Declan Mulkeen (strategicabm) – Today I'm joined by Gabrielle Pirzad, Head of ABM, EMEA at Citrix. Gabrielle, thanks so much for joining us today.
Gabrielle Pirzad (Citrix) – Thank you, great to be here.
Declan (strategicabm) – Well, I mean, we've been chatting to each other for quite a while actually now, trying to arrange this interview, and I was delighted that we could actually make it happen. But when we were having a little chat before this recording, we were talking about your ABM journey, and I think it started back in 2013 at IBM.
Can you tell us more about that? I mean, that's a long time, that's nine years ago now, and obviously in the world of ABM, that's a long time ago. So tell us a bit about IBM back then and what you were trying to achieve.
Gabrielle (Citrix) – Yeah, that's a great question. And you're right, it was early in the days of ABM, that had been around a little bit before that. So it was a pilot, it was a global pilot that the global team wanted to roll out across different regions. And in the UK we had, I think, there were four of us, each doing One-to-one ABM. We didn't even call ourselves ABM, as then we called ourselves Market Development Leaders, but it was ABM.
So I had five One-to-one accounts in Comms and Energy sectors. And yeah, my mission was to go and expand those accounts. I had a minuscule budget, and we ran that, those programs for around, oh, 18 months - two years learning from it. But as I said, it was a pilot. We had quite a few success stories, but after two years, unfortunately, the program moved on, as so many companies probably did it about that time anyway.
Declan (strategicabm) – Yeah, I'm sure. And I think what was interesting when we were talking before, you also mentioned a little story about Bev Burgess, who obviously for many people who are listening and watching, Bev was responsible for much of the documentation and the development of ABM as a methodology and as a practice back in 2002, 2003. And I think you kind of created some kind of LinkedIn group to bring together other tech ABMers, which was a little bit ahead of its time really, Gabrielle.
Gabrielle (Citrix) – I know!
Declan (strategicabm) – Tell us about that group. Tell us about how you did that. I mean, that's really far, yeah.
Gabrielle (Citrix) – Yeah, I can't remember what we called now. It's something like the ABMer Network or something like that. And I was aware that I was learning, we didn't have any formal education. There was no ITSMA or anything like that. We just went in and we found ourselves doing ABM.
So I wanted to talk to other tech companies that were doing the same, you know, learn from each other. And so I was kind of advertised this group on LinkedIn, and even then LinkedIn was probably not so extensively used as it is now. And yeah, so I gained a little group of ABMers from BT, Fujitsu, Oracle, quite a few other companies. And yeah, and Bev Burgess also joined our group.
And so the idea was that we would meet face to face occasionally, we'd talk and share information on LinkedIn. And in fact, our first face-to-face meeting was hosted by Bev Burgess. So we got together in a room at their premises, chatted all matters ABM, and it was fascinating, just the difference in our approaches, what we were doing, how we were going to market the technology and everything else.
And yeah, that was probably, that's the main bit, that's the main thrust of our engagement with Bev. But we kept in touch, of course, and she's gone on to bigger and better things since then.
Declan (strategicabm) – Indeed, indeed. But as you're quite rightly said, I think back in 2013, LinkedIn was nowhere near what it is today. It was very much in its infancy, much more focused around HR. And so I think you were very, you know, the great, you know, foresight really to use that kind of platform to bring together like-minded B2B marketers and ABMers as you said.
If we got back to your first experience with ABM back at IBM, you mentioned that you did a pilot that kind of stopped I think after 18 months, 24 months.
Gabrielle (Citrix) – Yeah.
Declan (strategicabm) – And then I think you went back into Field Marketing at IBM, but then –
Gabrielle (Citrix) – Yes, yes.
Declan (strategicabm) – This sounds like an episode of like of Eamonn Andrews, you know, I'm going to say, you know, the phone call came, yeah, and they invited you back and said, "Hey Gabrielle, we need you to pick up the ABM reigns again." Tell us about that, what happened there?
Gabrielle (Citrix) – So yeah, so IBM started talking about ABM again, but actually calling it ABM this time. And I was asked to another pilot, to pilot ABM with one account. So it was a major bank that was about to, was coming up for a huge renewal with IBM. And I was asked to sort of step in and sort of pilot some ABM techniques on that.
You know, the team knew, my CMO knew that I'd, you know, had a strong interest in ABM in the past and wanted to keep that going. In fact, you know, I even came, Declan, to some of your workshops in the time I was in Field Marketing in London. So I kept the interest going.
So yeah, so worked with this account, the renewal went really successfully, and sort of based on that, and lots of sort of internal publicity, if you like, the decision was made to ramp up the ABM effort. So I was part of a global team, bringing together the sort of structure around ABM and how that was going to be deployed. And it was, you know, across, you know, tens of accounts across the world, essentially, with a big chunk of them in EMEA as well.
So I was particularly responsible for everything around the people side of things, so the roles and responsibilities, some of the processes, some of the approach to rolling out ABM. And of course, that kicked off, and I recruited the local UK and Ireland team to deliver ABM for IBM. Always a difficult one to say.
Declan (strategicabm) – Yeah. And then I think you mentioned as well, Gabrielle, that the, as you say, it was a global program, and I think you mentioned to me it was a great success in some countries, and not so great in others. I think, what would you say, what's the learning perhaps you'd take from that, from anyone looking to roll out a similar kind of global ABM program?
Gabrielle (Citrix) – Yeah, I think some of the learning from that was the way that it was, oh, this is quite a difficult one. So I think some of that is the way that it was deployed. So we all went through the ITSMA education, everyone was certified, but some people didn't have that as their full-time day job. So ABM is a full-time day job, whereas, you know, my team in the UK and Ireland did, and I think that helped because they had a set number of accounts that they were solely responsible.
They weren't doing Field Marketing as well as, or any other roles as well. But I think in some countries, due to various reasons, people actually had split roles, very, very difficult. So I think the big lesson for that is you really, really, really have to invest in the people side of ABM. If you want it to work, you have to start small, but with people dedicated to it. And that affects, you know, everything, but it's all about the focus as much as anything. Does that make sense?
Declan (strategicabm) – Yeah, I think it does, Gabrielle, I think I'd agree, and I think some previous, Let's talk ABM guests have said something very similar that ABM is not something you can do on the side.
If you're going to do it and you haven't got enough resources, then you have two choices. You either go smaller at the beginning with fewer accounts, would you say? Or you look for help, you look for external help, which can help as well with agencies like ourselves and many others, et cetera. But I think, yeah, I think that's a very good lesson that you learned there. So let's move forward in time then, from your days at IBM.
Gabrielle (Citrix) – Are we going onto my film career now? Sorry.
Declan (strategicabm) – Yeah, we're moving fast through your career now from your stage days through to your film career days now. So I think you joined, yeah, you joined Citrix, I think it was early this year to head up ABM in EMEA.
Gabrielle (Citrix) – Yes.
Declan (strategicabm) – And obviously, you know, there was a move of, after being several years at IBM at the big, do they still call IBM the Big Blue?
Gabrielle (Citrix) – Big Blue, yeah, still called that.
Declan (strategicabm) – The Big Blue, yeah, yeah. So what have you found now joining Citrix? What struck you, what kind of change struck you there?
Gabrielle (Citrix) – So, I was really impressed in that there already was ABM in existence. So it'd been running for more than two years. And you know, it was really well set up. There was a small team of people across EMEA that had been all through the ITSMA education. So they were accredited, they understood the process and the background, and requirements of ABM, really, really good.
The other thing is that the people currently involved in ABM are really strong marketers anyway. So, you know, they were field marketers, et cetera, but really, really capable individuals who kind of got it. And that's, I guess, part of my other learning from my previous role was that the people really have to want to do it.
So I've talked about split responsibilities, but you really have to be committed to the process and the engagement and everything else, because without that – it sounds a bit over the top possibly – but it's a real huge commitment to your personal time, your way of working and your, you know, to get really close to Sales, get really close to the customer, and, you know, give a lot of insight to that relationship and deliver the right outcomes. So you need to be really, really focused and really committed to it.
So I found some really great relationships and commitment at Citrix as well. And the other thing I've found is that the relationships with Sales are already really good. And we know that's a major enabler, and probably every website I look at, every forum I attend, people are talking about the importance of sales engagement and how difficult it is, and conversation with my peers how difficult it is. So I think there was already some great relationships there, so providing a good foundation. So that's what I found.
And then in addition to that, a lot of work had gone into putting together a playbook. Obviously you've got your own great playbook, but this is another playbook, especially for Citrix based on ITSMA and more, but you know, it's really tailored. The foundation was already there, well more than foundation, but we just needed to get it out there and make it really attention-grabbing, useful, practical, et cetera. So that's what one of the first things that I've done is to finish off the playbook, make it in a really highly interactive format, and get that publicized.
Declan (strategicabm) – Fantastic.
Gabrielle (Citrix) – That was a really long answer. I think we'll touch on that a bit later.
Declan (strategicabm) – No, no, no, it's a great answer. I think we'll touch on that actually, The ABM Playbook. I think perhaps I've got, I want to talk to you a little bit later about your ABM Center of Excellence, so I think that might lead in nicely there. But before we do that, can you paint us a picture of what your ABM strategy looks like there, you know, without going to great detail, but just what does it look like in terms of programs, industries, objectives, just a kind of a big picture view of what you're trying to achieve there.
Gabrielle (Citrix) – So the strategy is focused on One-to-one ABM for a small selection of strategic accounts, strategic being the sort of priority accounts. And alongside that, there are One-to-few campaigns. And by One-to-few, my interpretation is that is, no more than 20 accounts, probably less than that. I know some people will talk about it being 100.
So One-to-few, primary industries we're covering at the moment are retail, manufacturing, financial services. In fact those are the main ones that we're actually covering at the moment. Yeah, technology as well. So those are the main areas.
We have a team of, we call them, we actually don't call it ABM, we call it Account-based Engagement, ABE, quite difficult to say. But there's all sorts of reasons, and one of those reasons being the fact it is about engagement, engagement with Sales, engagement with the customer. So that's why we call it that. So we have team of Account-based Engagement champions typically running the One-to-one ABM, sorry, One-to-few campaigns, and then a smaller team running both One-to-one and a few select One-to-few campaigns for those priority accounts.
Oh, and the objective. So the objectives vary by accounts. So for One-to-one, there is no set objective. The overall objective, of course, is growth, and growth and revenue of course, but by account we have very specific objectives. Some of them are pursuit, deal objectives, trying to close a big deal. Whereas other ones are more about, you know, increasing the number of contacts in a given account.
Declan (strategicabm) – And that you've mentioned a few times there, Gabrielle, ITSMA, would it be the case that you're using the ITSMA 3 'Rs' for measuring the impact of your ABM program?
Gabrielle (Citrix) – Yes, yes definitely. So my favorite one, of course, is Relationships, 'cause it's all about the relationships, otherwise you can't hope to achieve and improve Reputation or Revenue. But yes, we are following them. And I've also added in an additional R, if you like, which is Relevance, because –
Declan (strategicabm) – Well, let's jump to that in a second.
Gabrielle (Citrix) – Okay. Sorry.
Declan (strategicabm) – No, that's great. No, that's fine. I just want to go back to that point around the strategy that you have there.
Gabrielle (Citrix) – Yeah, sure.
Declan (strategicabm) – And also you've been in the role, you've been in the role for, you know, a few months really, relatively short period of time when we're talking about ABM. But are there any successes that you can share with us in terms of what's happened in the course of this period?
Gabrielle (Citrix) – Yeah, I think one I would particularly call out for, since the time obviously I've been in role is around relationships. So there's a very large engineering company that our relationships were slim, I would say at best. So what we did was to, and it's not for want of trying, I should say by the Sales team, very capable Sales team that they are. So what we did was did a piece of Insights work to find some hooks to engage selected contacts within the organization.
So it wasn't the case of saying to them, hey, this is what we do, would you like to buy some or can we have a talk about that? But it was actually, we know that you are really interested in this topic, or we've seen you at events on public platforms talking about this topic, et cetera, et cetera. And really doing the sort of social, the PR, and sort of mining of events to understand a bit more about those personas and those individual clients.
And then we were able to reach out with similar topics, and we didn't go via the Account team, we went through our SMEs internally who also had a passion for similar topics. So whether it's sustainability, for instance, you know, innovation, whatever it is, and then reached out that way. And as a result of that, you know, we now have several contacts engaged with us, follow-up meetings, and even a closed deal, which is amazingly quick, but you know, more to come, more to come.
Declan (strategicabm) – I think that's a great story.
Gabrielle (Citrix) – That's a good one.
Declan (strategicabm) – No, it's a very good one, Gabrielle, and I think it's also, it's a great, it's a great story to show the importance of insights, right? And I know that, you know, the use of insights and actually creating insights to inform everything in ABM is so important. Let's touch on that now actually. How do you approach insights, and how do you use that information in your campaigns?
Gabrielle (Citrix) – So there's several ways that we do it. So in the past, it was very much, you know, I would always advocate, you know, reading you the annual reports, and social listening on the individuals at the company. At Citrix, we have a wealth of tools to use that both give us sort of business insights on the customer and other tools where you can profile and do social profiling of your target contacts.
And the other thing is, quite often we will use an agency to do the piece of work, which I've just described to you as a good example, to really look at in-depth at the personas in terms of what they're doing, where they're presenting the PR, you know, the people that are visible at your customer contact are the ones that want to be visible, want to be engaged, probably on their own career trajectory, so it's about engaging those individuals.
And then I think we've got enough hooks, you know, we can look at the 'install base' and all that useful information, and we can look at the competitor presence, but we really have to find those hooks. You know, in a world where, you know, people are time poor, and information overloaded, then I think, you know, you've got to find those niche topics to engage them with.
Declan (strategicabm) – I think it's a really good point. Then I think, you know, an example comes to mind with one of our customers when they had some amazing insights. So very often when we're doing work with our customers, very often they've got such great data, such great insights from their business 'cause they're large, you know, complex businesses that they're collecting lots of data and lots of insights itself, but then it's a case of looking at that data and then looking for, as you said, looking potentially for where the gaps are, and then commissioning additional insights to kind of fill those gaps.
And we did something, yeah, and we did something similar where we were able to help a client understand which accounts they should go after based on whether or not they would be increasing or decreasing their spend in the next 12 months. And so it was quite surprising for the customer, yeah, it's quite surprising for the customers to see, oh, we were going to go after these guys, but actually you are telling us that they're going to decrease their spend in the next 12 months, so we're going to have a harder sell to get into them, whereas these other accounts you've mentioned are all the indication is that they're going to be spending more this year, next year in the market, and therefore that makes it a much better choice for us.
So I think as you said, it's those gaps, it's those hooks, that insights can give you, right?
Gabrielle (Citrix) – And it's, you know, you can't sort of deny the importance of the press, the day to day press, and you know, at the end of the day, you just have to keep your eyes and ears tuned.
So at my previous company, for instance, you know, the team were set a challenge to find something new, to talk to a major customer about, you know, what else could that be? There was, you know, we just met with them that they had loads of salespeople working on that account, and certainly the ABMer involved saw something in the press about a problem that they had at the company.
I can't really say too much more about it, but the problem they're experiencing so much so it became in the press, not the first thing you'd would've thought of IBM to solve, but there was an angle on it. So the ABMer obviously went back to the account team, and certainly when I left, there were opportunities in the pipeline because of that. So in fact it was a customer care issue, so perfect.
You know, you've got to keep your eyes and ears tuned, you've got to look at intent data of course, but at the end of the day, you know, it's about those hooks, or finding them.
Declan (strategicabm) – Yeah, I definitely agree. Let move on to a question around an ABM Center of Excellence. I know that you're building one there at Citrix at the moment. For the audience that perhaps doesn't understand what a Center of Excellence is in terms of ABM, what is one and what does it bring to the table?
Gabrielle (Citrix) – So, I think, so for me, and this is my definition, a Center of Excellence is a source or a common repository. And that doesn't necessarily mean, you know, a database, but a repository of stories on success, stories of templates, of databases, use cases, whatever you want to call it, that gives the team, both Sales and the ABM team, the ability to pick some of those elements out, and use them in their campaigns, or use with a customer.
So I mentioned the ABM Playbook earlier. You know, one of my favorite sections in it, sad that I am, is the, we have, you know, a section of templates, so tools and templates that people can use. So they can go in there, they're pre-prescribed, I used one recently in a workshop with an Account team, gave me some great, you know, structure to go through, but also some great questions to ask and everything else.
So it's about having that, and it can't stand still, it has to grow. So as we get success stories from the ABMers, from the Account-based Engagement champions, then we will build to that, so in more and more customer case studies. And the reason for that is because ABM is a long journey usually.
It's not, you don't usually get, you know, short term wins in terms of revenue anyway. So I think the Center of Excellence is something that we use to rely on for proving the case as much as anything, but also to help new people get off the ground quickly, et cetera. Does that answer your question?
Declan (strategicabm) – Excellent. It does, yeah, and I think some other guests, previous guests are doing things very, very similar, such as the team that you know over at ServiceNow. I interviewed Elise Miller who heads up ABM in EMEA, and they're doing a fantastic job as well, so it's great to see more and more companies creating those ABM Centers of Excellence.
We talked briefly earlier about the 3 'Rs', you know, Reputation, Relationships, and Revenue, which you use, we use for measuring the success of our ABM programs. And you also alluded to a fourth R. Can you remind the audience what that fourth R is, and why you think it's important?
Gabrielle (Citrix) – Do you know, every time I think about it, Declan, I could probably come up with another R, but yes, so yeah, I probably have a range of them.
So, so yes, so it's Relevance, and the reason is that my biggest bugbear, or passion, or whatever you want to call it, 'cause it's a double-sided coin, is about being relevant to the customer. And what I mean by that is, we very often sell customers what we want to sell them, not necessarily what they want to buy.
You know, we've got targets, sales have got targets around, you know, our products and solutions, however, it's not always what the customer wants to buy. So I think the Relevance piece is, you know, other people refer to it as Outside-in Marketing. So it's putting yourself in the customer's shoes, thinking about, you know, what keeps them awake at night, you know, good old Sales 101.
But actually, what is it they're talking about, like we talked about earlier, and therefore what challenges do they have? And then it's about engaging in a conversation about that. So it's about being relevant to the customer, not pitching something that they don't necessarily want to buy. And the only way you can do that is by putting yourself in their shoes.
So that's why in both my previous companies and hopefully in my existing company, I will be putting myself in the customer's shoes. So I worked very closely in my first foray into ABM in 2013 with two of my customers. So onsite, at the customer, you know, talking to them, engaging insights about how they worked, the language they use, the structure of the company and their challenges of course.
Declan (strategicabm) – And I think that's actually, that's linked actually, Gabrielle, to something you said to me earlier about, 'cause you were talking about a little bit about your background and your educational background in psychology, and you were talking about how important it is to get under the skin of your customer, so I think that thing about relevancy is linked very much to psychology of the customer and getting under their skin, right?
Gabrielle (Citrix) – Yeah, absolutely. And you know, I'd love to know how we can actually, you know, it's a course out there. I must admit, I started looking and then I gave up, but I did hear someone talking about psychometric profiling of your customers.
So I'm sure we've all been on those sort of insights courses where, you know, you find out what color you are, and what found your color your colleagues are, you know, if they're red, they're probably quite passionate, fast-moving, aggressive. So you have to communicate with them in the right way.
And I, you know, I think all of that, you got to be careful 'cause you can overdo it, but all of that has to be relevant in how you engage with the customer. If you've got a numbers person, you know, very process-led or you know, whatever, you have to communicate in the same way, and that affects your marketing as much as your sales engagement.
So it's all about relevance, but I think understanding is the main thing, and the empathy piece is got to be critical.
Declan (strategicabm) – Yeah, I would definitely agree. And we, at the Agency, we take our customers through a whole kind of empathy mapping process for them to get, you know, under the skin... in the shoes of their customers. And it is quite an intense process really, and it kind of reveals so much about the customer that perhaps they had never had actually put on paper before.
And it just helps with everything from, you know, value props through to messaging, through to strategy as you said. You know, how you're approaching different people within that group of individuals that you're looking to talk to, those contacts, those people, and each person will want a different language, different way of talking, different ways of talking about the advantages and the benefits, et cetera. So I think we're both on the same page there with regards to that.
So we've talked a lot about sales enablement, so I think we're, is there anything that you would add for the audience about how do you get that, I mean it sounds a bit cliché now, because obviously so many people are sort of talking about, you are right to say that it is, you know, we did a survey of about 130 B2B tech marketers, and the number one challenge that they told us was that the alignment with Sales was... and Marketing, was the most challenging part of any ABM motion.
Is there anything that you would share with the audience about how you've achieved some alignment over the years?
Gabrielle (Citrix) – Yes, so I must admit my opinion on this has probably got a little bit more hardline over the last few years. So I think it's all about delivering value, you know, and building trust, you know, the basics of human relationships. And in the past I probably would've, probably put myself out too much to build that relationship. So, you know, it is important to engage with the customer and engage with the team, but you know, find yourself involved in all sorts of projects, essentially 'bag carrying' or something like that is probably not the ideal way that it does build a bit of trust.
And then, so that is one way. I think the other point is to, sorry, I've trailed off. Sorry, I just, could you want to just ask a question again? I'm sorry.
Declan (strategicabm) – Yeah, we're talking about the obviously the alignment, and I thought, I know you were, when Christian Weiss, who heads up ABM in EMEA for Autodesk, he published one of the video teasers from our interview recently, and I know you made a point on it about the approach that he's taking with his Sales team of almost doing kind of empathy mapping, but based around exposing yourself in a way to actually being more fragile, and actually opening yourself up to your sales colleagues. And I thought that was a very novel approach.
Gabrielle (Citrix) – Yeah, it was a really good approach, and I think what he's done there has acknowledged that Sales have one impression of us and we have a different impression of Sales, you know, and the two, it's about aligning those and knowing that, and I remember a few years ago at IBM, I ran a project to work with the Sales teams. It was really irrespective of ABM, but work with the Sales teams more closely, and to make sure that we were joined up in alignment in terms of planning, in terms of getting their commitment to support events or campaigns.
And I remember engaging with a really good, one of the really good Sales team members, and inviting him to a Marketing-led event to talk about what he was doing in Sales. And, but I, and this is my mistake, the way I talked about Sales on that communication, that event, that sorry, that webcast, I think it was, was very much them and us, and that was me talking about them as them and us, so much so that he said to me afterwards, "I never knew you felt about Sales in that way".
And that was a real wake-up call for me, because, you know, it's my, I don't know whether it was an unconscious bias or what, but it was something that came out that affected our, his perception of me and my perception of Sales and it came out very publicly. So I wouldn't recommend doing that.
I think there are two things. I think the first thing to do is you have to publicize what ABM is. What is it going to deliver, why does Sales want to be part of it? You know, if they don't want to be part of it, then you're never going to get that engagement. So it's about selecting the right accounts.
Now one of the things we do at Citrix as part of the selection process, is we know we look at the engagement of the account owner. You know, are they a person that's typically engaged with Marketing, or is going to have time as well. So not just engagement to work with us. And that's one of the sort of, you know, select in, select out criteria. So that's one thing.
And then when you've done that, you know, it's how do you present ABM to them? You can present it as, you know, overnight growth in their account. You know, why do they want to be part of it? In fact, I've even heard of another company where they make Sales actually pay for it. If they want ABM, they have to fund an ABMer. Great, if you can afford that, I quite like that. So that's all well and good. So you sell it to them, they want to be part of it. They have to understand how it works. So for instance, we will be sharing the playbook with Sales so they can understand more of the detail about how it works and therefore, you know, they engage around that.
The other hardline point, which I kind of have developed over the last, as I say, a few months or so, is if they don't want to be part of it, then just ditch them. One of the mistakes I made back in 2013, 2014 was I had five accounts, it was a killer. They were massive accounts. I couldn't sort of spread the love between all five. But I tried, despite one of them, a massive telco that was really not interested. It was like the hunting the Scarlet Pimpernel trying to get time with him.
And in the end, you know, I didn't achieve anything with them, they didn't get anything from me, the relationship wasn't great. But really what I should have done and said, let's just focus on these four and then ignore him, you know, 'cause it was quite early on. Talk to my manager and say I'm going to take him out of the program, I don't know, but that would've been a better approach. Did I answer the question?
Declan (strategicabm) – Yeah, yeah, I think that's a good couple of answers there, and I think it ties back to many other people who I've spoken to who've given similar kind of ideas and ways that they approach this alignment, and I think when you mentioned about paying for ABM, I have heard of that as well with companies charging to their Sales team for accounts.
But I think the thing that I've seen probably worked the most is, you know, I used to be a Head of Sales as well. So, I now do Marketing, you know, 100%. But previously I used to do Sales and Marketing, and I think Sales, the Sales side of me, you know, loves success, loves to chase, loves to win, loves the celebration. And I think if you can transmit that message of success, celebration, and win to the Sales team, then it will become contagious.
So, you know, I think perhaps grabbing, you know, one salesperson and working closely with them, then they would share that success with their team, or the wider Sales community. And the next thing you know, you know, you would... I think it was actually Elise Miller at ServiceNow, she was saying to me that the problem that she was finding with ABM was that their ABM program was so successful that they were inundated with requests from different sales leaders and in the whole, you know, huge ServiceNow organization, for them to do ABM to their accounts.
So, you know, you can almost die from your own success. But I think, you know, over-communicate, success is contagious, people will want to know about this, and I think that's a great way as well, to add to your two suggestions as well.
Just two or three rapid fire questions, Gabrielle, I'll finish off with, and we'll start off with misconceptions. What would you say is the greatest misconception about ABM?
Gabrielle (Citrix) – That it's a quick win. That it's, you know, let's see results in the first three, six months, because you can do if you're lucky, but really it's longer, it's a longer, slower burn, but greater rewards I think at the end of that. But it takes time, really does take time.
Declan (strategicabm) – Yeah. And then another question, going back to how we started this conversation, which was about obviously IBM in your journey back in 2013, but that, you know, the journey of nine years in ABM. What do you think has been your greatest learning in those nine years?
Gabrielle (Citrix) – I think my greatest learning has been, well there's two actually. I'm fighting between the two. So one is something I referred to before, which is about don't take on too much, take time. Certainly my manager, when I left IBM, his coaching to me was, you know, take time to get to know the ropes, get to know the accounts, whatever, but don't just launch in. You need to build trust, you need to understand that piece, we talked about insights straight, you know, upfront, that does take time. You need to get in the psyche of your customer and your Sales team as well.
And then the other point, you know, boring but true is about relationships. You know, it's about building that relationship with the Sales team and the customer. Again, you know, the two feed each other essentially, but you have to have that otherwise you're not going to be as successful. Yeah.
Declan (strategicabm) – Two great answers for the price of one there. And what is the hardest, what is the hardest part of ABM for you?
Gabrielle (Citrix) – Time, time is the hardest part of ABM for me, is finding time to fit everything in. It is always a challenge. Hence my evangelizing around, you know, start small, and, you know, take time, because it's always the hardest thing to find. But it does pay off. But you need to sell that concept upwards, outwards, and downwards as well, because otherwise you won't get time from people.
Declan (strategicabm) – Yeah, I think that's a very good point. You've got to, as you said earlier, you've got to show people what it looks like, what the journey looks like, what success looks like, what the timeframes are, and so people don't have unrealistic expectations of you and your program.
And the very last question for you, you're just about to close your laptop down. It's been a long, long, long day, and the phone rings and it's an old colleague of yours from your past who says, "Hey, I'm in a new company, I'm in a new role, I've got to do an ABM program, and they've asked me to come in on Monday morning and present about our ABM strategy." And they say to you, "What advice can you give me, Gabrielle?" And you say, "Look, it's been, it's a hard day. I haven't got much time. Here's one piece of advice." What's that one, they weren't that close a friend, okay? It was like a distant, distant work colleague. What's that one piece of advice you would give them?
Gabrielle (Citrix) – I would say understand or shape your purpose for doing ABM. Why are you doing it? Are you growing? Are you about growth? Are you about relationships, perception, reputation, whatever? But what is your purpose? 'Cause that's going to inform everything.
In fact, another one of my mistakes from the past and probably will keep making is when I don't set clear objectives or purpose for something I'm doing. So you really, really have to have that in mind, because if you just say, right, I'm going to run a campaign, you know, I'm going to set up an ABM program, I'm going to find the accounts, I'm going to, you know, target them in this way, whatever, without that purpose, how do you know when you've achieved it for a start, but also, what are you going to include? Which accounts are you going to select? So you really have to get that agreed.
In fact, and I would say if they want you to present it on a Monday and you don't know what the purpose is, refuse the meeting until you do. That's it, that's my view.
Declan (strategicabm) – That's, I think that's a good answer. And I think you're right, actually. Make sure that you're absolutely clear what you're trying to achieve, otherwise you're going to end up failing. Gabrielle, thanks so much for sharing your ABM journey with us today. It's been an absolute pleasure.
Gabrielle (Citrix) – Thank you.
Declan (strategicabm) – All the best to you and your team there at Citrix, and thank you very much.
Gabrielle (Citrix) – Thank you, brilliant. Thank you, Declan.