ABM Insights:

Building a global ABM program

How Finastra’s pragmatic approach and focus on quality has struck the perfect balance global and regional teams.

Building a centralised account-based marketing program while still empowering the field and regional teams is a difficult balance to strike. 

There is an obvious need for field teams to have a certain level of autonomy over account selection, campaign planning, comms strategies and content creation, for example, since they are closer to the accounts in their region, understand local market idiosyncrasies and possess an ability to navigate the nuances of local communication styles in a way a global team could never have the bandwidth to do. 

However, without an element of the control a global team can bring there is every chance that regional autonomy could also result in campaigns that promise very different results and solutions in different parts of the world, the dilution of brand equity, campaigns that deliver only on regional business objectives, and vastly differing customer experiences depending on what part of the world they are in operating in. 

But how to best strike that balance?

A strategic central hub

Marnie Giuranna Zaccaria, Global ABM Lead at Finastra and a recent guest on the Account-Based Marketing Podcast, outlined her recent experience in navigating this challenge when she set up the global ABM program at one of the world’s leading fintech organisations. 

“For me, you need to have a central team or hub,” she said. “This is the place where all the strategy and planning takes place. 

“However, whether the execution of that strategy sits with the global team depends very much on the type of accounts you are including in your program. If they are global in nature – and by that I mean they act across regions or even worldwide – then it makes sense to execute to them from the global team. 

“If you have regional accounts that have regional specificities, then it definitely works better to have part of the planning and all the execution to sit with the regional teams.”

Building an account-based mindset

This pragmatic approach of starting with your key accounts and then building your model around them allows the global team to still take the lead but also encourages an account-based mindset in the regional teams as well. 

“Regional and field marketing were traditionally a demand generation engine, orchestrating very broad campaigns targeted to a wide audience, but I think that this model has led to our teams adopting more of an account-based approach,” Giuranna Zaccaria explained. 

“For example, our regional teams will quite often use intent data and use that to narrow down the campaign focus to a particular set of accounts that have shown buying interest – that is how an account-based mindset begins. 

“We used that data to create a list of target accounts and we found that once we had that list and targeted campaigns at the accounts on it, we were getting much higher quality marketing-qualified leads and that these converted more quickly into better sales-qualified leads than we were generating before. That also contributed to our pipe velocity.

A game-changing new approach

“This was a real game changer for Finastra’s marketing approach because we said: ‘if this type of approach works then why don’t we concentrate on a smaller list of accounts, look more closely at their needs, and see if that brings more success?’ That is exactly what happened.” 

If this type of approach works then why don’t we concentrate on a smaller list of accounts, look more closely at their needs, and see if that brings more success?

This is an interesting approach in an era where ABM at scale and covering as many accounts as possible seems to be the direction of travel. But the focus on quality over quantity as a rationale has paid off. 

And Giuranna Zaccaria’s key learning from building Finastra’s global program in this way is to start small and then build outwards. 

“The main advice I can give is not to start too big, like we did, and then have to scale back,” she said. “Start with a small group of accounts and select them together with the account directors. That is very important because you will be educating them on the process and benefits this approach can bring as you go, so it’s crucial to get them on board and show them how valuable your global ABM program can be for them.” 

To learn more about ABM organisation design and empowering teams, click here.