ABM Insights:

Marketing in the Age of Anxiety: how to respond to the new enterprise mindset

In this discussion, marketing experts gathered to discuss the findings from Momentum’s latest Customer Buying Index®, which revealed the anxieties plaguing C-suite leaders following a year of reactive technology purchases and organisational pivots.

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Host Robert Hollier, Director of Consulting and Partner at Momentum, kicked off the discussion with a staggering statistic: “92% of enterprises said their most recent big tech investment was a direct response to the COVID 19 pandemic.” 

Clearly, businesses were forced to react quickly to external changes. But, what has this meant for marketers? 

“We had to flip on a dime,” Claire Darling, Chief Marketing Officer at Skybox Security, explained. “There was a heavy reliance in many marketing organisations on physical, in-person events. Now, all marketers should be looking at where to focus in terms of an account-based everything strategy. Which accounts are going to continue your revenue stream, which accounts are going to drive growth – especially if you’ve had budget cuts?” 

Tamsen Galloway, General Manager at Momentum US, added: “When we refer to account-based marketing (ABM) now, we’re embracing it more as a true methodology for companies to invest in the success of their customers. This is a fantastic time to focus on, ‘if my customers are making these types of changes and investments, how can I, as a marketing organisation and an organisation overall, really support that effort?’” 

Despite feeling more resilient on the whole, the CBI® found that large enterprises are significantly more concerned about security breaches than they were 12 months ago. The results suggest a rush to implement technology for a distributed workforce meant security risks fell by the wayside. 

“There’s definitely been corner-cutting. Departments may have brought in new technology without the IT security team’s involvement, which we know can really open up the company to breaches,” explained Darling. 

But, as well as highlighting the anxieties plaguing enterprises, the report unearthed new desires that marketers can leverage in their messaging and strategies. For example, 51% of buyers say that “open and honest” communication that “fosters deep trust”, has become more important in the last 12 months. “In a virtual world, enterprises are looking for their vendors to behave in much more human ways,” as Hollier put it. 

The accounts you’re going after don’t want a sales pitch every time [you talk to them]. They want you to know them and what they care about.

Claire Darling,CMO of Skybox Security

“Outreach has to be smarter and more intelligent,” says Darling. “The accounts you’re going after don’t want a sales pitch every time [you talk to them]. They want you to know them and what they care about.” Darling highlighted the importance of listening and using data to understand interests and goals. “You have to think about and have account intelligence around the buyer group, the champion, the decision-makers, influencers, and have a marketing strategy and outreach strategy that targets those.” 

Firms also have a greater appetite for innovation compared to 12 months ago. Marketers can capitalise on this desire, but: “Innovation for innovation’s sake is not fruitful,” warned Galloway. “It goes back to really understanding your customers and how they responded to the last 15 months of business disruption. But it’s a two-way conversation,” she continued. “Customers are curious about what you’ve done yourself; how have you adapted your business model to support customers. Being able to tie those two together creates a deeper conversation.”

The team moved on to one of the more revelatory findings from the research: over half of large enterprises said they are less willing to buy from a new vendor. What does this mean for dividing ABM budgets between existing customers and new logos, asked Hollier. 

“Should you be taking advantage of an account-based mindset with your most strategic customers? Absolutely,” says Galloway. “Strengthening relationships should be marketers’ first priority, but using the research to understand those customers is key to landing new logos when the time is right.” 

Darling agreed, then added: “You have to focus on new logos too because that’s where your growth is going to come from. You’ve got to start building relationships – that’s what they want. You’ve got to show that you’re an expert in your area, through differentiated points of views, thought leadership, content that’s not just about your product but that’s helping them learn and think differently.” 

As far as balancing your ABM budget goes, Darling makes a compelling argument: “If you’re going through an account-based everything approach, you’re being very efficient with, say, your media buys, because you’re only targeting the accounts and the people in the accounts that you really care about.”

Download the full Momentum Customer Buying Index® report here to discover more essential tips for a successful sales and marketing engagement in the Age of Anxiety. 

Listen to the full webinar facilitated by Robert Hollier, Director of Consulting at Momentum, and Tamsen Galloway, General Manager at Momentum US, with special guest Claire Darling, CMO of Skybox Security.