ABM Playbook

What the future holds for ABM

In this special episode of Let's talk ABM, we speak to our very own ABM expert and CEO, Alex Embling, about what the future holds for ABM.

Date published: Date modified: 2023-08-22 strategicabm 550 60

Alex Embling
CEO | strategicabm

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Alex has been in B2B Marketing – practically since the beginning! He started strategicabm more than 25 years ago and has lived through all the major B2B trends – from SEO to Inbound, from Content Marketing to Demand Generation. Alex pivoted strategicabm to be a pure-play Account-based Marketing Agency some seven years ago. Today, the Agency is considered to be one of the foremost ABM consultancies. 
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:
  • The challenges for immature and mature ABM programs
  • Why trust is the key factor of any successful ABM program
  • Value Proposition and Account Experience – what are they?
  • Why ABM is the right ‘play’ in an economic recession
  • When to use an ABM Agency (and not)
Read the full transcript

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What the future holds for ABM

The full transcript

Declan Mulkeen (strategicabm) – Hi, today I'm actually joined by Alex Embling, who's the CEO of our Agency, strategicabm. Alex, thanks so much for joining me today. 

Alex Embling (strategicabm) – Good to see you, Dec. 

Declan (strategicabm) – Well, I thought, you know, it's about time. I've been thinking about interviewing you for a long time as part of 'Let's talk ABM' and as part of kind of the podcast that we do, et cetera. And I thought it'd be interesting to get your take. 

You've been involved in B2B Marketing for 20, 25 years. I've known you for probably about that time or a little bit less. 

Alex (strategicabm) – Yeah. 

Declan (strategicabm) – First, as a client – so I was a client obviously of the Agency - and now, obviously, now I'm part of the Agency as the CMO. 

Alex (strategicabm) – Yeah. 

Declan (strategicabm) – So let's talk a little bit about the last 20 years, because obviously, Bev Burgess – who we all know and respect and admire – she coined the term ABM and the methodology back in 2002, 2003. So, we are celebrating the 20th anniversary. How do you see the last 20 years of ABM? I know we've been involved in it for six, seven years as a pure-play ABM Agency, right? 


Alex (strategicabm) – Yeah, I mean, we've been involved in it formally for the last sort of six, seven years. But I guess we've been inadvertently involved in it, unknowingly, for much longer because our clients have always been those sort of global technology brands, you know, with long sales cycles, and lots of people involved in the buying decision. So, we have been involved in it. 

I mean, it's evolved dramatically. I don't think the principles have changed. I think, you know, the fundamentals of, you know, being more relevant to fewer people have been around for decades, not just in the last 20 years. But obviously, technology, data, the fact that the buying journey happens way in advance of you actually having contact with the account you're trying to engage. I think all of that has changed a lot and has obviously impacted the way programs are run, where the priority investments are made, and all of that really. 

And also the expectations on Sales and Marketing teams, because the investment that's being made into Account-based Marketing programs now, clearly impacts how people run their programs, and how they prioritize their activities. So, obviously technology's been the biggest disruptor and had the biggest impact on ABM programs over the last 20 years. 

Declan (strategicabm) – Yeah. It's interesting, I suppose. You think back to – I think it was a conversation or a lunch or a dinner that Bev was at 20 years ago now with Accenture and Unisys. They were talking to her about Client-centric Marketing, and the idea of dedicated teams working internally within one account to actually get deep into that account, so that account could actually benefit from all of their services. So interestingly, they were consultancy companies as opposed to, you know, manufacturers or technology vendors. 

But as you mentioned then, technology has been the game-changer, and has probably stolen a bit too much of the headlines, really, in the course of the last few years, whereas we have this kind of a conversation always about, you know, the use of technology and what's required, and how much technology do you actually need to get started with ABM. 

And I think, because obviously these technology vendors who've come into the ABM space, obviously have had big budgets, and big marketing budgets. They've managed to grab a large chunk of the conversation. But, would it be fair to say that, what is the level of technology that is required? 

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Let's start with a couple of scenarios in terms of ABM. Give us a scenario around a company which has got a good go-to-market strategy, but is looking to implement ABM for the first time. So they would be relatively immature from an ABM point of view. What does that kind of approach look like? 

Alex (strategicabm) – Well, there's the approach that we'd recommend, and there's obviously the approach that a lot of companies take, are two different things. And I think a lot of the mistakes that companies make are they, you know, start with the technology. They see it as a bit of a golden bullet. 

And obviously there's pressure, there's more pressure on Sales and Marketing teams, and Commercial teams than ever before, because of the levels of investment that are going into these businesses. So, you know, naturally, human nature, is you look for a quick fix, and quite often technology vendors are selling nirvana and, you know, technology doesn't solve strategic issues. It only scales bad decisions. 

So I think, you know, you can start with a minimal tech stack. If you think about what you need in order to measure – and that's the important question to ask yourself internally, or aligned with the business teams, the C-suite. The first thing is, you know, how are we gonna report on success? 

And obviously we use the Three Rs model: Reputation, Relationships and Revenue. But there may be some other models that people want to adopt to, you know, clearly quantify the incremental progress Sales and Marketing teams are making with a set of accounts or a strategic account. 

So I think priority needs to be, right: Align with your C-suite, the guys that are giving you the dollars to invest in this program, align with them on how to report on that progress. And then reverse-engineer from there, really. 

And quite often it doesn't require technology. ABM is historically difficult to report on, because there are obviously digital touchpoints, and you can solve that with varying degrees of technology. And then there's offline, soft, qualitative data that, you know, is harder to capture. 

So, you know, key account programs, ABM programs will always require online, offline, qualitative and quantitative data. And obviously you can resource that appropriately with technology. And obviously you've gotta get your teams bought in across the business to be able to facilitate those qualitative inputs as well.

So, I think, you know, to answer your question: Start small. Get your ABM program right. Reverse-engineer from revenue. Figure out what is closest to revenue, and then build your strategy off the back of that. Look for those opportunities, those touchpoints that you can have biggest impact on over the next month. 

Focus your energy there, and then that will start to build the business case internally, build more credibility, which will then obviously, in turn, unlock more investment. But get those really clear reporting measurements in place first. Get that aligned and agreed internally, before you do anything. And then build, you know, build your panel from that. 

Declan (strategicabm) – Well, it's an interesting point. It kind of reminds me of, I spent a summer locked in a room once building a new Salesforce implementation for our company. And the Salesforce consultants, they spent probably two or three weeks digging into us – what reports did we want? 

They weren't asking what data did you want to collect, they weren't asking us what functionality. They just spent so much time looking at the reporting, because they were basically using the reporting as the way to build the actual system. 

Alex (strategicabm) – Yeah. 

Declan (strategicabm) – For the company I was working for at the time. So, I think it's really interesting the point you're making there about starting backwards with the reporting: What do you want to report on? Because ultimately, you've got a lot of people to talk to in the business, you've got a lot of people to keep on your side, not just within Marketing, but also your Sales colleagues, and obviously then the C-suite or the whoever is around. 

Alex (strategicabm) – Yeah, it's important because also, you know, what you report on will change and evolve over time – because if you've got a 12- or 18-month sales cycle length, you know, you've gotta be realistic with these objectives. You're not gonna get to revenue in the first two, three, four months, unless you start working on opportunities that are already sort of, you know, heavily down the sales cycle. 

So, you need those measures and checks and balances in place to see how you're improving. You know, benchmark your account penetration status, you know, from the offset. And, you know. Where are the gaps in your relationships? How are you improving those relationships? How are you gonna measure the quality of those relationships? How is your reputation and trust-building within those accounts? 

And get those metrics, agree those metrics before you start. And then make sure everything feeds into those, but you've gotta get the alignment with the guys that are investing in it first. 

Declan (strategicabm) – Yeah. And that's obviously talking around the more kind of immature companies. 

Alex (strategicabm) – Yeah. 

Declan (strategicabm) – That are coming to ABM. And I suppose, you know, obviously as ABM has, you know, come to the forefront in the last few years – obviously become more and more popular as a go-to-market strategy in a way of answering some of these kind of key growth questions. 

Alex (strategicabm) – Yeah. 

Declan (strategicabm) – What about the kind of companies that we work with that are much more mature? That have been doing ABM, you know, for longer, that have been doing different ABM programs: One-to-many, One-to-few, One-to-one. What do you see there in terms of, what are some of their challenges?

Alex (strategicabm) – Well, some of the more mature companies typically started, you know, 10, 15 years ago and they would've started with One-to-one. Largely because the technology didn't exist to attempt to scale to One-to-many. You know, One-to-many didn't really exist as a concept, you know, years ago. It's only technology that's allowed One-to-many programs really to become a thing. And obviously you've got all these technology vendors that are facilitating that. 

But, if you start off with One-to-one ABM, a typical remit for a One-to-one, it's very – unless it's an RFP – it's very rarely new client acquisition as an objective. It's more about growth and retention. So just by definition, if you've got a growth and retention objective, then, you know, your measurement for success there is gonna be relationships, quality of those relationships, new cost centers that you're starting to engage. So, your metrics change or they're more around, you know, the Reputation / Relationships bit, which will obviously then lead to Revenue further down the line. 

So I think those more mature companies have a different lens. They've already got revenue coming in from those clients. It's about how they can grow their footprint, how they can be strategically relevant, change perceptions. 

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There's a lot of clients that we're working with, that have that objective, you know? There's been an internal change in Decision-making Units, and those relationships have gone. Or maybe they're seen as a product vendor, and they want to be seen as a solutions consultancy. So, the objectives tend to change and align with Reputation and Relationships. 

Declan (strategicabm) – Yeah, it's interesting as well, because we were talking about some data, weren't we, the other day, that I think it was from B2B Marketing from last year. They did a survey, and I think that they studied about 100 companies that were doing ABM. And I think the numbers were more or less 55% were using ABM for new logo acquisition; and 35%, 40% were using it for existing client growth. 

So there's obviously a slight weighting more towards new logo acquisition, but as you said, the origins of ABM are in existing customer growth, and existing customer retention. 

Alex (strategicabm) – Yeah, they are. 

Declan (strategicabm) – Yeah. You mentioned there about the Three Rs, actually. Can we pick up on that for a second? 

Alex (strategicabm) – Yeah. 

Declan (strategicabm) – So not everyone's obviously familiar with the Three Rs methodology of Reputation, Relationships and Revenue. 

Alex (strategicabm) – Yeah. 

Declan (strategicabm) – And the relationship that each one has with the other Rs. 

Alex (strategicabm) – Yeah.

Declan (strategicabm) –  Talk a little bit about that. 

Alex (strategicabm) – Well, I mean, we talk a lot internally in the Agency and obviously publicly as well about the relationship between, you know, generating, building trust and then how that correlates to stimulating demand within an account. So I think you could look at Reputation and Relationships almost as the umbrella that sits across that. 

You go back to the old adage that people don't buy from people they don't trust. And consequently, in order to start stimulating those commercial conversations, you need to build some trust within the accounts, and obviously the key stakeholders within those accounts. And that just takes time, especially when you're talking about five-, six-, seven-figure deals. 

So, the first two Rs are Reputation and Relationships. They sort of sit across – they're almost a measure of trust, the increasing levels of trust you have within an account or a cluster of accounts, or within a market. And there are, you know, quantitative digital data points that feed into those first two Rs. And they're also qualitative sort of softer feedback that feed into that. 

So, yeah, it's an incredibly robust reporting model. But it does require explanation upfront, you know? It does require illustration to the C-suite and to other key decision-makers within the business because they need to understand it. And the best way to articulate it to the C-suite is to actually use real-life examples, you know. 

Take the last three clients you've won, that you want more of, analyze the buying journeys – not just what you're seeing in the CRM, but all of this self-attributed feedback that you get on the buyer journeys nowadays. And then, you know, overlay that onto the Three Rs model, and almost paint that picture and show the decision-makers in the business who are investing in the program how that journey played out. 

And then you can say, right, well, this is the model we need to repeat. And this is how to monitor success, and this is how we need to hold our commercial stakeholders to account. 

Declan (strategicabm) – Yeah. I think as you mentioned, if people wanna learn a bit more about the Three Rs, they can look on the website. We've written a lot of posts about that. 

Alex (strategicabm) – Yeah. 

Declan (strategicabm) – And we've produced a lot of guides about that, about the Three Rs and the importance and obviously we talk about how we measure each one of the Three Rs. And I think a lot of companies are, that we work with clearly, are embracing that methodology. 

Alex (strategicabm) – Yeah. 

Declan (strategicabm) – And I like to call the first two Rs that you were talking about there kind of the early indicators of the revenue that's gonna follow. Because as you said, unless you've got that reputation, and you haven't got those relationships built, you're not gonna see the revenue coming down the pipe. 

So I was just making some notes and just thinking about some of the conversations I've been having with people around ABM, and obviously everything that we read on LinkedIn and elsewhere about ABM. 

And it's funny that a lot of people are talking about, you know, "Well, what is ABM?" And I know when I have a conversation with people about what ABM is, some people say, "Well, it's, you know, LinkedIn targeted advertising. It's display advertising, it's programmatic." 

What not many people talk about is actually where we see the greatest success from an ABM program, which is the value proposition work that we do, the insights that we do, and obviously then the Account Experience that we create. 

So, some people get a little bit confused about this whole idea about a value proposition, and they kind of turn off because they think, "Oh, we've got one already for the company." But what is an ABM value proposition? 

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Alex (strategicabm) – Well, you know, let's go back to what we believe that the purest definition of ABM is, and then take it from there. So, you know, at its purest sense, Account-based Marketing is treating a single account as its own market, a market of one. 

And then by definition, if you say, all right, well, what does that proposition into that account, that single account that you're obsessed with growing and retaining, what does that mean in terms of a message? Well, clearly you need to take your product proposition, your brand proposition, your product proposition, and then overlay context for that account. So in order to make your product/market brand proposition relevant to that account, you need to understand that account in great depth. 

So how do you do that? Well, clearly you need to go deep on the insights. You need to understand everything about that account, where they are today, what their thoughts, pains, fears are in the future, what's driving their decision-making at a company level. And obviously you need to understand who the buyers are in great depth, and what's important to those guys personally. And then you end up with an ABM proposition. 

So there's a big difference between a brand proposition, and an ABM proposition because, you know, as an Agency we don't touch a client's brand proposition. The client's brand proposition is, you know, tried and tested, they've grown off the back of that. Our job is to make that proposition, understand the context of the clients and the stakeholders, and make that brand proposition relevant to a very specific set of people within a specific account. 

And obviously that all comes off the back of, you know, desktop research, deep insights, market analysis, stakeholder research, understanding where those relationships are in the business today, and understanding where the opportunities are to engage those stakeholders with, you know, high-impact creative and cut through the noise, really. 

Declan (strategicabm) – Yeah, and I think it's fair, it's interesting what you just said, the exact kind of, the proposition or the value proposition is nothing to do with the wider brand. Not at all. It's actually what's the value that you as a company, or your solution can offer into a set of accounts? 

Alex (strategicabm) – Yeah, exactly.

Declan (strategicabm) – And that's, you know, that could be 100 accounts, as opposed to the 1,000 accounts that you service, but those 100 accounts, how can you talk to them in a way which is gonna resonate with them? And then that all gets translated, as you mentioned, the insights and the value proposition, that then gets translated into what we like to call an Account Experience. 

Alex (strategicabm) – Yeah. 

Declan (strategicabm) – Does that, how would... Make that tangible. What does that mean, an Account Experience? 

Alex (strategicabm) – Well, it's about creating an experience that you'd want to experience yourself as a buyer. And, you know, there are fundamental principles around it based on the starting point of that account. So it goes back to account benchmarking. Where are we, in that sort of Three Rs journey? And, therefore, what does that Account Experience need to look like in the short, medium and longer term? Because it will change over time. 

So, you know, if you've got an account where you've got little or no penetration, or the decision-makers you've had 10 years' worth of relationships with have all changed and moved on, then clearly, your yardstick for success will be different in that scenario versus, you know, a stable relationship where you're looking to grow and expand. 

So, you know, your Account Experience needs to generate awareness, rebuild trust with new decision-makers and, depending on what that experience looks like, will determine on, you know, will come off the back of the insights that you do on that account at a stakeholder level and at account level.

But, yeah, it'll be a combination of digital. It'll be a combination of, you know, human interaction touchpoints. It'll be a combination of, you know, peer-to-peer, depending on who you're targeting. If you're targeting the Chief Technology Officer or the Chief Security Officer in a global brand, you know, who is the subject matter expert within your business that has the credibility to communicate with that person? It's not always on the commercial team to develop those relationships. 

So, the Account Experience will be designed and developed based on the starting point of that account, and what your short-/medium-term objectives are, really. 

Declan (strategicabm) – Yeah. And let's talk, obviously we're in February 2023. And obviously there's been lots of talk. 

Alex (strategicabm) – Yeah.

Declan (strategicabm) – There's been lots of talk about recession. We're seeing, you know, layoffs in different technology companies. The numbers are a little bit contradictory really because some numbers are showing that maybe we're not gonna enter it. Who knows? 

Alex (strategicabm) – Yeah. 

Declan (strategicabm) – We haven't got a magic ball. But talk to me about: Why is it that, you know, companies would look at ABM in a moment like now? Why, when obviously budgets are under, you know, revision and everyone's looking at everything: Why is ABM the right play? 

Alex (strategicabm) – It's an interesting question. I think a lot of the layoffs in the technology industry are a little bit misleading. I think there is a correction that's going on at the moment. I think technology companies have over-resourced in their sort of, there is a labor shortage. There's a quality labor shortage in the market. And I think, you know, technology companies have over-resourced, and there is a natural correction to that. 

So, you know, we'll see how that plays out over the next 12 to 18 months. But clearly the technology companies are trying to do more with less, they're trying to become more efficient. Trying to focus their resources more. 

And actually, ABM aligns with that objective really well because, you know, the whole premise of ABM is to focus your energies on your most important commercially viable accounts and target accounts. So, by definition, you are investing your resources in your most important accounts that have the highest potential to drive ROI and growth for your own business. 

So, there is a natural alignment with what's happening in the market and the objectives that technology brands are clearly trying to achieve at the moment by gaining more efficiency. And, yeah, I think, we'll see what happens. 

But I think, yes, it's incredibly sad to see so many people lose their jobs. But I think it is a correction rather than a sort of a downturn in the technology space, because clearly technology isn't going anywhere. 

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Declan (strategicabm) – Yeah, well, yeah. And I think it's fair to say that there's lots of marketing that, you know, the question marks about why you're doing it and how well it's impacting the business. And I think the advantage of ABM clearly, is if you're saying: "Hey, there's these 100 accounts that are really, really important to us." 

Alex (strategicabm) – Yeah. 

Declan (strategicabm) – "50% are existing customers, 50% are major prospects that we've been circling around for some time now." 

Alex (strategicabm) – Yeah. 

Declan (strategicabm) – "With our competitors or" I think having that kind of laser-focus, as you said on those accounts and putting your marketing dollars on those is a wise thing to do in the current circumstances. 

Alex (strategicabm) – It is, for certain size of companies. And, you know, I mean, there's a lot of start-ups in tech obviously, you know, who haven't properly established product-market fit, you know? They haven't got a tried-and-tested product proposition. They don't know how relevant they are to the market they're targeting. And ABM is not the right strategy for that scenario. 

But if you've got more established technology brands that, you know, have won SME, done really well in mid-market and now are really starting to try and win those bigger, high-ticket deals or build some of their mid-market clients into Enterprise accounts, then ABM is absolutely the right strategy for that, and you can focus your resources more efficiently. 

Declan (strategicabm) – Yeah. Just two questions to finish off with, Alex. The first one I wanna ask you about is about something which a lot of people actually don't know what it is, but a little bit about DBM and ABM – Deal-based Marketing and Account-based Marketing. Just because I was speaking to you, just thinking about some of the conversations I've been having with ABMers. 

Alex (strategicabm) – Right. 

Declan (strategicabm) – And some people say, "Well, what is this Deal-based Marketing?" How would you see the difference between Deal-based Marketing and Account-based Marketing? 

Alex (strategicabm) – Yeah, thanks for the heads-up on that question, because, you know, it's a contentious question, isn't it? And clearly it's a very, very fine line between the two, but, you know, you get DBM teams, established DBM teams within businesses, whose job it is to support RFPs, win pitches. And quite often there's a handoff between the two functions. You know, I think, you know, an ABMer's job is to stimulate that demand, drive those commercial conversations. And then, you know, if the opportunity has come through that ABM motion and it's handed over to the Deal-based Marketing team or the teams that exist to win and facilitate those larger, longer, more complex deals, then, you know, there is a relationship between those two teams. 

And the honest answer is the lines are blurred within a lot of companies. One person's DBM is another man's ABM. So, it's difficult to give a precise question, say this is exactly what it is because it does mean different things to different people. 

But ABM absolutely has a role, and there's plenty of examples where ABM has a role in supporting those DBM-type scenarios; you know, making sure that they've got the right content, timely, ongoing insights, stakeholder research. Then to make sure that the response to the RFPs and pitches are, you know, highly tailored and land with impact. 

Declan (strategicabm) – Yeah, I think there's a couple things I would add to that. One, I think is DBM is finite. 

Alex (strategicabm) – Yeah. 

Declan (strategicabm) – If you think ABM, you could argue that if you're working with a strategic account and you're, let's say you're Microsoft and you've got a, you know, got multi-billion dollar or multi-million dollar account that you work with, you want to work them for 10 years, 15 years, 20 years. And your ABM could in theory be used forever. 

Alex (strategicabm) – Yes. 

Declan (strategicabm) – Whereas DBM – Deal-based Marketing – has a limited time because you got a deal, it's binary. 

Alex (strategicabm) – Yeah. 

Declan (strategicabm) – It's one or zero. You win it or you don't win it. 

Alex (strategicabm) – Yeah. 

Declan (strategicabm) – So I think that's number one. And I was talking to one of the Let's talk ABM podcast guests a couple years ago, I think now. I like the way that they said, when they have Sales leaders who come to them and say, "Hey, can you do ABM to this account?" The question they said to them was, "Do you know anybody in this account?" And if their answer was no, they said, "Well, that's Deal-based Marketing." 

Alex (strategicabm) – Yeah. 

Declan (strategicabm) – And we do Account-based Marketing with accounts that we know, that we know enough about, that we've got insights, that we've got relationships; otherwise it's DBM. 

So I think there's a couple of things there to add for the audience is one, is the time, is it closing in a month or three months or six months? And the second one is the level of relationships you have.

Very last question, Alex, for you. And I'll try not to throw any more, you know. Left-fielders in there or whatever. 

Alex (strategicabm) – Sounds good. 

Declan (strategicabm) – Well, actually it's a bit of a controversial question, actually, to finish off on which is always fun, but, you know, obviously, we're an ABM Agency, and as I said, you know, you founded the Agency 25 years ago, I think it was now. 

Alex (strategicabm) – Yeah. 

Declan (strategicabm) – And obviously its grown into the Agency it is today. But not every company uses agencies. Not every technology brand or company wants to use an Agency, and they do in-house or whatever. I'm not asking you to justify our existence, but what's that question that goes on in their minds between in-house and Agency? All, some, little, none? What's going on in their minds? 

Alex (strategicabm) – Well, I mean, I think you could look at any Professional Service business, businesses that are selling, you know, time in essence – "Oh, we don't sell time, we sell value" – but, you know, people-based businesses, you know, your biggest cost is obviously the people, the investment you make in your staff. So, from a client-side perspective, agencies exist for either knowledge or resource, or both. 

So it's, you know, our job to make sure that we stay ahead of the market, we know what good looks like, because we're very clear about who we can help and who we can add value to. And it's an Agency's job to make, you know, to design their services to jigsaw into a client's set of needs. 

And when I say jigsaw, it's about understanding the client-specific scenarios. So what do they have a knowledge issue about? And is there a fit between our knowledge and their knowledge gaps? Okay, great. We can add value there. And internally, you know, what resource do they already have in place that they clearly should take advantage of and maximize their investment in? And maybe there's a couple of specific skills around that resource that they don't have. Once again, we jigsaw in with that. 

So, you know, the best agencies don't sell. They understand where they can add value most, and they overlay their sort of statement of work against that value add. So, yeah. Knowledge and resource and how we integrate with those two functions, really. 

Declan (strategicabm) – Yeah, the only thing I would add to that probably is from the kind of conversations that I have with customers and with the market is there's a whole thing around fast-forward or accelerate. And I think, you know, as you go back to your point around knowledge, not everyone, not every company has people with knowledge of ABM within their company, right? 

And, therefore, you know, we've been doing this for many, many years now. 

Alex (strategicabm) – Yeah. 

Declan (strategicabm) – So we've got that acquired knowledge from, as you said, classic consultancy. 

Alex (strategicabm) – Yeah. 

Declan (strategicabm) – That we can actually lend that knowledge to the organization. And very often what I love about the work that we do is we're helping to train marketers to become ABMers. 

Alex (strategicabm) – Yeah. 

Declan (strategicabm) – And some of our greatest success stories with our customers I suppose, is when we see them becoming dedicated ABMers within our customers. And then the relationship then changes. I think that's number one. 

And I think the second one just to add is the fact that, it's almost like, and, you know, as I mentioned at the very beginning, you know, I was a customer of the agency with two different companies for 15, 16, 17 years. And it was, for me, it was a partnership. And so I always saw the six, seven people that were working on my account as just being an extension of my Marketing team. 

Alex (strategicabm) – Yeah. 

Declan (strategicabm) – And I think that's, you know, I didn't see much difference between my full-time employees in my Marketing team and the people in the Agency that were working for me. The relationship was there. I almost got on better with the people at the Agency than I did I think with my own employees! 

But I think that kind of partnership is really massively important, because you need to be able to lean on… 

Alex (strategicabm) – Yes.

Declan (strategicabm) – Additional resource as and when you need it. And I think that for me is a couple of things that I always take away from this kind of Agency in-house debate really. 

ABM Lunch and Learn
Alex (strategicabm) – Yeah. And, look, and it's different for every company. And look, and it all comes back to that trust, doesn't it? I mean, and trust gets built over time. And some clients, you know, just have a short-term need, short-term knowledge resource, and there's that natural transfer of knowledge, and then they're off to the races and they can run it themselves, which is amazing. 

Declan (strategicabm) – Yeah. 

Alex (strategicabm) – And then there are other businesses that are growing in a different direction and they need a more ongoing set of resource and support. Yeah, and that's where those longer-term commitments come in. 

It was 20 years, by the way. It wasn't 15, 16 years we worked together. 

Declan (strategicabm) – Was it? Oh, God! Okay. But you've got better memory than me. I'm gonna throw one last 30-second question at you, your very last question. Okay? What are you working on at the moment? What's keeping you awake at night? What are you doing that's gonna make an impact? 

Alex (strategicabm) – Well, it is around technology actually. I mean, it is about, obviously we're jointly working on that technology message to try and clearly articulate; what's the minimum tech clients really should be thinking about when they're embarking on ABM? And it does tie back to how we believe clients should be measuring. And helping clients educate their internal stakeholders on that measurement. Because there is a correlation. 

So, yeah. That is front and center at the moment. It's getting that technology message right, so clients don't overinvest too early. 

Declan (strategicabm) – Yeah. 

Alex (strategicabm) – And align it with their level of maturity. And, by the way, maturity doesn't mean you're a, you know, a 50-man startup. Maturity, you also get very ABM immature clients that are, you know, multi-billion dollar businesses. 

Declan (strategicabm) – Yeah. 

Alex (strategicabm) – So maturity isn't a company-size thing. It's just, you know, how long you've been sort of trying to win those high-value deals. So yeah, that's what's front and center at the moment. And then I'm sure that agenda will change pretty shortly. 

Declan (strategicabm) – Good stuff. Well, listen, Alex, thanks so much for sharing some of your insight today. And it's been great talking to you and all the best for everything you're working on. 

Alex (strategicabm) – Yeah. Cheers, Dec. See you later. 

Declan (strategicabm) – Thanks.