Bridging Global ABM Initiatives Across The Divides Of Regional Teams & Buying Centers

August 23, 2022 | Blog, Resources

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According to Forrester analyst and ABM expert Malachi Threadgill, “a combination of neglect and rules and regulations have left many other regions [outside the U.S.] underserved.” 

Now more than ever, business at an enterprise scale is global, bringing new challenges and complexities for B2B marketers as well as new opportunities. Account-based marketing (ABM) can successfully drive global sales – but only if the right capabilities and processes are in place to support an orchestrated multinational effort.

Given the interconnectedness of today’s economy, operating across borders is now table stakes for enterprise businesses. Pre-pandemic, 65% of Fortune 500 companies had physical locations in countries outside the U.S – since then, further digitization combined with the ‘next great disruption’ have triggered even more dispersion of corporate teams worldwide, creating dozens of virtual locations alongside physical regional offices and subsidiaries.

Not only are workers and locations increasingly global, but leading enterprise companies are increasingly multinational in origin. As of 2021, just 24% of Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in the U.S, while China accounts for 27%.

In this global marketplace, ABM should be a natural fit for marketers to address the unique regional needs of B2B buyers with culturally appropriate strategies and compliant with local regulations. But too often, these efforts fall short.

Research from MRP and Demand Metric found that just 23% of enterprise B2B marketers report a significant positive impact on revenue derived from ABM initiatives. Most companies have yet to prioritize the synchronization and collaboration needed to drive global ABM success, the MRP/Demand Metric research found.

Technology stacks with inherent U.S. bias contribute to the challenge, making a shaky foundation on which to build international ABM programs. Malachi Threadgill, principal ABM analyst for Forrester Research, recently noted that “a combination of neglect and rules and regulations have left many other regions [outside the U.S.] underserved.”

To succeed, global B2B marketers need to empower regional teams to conduct campaigns that achieve their local goals while supporting a unified view of accounts across the enterprise. Here are three strategies to cut through complexity and boost local and global performance:

Customizable Data Privacy:

Regulations that protect consumer privacy affect B2B marketing data collection by third-party entities, including the intent signals many ABM practitioners rely on to identify and target active buyers. Those laws vary from country to country, with multiple overlapping statutes in some regions. In Europe, for example, some countries supplement the GDPR with further legislation. In the Asia Pacific region, an effort is underway to align regulations amidst a patchwork of existing laws, even as the usage is heavier of technologies perceived in the U.S. as invasive, such as facial recognition.

To build successful ABM programs at scale, marketers need tools that automatically silo data according to location-specific business rules while enabling information sharing across the enterprise to the extent allowed by law The MRP/Demand Metric survey found ABM leaders were nearly six times more likely to have visibility into engagement strategies across accounts’ regions and lines of business.

Truly Multilingual Capabilities:

Google delivers search results in 149 languages, yet most intent data captured by marketing platforms is parsed in North American English. Technologies must reflect global reality with robust multi-lingual support and full geographic context that marries data with technographic information to identify buying center locations and weaves in predictive analytics to prioritize accounts and identify next-best actions.

Local Autonomy, Global Visibility:

Teams located within regional markets can understand the nuances of not only the local language, but also the market culture in which they operate; they can also bring knowledge of target accounts’ specific regional needs and help identify new cross-sell and upsell opportunities. Enterprises that include on-the-ground experts on ABM teams are twice as likely to achieve significant revenue impact, according to the MRP/Demand Metric study.

To leverage this expertise, individual teams need the autonomy to localize campaigns, strategies, and objectives, while still coordinating insights and data at the account level across the enterprise. Technology that enables role- and location-specific data management capabilities can support this collaboration.

Enterprise application software provider SAP successfully honed its list of 4,700 target accounts for a new product by leveraging its organization-wide data in combination with highly targeted efforts. Targeted intent keywords specific to key regions were combined with existing first-party account data and inside sales calls using localized scripts. Synthesizing the data enabled SAP to pinpoint the most receptive accounts and engage, connect, and convert buyers with messaging tailored to their individual interests and regional needs – resulting in a 400 percent increase in buyer responses.

Marketers must adapt to new global capabilities as enterprise companies reach new audiences across borders. ABM practitioners with the technology to support region-specific practices and business rules while enabling enterprise-wide visibility and collaboration at scale will thrive in 2023 and beyond.

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