doing is helping us stand out and, yeah, making sure we've got that feedback loop in place with our accounts, but also with my team as well. 

And we're getting much better at recognizing, I suppose, the red flags and green flags for accounts. So, red flags for the accounts where we can now start to tell earlier on this is going to be a tricky one, maybe it's not the right time to engage them. 

Versus green flags: Hey! Actually this is an account that's open to really trying new things, and pushing the boundaries. So we're getting better at recognizing I think those, and building those back into our selection process. 

Declan (strategicabm) – That's really interesting. And just touching on that point about the flags - the red and the green - is it the case that you've kind of got an open route into the accounts and those customers, or do you have to kind of knock on the door - and when I say knock on the door, I mean ask your account directors and your global sponsors to let you in? Or do they give you a carte blanche to go into those accounts? 

Rhiannon (PwC) – So this from the very outset has been a joint collaboration between Marketing and the business, so our global clients and industries team. So, we would never approach an account without agreeing it with them upfront. 

And then normally, they will make the initial introduction because there's a whole range of interventions that are being provided to these accounts and ABM is one of those. So we want to make sure that we are not going in through the back door and creating any confusion. 

So they'll make the first introduction and then, from then on, we will own that Marketing relationship with that account. 

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Declan (strategicabm) – Yeah, yeah, makes sense. So touching on kind of the company that PwC is, it's obviously a professional services company. Do you think that ABM lends itself very well to professional services, because of what ABM can do and the impact it can have on an account? 

Rhiannon (PwC) – Yeah, absolutely. And this is why I think One-to-one or strategic ABM lends itself particularly well, because by the very nature of what we sell, which is bespoke solutions to our clients, we obviously need our Marketing to reflect that as well, and feel bespoke and personalized, just like our services. 

And so we don't sell products, we kind of sell people and their experiences, their insights, their ideas and therefore, for many of our clients, we've got hundreds of people on the ground working side by side with clients delivering our services. 

And therefore our people are our biggest channel to market. So a lot of what we do is Sales enablement, and how do we get them to sing from the same hymn sheet? So that we are delivering consistent messaging across every client touchpoint. 

And how do we kind of position our people first and foremost? So they're who we're trying to sell; how do we showcase their expertise? So using LinkedIn, for example, to raise their profiles. Or offering expert briefings about our thought leadership. 

So it does definitely skew towards that 'enabling the human channel' side because that is how we sell. We're not a traditional selling organization. 

Declan (strategicabm) – And in terms of the success, obviously, 18 months - if you think about most ABM programs, particularly the kind of the customers that you are working with, where there are, as you said, very, very large corporations, complex... normally you need time for these things to work. How would you measure the success 18 months into this program? 

Rhiannon (PwC) – So I mean, I think one of the first successes has just been that we've established a brand-new team of ABM experts, and brought in a new capability to PwC global Marketing that didn't exist. 

And so that was no mean feat to start with, as a team of one! But I think for me the success has shown through the fact that now we've got accounts who are asking to be on the program. I'm currently doing the rounds now, we're halfway through this kind of three-year pilot with our global client partners, and all of them so far have said they would recommend other accounts to be on the program. 

And so a lot of that early success we're seeing, we're starting to get feedback from clients - how they're valuing what we are doing; how they can see that we're showing up differently. We've got some lovely comments around 'This is really helping us to understand how PwC can help us in new ways' or 'This is helping you stand out, because no one else has shared anything like this with us.' 

So it is still quite anecdotal and we are getting better at gathering data to kind of back that up. But that has been a journey and a half, to kind of get an automated dashboard in place. And we are still early days on that side. I'm always capturing all the quotes that I can from account teams and clients to show the success of what we've done. 

Declan (strategicabm) –  So would you say Rhiannon that the way that you're measuring at the moment is, as you said, it's much more anecdotal - it's the conversations, it's the feedback - would you say that's more about how you're measuring the success at the moment? 

Rhiannon (PwC) – I think that's what's helping me tell the best stories internally, 'cause it's much more tangible. But we do look at obviously the number of clients that we are engaging, the number of new relationships we're supporting, the value of the pipeline that's linked to those individuals, so that we can show that we're really helping to build relationships with clients who will have a material - or have the potential to have - a material impact on new revenues coming into the business. 

But it's a journey because, I think no one's cracked it, from what I can tell, from all the ABMers I talk to. 

Declan (strategicabm) – You mean you've cracked it from a reporting point of view? 

Rhiannon (PwC) – Just yeah, trying to land on those metrics and having the right data quality in place to be able to trust what you are reporting on is a continual journey, I find. 

Declan (strategicabm) – Well, as you said, you mentioned at the very beginning, talking about the various ABM tech vendors and what they're all, the way they position themselves in the market. And I think reporting is something, that Holy Grail for many companies trying to work at. And I've talked to some really interesting companies, very large companies that are still doing a lot of the work manually. 

Rhiannon (PwC) – Yeah. 

Declan (strategicabm) – Because they're not really able to bring that data together in the way that they need to be able to present, as you said, to present the story. 

Rhiannon (PwC) – That's right. 

Declan (strategicabm) – Because I think ultimately Rhiannon, it's a story that you need to tell right about what happened, where were you benchmarked at the beginning, what was the impact, what are we seeing now? 

Rhiannon (PwC) – Yeah. 

Declan (strategicabm) – A year, two years in. And I think because - It's interesting to hear from you. 

Rhiannon (PwC) – Yeah. Because we're obviously, our predominant focus is strengthening relationships and changing or building our reputation within accounts. And I feel like the anecdotal stories around how we've had that impact to just outweigh what the numbers tell you at the moment. 

Declan (strategicabm) – Yeah. And I think those leaders that have been there and have built those relationships before, and they're now in the C-suite, and they're now a CEO or wherever they are, or on the leadership team - I think they're savvy enough, rather to know that those kind of, particularly in your industry where relationships are make-and-break everything, you're not selling, well I suppose you probably have got software that you may or may not sell, but you're selling intellectual capability and capacity, and I think, it's really interesting in that sense. 

So let's talk a little bit more about success. And I think it's interesting because you know yourself from your own experience of ABM that kind of whole Sales and Marketing, Sales is from Mars and Marketing is from Venus - or whichever planet we're all from! That's obviously makes-and-breaks. 

But what advice would you have for anybody trying to get that, 'cause obviously you are working really closely with your global client partners, you're working really closely with the account directors, et cetera. What's your advice for anyone trying to make that work? 


Rhiannon (PwC) – I think, I mean for us, it was definitely forging a new relationship between Marketing and account teams that hadn't really existed previously. So setting those very clear expectations upfront that this isn't something that Marketing just takes away and does for you. 

This is you know, kind of symbiotic relationship. You'll get in or you'll get out... Sorry - as much as you put into it. And being very clear upfront with the contracting upfront around what it takes from them. 

And then I think as you start to see those early successes, making sure that you are constantly replaying them back into an account, by linking them to the outcomes that you agreed at the start. 

What I've seen is that we have GCPs - or global client partners - who are very willing to advocate, but they'll shout about the fact that they've got a shiny new microsite and 'Isn't this amazing?!' 

And so it's making sure that we are equipping them to tell that story in the context of what that microsite is trying to achieve in terms of outcomes. It is part of a long-term campaign where we're trying to change perceptions around X, Y and Z, and equipping them to tell that story and then identifying where there are perhaps platforms that you can get one of your key stakeholders to stand up and shout about your program. That's been very helpful for us. 

Declan (strategicabm) – That touches on the point around personalization, then - because obviously, ABM, particularly when you do One-to-one, One-to, One-to-few, it's all about personalization, right? 

Rhiannon (PwC) – Yeah. 

Declan (strategicabm) – So would you think that's part of the Sales teams and your Commercial teams who are engaged with the customers - is that what they're really looking for, from you, is really to get into the customer, under the skin, to really personalize what you're doing for them? 

Rhiannon (PwC) – Absolutely. And having spoken just recently to a number of the global client partners, they've said that's what they really value from the team is that they can really see that we are invested in their account; that we are taking the time to understand their client sometimes as well as members of their team, which is great to hear. 

And I think we are really helping them to get more value out of Marketing, because PwC has some amazing thought leadership, but it's almost how do we help them personalize it - because they just don't have time. 

When we create so much great stuff, they don't have the bandwidth to take the time to bring in those client insights, and talk about why it's relevant to that particular client. So, we are really supporting a need that has existed for a while and, as a result, we are are seeing them being more proactive in taking this personalized content to clients. 

And off the back of that, we are seeing clients really responding, it's resonating well and we're getting follow-up meetings and conversations off the back of it. So it is been great to see those results now. 

Declan (strategicabm) – And do you think then, Rhiannon, that a key metric is almost how quickly you can get that personalization into the customer? 

Rhiannon (PwC) – Yeah, and I think as we're evolving the model which I spoke about at the start, we are definitely looking at how we can accelerate that kind of speed to market, and speed to delivering value for accounts. 

One of our early learnings was that when we first picked up accounts, we would go on a really lengthy discovery exercise across talking to loads of the partners across the account. It would take weeks and almost we were ending up with too much information that wasn't necessarily going to be used, or wasn't actionable. 

So we kind of flipped that on its head and now we start with what outcome do we want to help drive within this account? And now let's do a very targeted amount of discovery to gather the insights that we need to achieve that particular outcome. 

And that's helped us move much more quickly, but still make sure that we've got enough insights to be personalizing whatever we are doing to the client based on their needs or priorities. 

Declan (strategicabm) – That's great to hear. Well, I think I've got a question for you now related to the word speed. So, when we were chatting and then we were chatting quite a while ago now and after the world has changed a little bit since we were chatting. 

But one of the things that we talked about back then was about generative AI, and you were saying that you were doing a lot of trials and testing, and you were seeing some early results. What can you tell us now? Because obviously, AI is obviously impacting all industries - and ABM is one of them, clearly; Marketing, B2B Marketing. So, give us an insight into what you are doing and what you found. 

Rhiannon (PwC) – So I mean, I see massive potential for gen AI to basically help us scale strategic ABM 'cause obviously that's what we've all been struggling with, given that it's so resource and time intensive. 

What we've been looking at and reflecting on is how can we use it to streamline, kind of, some of the more operational side of ABM? Because I think there's a danger that we find new kind of lazy ways to do bad Marketing. 

And I know, I know I've said that before - but I think there's a real danger for that. So we are using it to look at... what are those repetitive tasks, the data-driven tasks, the high-cost tasks? 

And where are there opportunities to do that more efficiently, so that we can spend more time on the personalization side of things, and actually more time on getting that to our people, to share with clients, because obviously we are there to help them build real human relationships. So I'm almost focusing technology on the inner workings to make sure that we are leading with our human edge on the actual face-off to clients, if that makes sense. 

Declan (strategicabm) – Oh, absolutely! And are you seeing... is it almost like having the extra staff? Are you seeing... it's almost like having, not to say interns, but you almost got some people who can do some of the hard work in the background, and then you add your expertise on top of it? Is that how you're seeing some of the use of the AI tools? 

Rhiannon (PwC) – That's certainly where I hope we'll get to. We are still very early days, as you might imagine a big organization like PwC. We are spending a lot of time as an organization thinking about how we use AI responsibly, getting the right guardrails in place before we can all go full throttle on using it. 

So certainly once I think we've got our use cases up and running, I do think I always see it as an extra teammate. I don't think it's something that you would ever just leave to run by itself. 

And I think some of the really cool platforms out there, like the video-generation platforms or some of the platforms that can do copywriting for you, no doubt can probably get you 80% of the way there, once you have spent time, invested time in the tools, bringing it up to speed and teaching it what it needs to know about your organization, your brand voice, your brand guidelines, but it's always going to need that human insight to check that what it's doing is okay. 

And also I think to bring in that creativity. I think it's a good creative, what's the word? Sparring partner or thought partner. But it's something that you work in tandem with rather than leave it to its own devices. 

Declan (strategicabm) – No, I think it's fair, very fair comment, and I think we're using it a lot at the agency - but we're using it as you said, with guardrails and using it either to do very repetitive tasks, or to do some deep data analysis which would take a human a long time. 

And you obviously have the human analyst then review the data, but yeah, we're seeing some interesting use cases and we've talked about it quite a lot in some of our publications, so if people want to check those out, that's great. 

So I know that you were at the ABM Conference, which I think was last November now, but you were speaking at the conference and I know it went down very well. So tell us a little bit about, obviously, tell us a little bit about the subject, about what you were speaking about - and maybe perhaps going to these face-to-face, in-person conferences, you can end up learning a ton yourself. 

Rhiannon (PwC) – Yeah. 

Declan (strategicabm) – So what did you speak about? And what did you take away from the conference? 

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Rhiannon (PwC) – So, the topic of my talk was around think big, start small - and what that journey has been over the first year at PwC. And I focused a lot on what were some of the challenges that we faced, and how did we kind of flow around them. 

So what are the ways that you can deliver quick wins when you perhaps don't have the technology that you'd ideally have in place? You don't have the data that you'd ideally have in place. 

None of us are starting from a perfect place when we're doing something for the first time, but I still believe there's a way that you can move forward and towards your end vision. So that's what my talk was about - and I absolutely love going to these ABM conferences. 

I think you can learn so much from your fellow ABMers. If anything, it's just therapeutic to vent and learn that you are all sharing similar challenges. I think one of the takeaways for me that was interesting was that all of us are talking about how we scale ABM, and it seems like a lot of us are coming to the conclusion that One-to-few isn't the right solution for us, for whatever reason. 

So I saw, I heard a lot of people talking about how they were thinking about One-to-one, how you could break it down or chunk it up in some way to provide that experience - but to a greater number of accounts. 

And that's really, we are reflecting that now in our thinking, about how we are starting to scale the program as well. So that was one of my key takeaways. It was interesting to see a few of us had come to a similar conclusion. 

Declan (strategicabm) – That's really interesting. I was speaking to somebody recently who was talking about doing One-to-one, but with a One-to-few model or something. 

Rhiannon (PwC) – Yeah. 

Declan (strategicabm) – There's a lot of thinking about that. So not going down the route of One-to-few, for whatever reason that they may well be. 

Rhiannon (PwC) – Yeah.  

Declan (strategicabm) – Justified or not. And then having them do that more personalized approach, a One-to-one approach into those customers. So just a few rapid-fire questions just to finish off with, Rhiannon. 

Rhiannon (PwC) – Yeah. 

Declan (strategicabm) – 'Cause you've been, as you mentioned, doing ABM now for, I think it's fair to say, we can call you a seasoned ABMer. 

Rhiannon (PwC) – I'm honored! 

Declan (strategicabm) – What has been your greatest ABM learning over the years? What's the thing that you've learned most about ABM? 

Rhiannon (PwC) – I think it is that earlier point around there's not a one-size-fits-all, and just because you've seen it in another organization or in a book doesn't mean it's going to work that way in your organization. You've got to work it out for yourself. 

Declan (strategicabm) – Good answers. Work it out for yourself. That's a good answer. Succinct answer. And what do you think is the hardest part of ABM? 

Rhiannon (PwC) – I think the roadblocks; I think you've got to have such a lot of tenacity and resilience to be an ABMer - 'cause wherever you go a wall will go down for whatever reason, or an account might go off the radar. 

And having that resilience and tenacity to keep moving forwards, and finding a way forward, I think is perhaps one of the more unique personality traits of ABMers, or that we need to be ABMers. 

Declan (strategicabm) – Interesting. And then you mentioned about when you were recruiting as well. Is that something you are looking for when you're recruiting people?

Rhiannon (PwC) – Absolutely. A can-do attitude, someone who is positive that I know a few knockdowns isn't going to stop them, they're going to keep going, I think, yeah! That's absolutely what I look for. 

Declan (strategicabm) – That's high on the job description is it? 

Rhiannon (PwC) – Definitely. 

Declan (strategicabm) – Tell me about misconceptions, 'cause obviously we talked about misconceptions about ABM at the beginning, but tell me what do you think is one of the greatest misconceptions that people believe about ABM that it clearly isn't the case? 

Rhiannon (PwC) – I mean, it's got be that ABM starts with technology, because I think we've spoken about it today. It is about people and it's about building trust with people, and technology is absolutely an enabler of that. But it comes after you've defined what you're doing. It doesn't start with a platform. 

Declan (strategicabm) – Yeah. So it's strategy first, technology second. 

Rhiannon (PwC) – Yeah. 

Declan (strategicabm) – Or third or fourth - depends where you want to put it - but it definitely comes after, right? 

Rhiannon (PwC) – Definitely. 

Declan (strategicabm) – And the very last question, we obviously, today we're recording this on a Monday I think, but imagine it was a Friday and you've had a really tough week, right? And you're just about to close your laptop and grab yourself a glass of Chablis, or whatever your favorite tipple is, and you get a phone call from a friend who's asking you to give them some help, 'cause they want to present an ABM strategy on that Monday morning. 

What would be that one piece of advice you say to them? 'Hey, make sure you mention this in that presentation.' 

Rhiannon (PwC) – I think my advice, if you are writing an ABM strategy, would be: Don't be precious. Be really clear on the outcomes, be clear on the vision, but always the whole time, be open to feedback, be open to failures and roll with the punches, and go with the flow - 'cause you just don't know what the right answer is until you get going. 

Declan (strategicabm) – So, when you say that, you mean - get the thing started, see what happens on that journey and be able to roll with the punches somewhat. 

Rhiannon (PwC) – Yeah. 

Declan (strategicabm) – When those things hit you. 

Rhiannon (PwC) – Have an informed hypothesis at the start, but make sure that you've got that open mindset throughout, and adapt as quickly as you can. 

Declan (strategicabm) – That's great advice to finish off with. Rhiannon, thanks so much for sharing your ABM journey with us today. And wish you and the whole team there at PwC every success for the future. 

Rhiannon (PwC) – Thanks so much.