A Day in The Life of Account-Based Marketing: Day 6 — Yes, Coke is like France

This week’s assignment for our Account Development Reps: Fill out the template. The template is a list of about 15 questions that they will be completing for each target account. It will guide their research, but more importantly, will form the basis to create a marketing plan for each account.

Taken from Coca-Cola’s press center

Why the template? Because companies doing ABM projects actually need to think about a target account, say Coca-Cola, in the same way they would think of developing a marketing plan for a new country, say France. Coca-cola, with its 100,000+ employees and maybe 10,000+ IT personnel, and its web of subsidiaries (Honest Tea, Odwalla, Fuze), needs its own go-to-market. It needs careful consideration of the account’s behavior, buying preferences, calendar considerations (hot summer production uptick, perhaps?). Where do the Coca-cola IT professionals go for IT training, what do they read? All of these considerations make targeting Coke similar to building a go-to market plan for a new target country.

  • Example: We can see from the company’s history that Coca-cola is focused on growth via acquisition. This has real implications for a company’s IT department — storage and hypervisor incompatibility, redundant processes and systems, data protection issues. Focusing on this in our template can help us identify marketing strategies to solve issues that arise as IT departments find themselves with new data centers and infrastructure. This plan would be entirely different for a company with a different growth strategy.

So I found a business plan template online and adapted it for our ABM use — the full list of questions I started with are next to the image:

  • Profile: Define the company’s current mission statement

This may seem silly to include — it’s so ‘high level’. But I included it because I want us to think about being a consultant to these companies on how IT simplification, automation and the orchestration of complex manual processes like cloud migration and replication can actually help achieve corporate goals, not just IT department goals.

  • Profile: How does the company’s IT department help achieve the mission? What are their priorities?
  • Profile / News: Are there any new things identified that impact this company’s IT? (Mergers, Consolidations, Corporate moves, new hires in IT…) Infrastructure: How many data centers? VMs?

This one is critical: So much information is already available online. In this article, the CIO of JetBlue identifies his key IT projects like SAP implementation and enabling NFC in all JetBlue kiosks. It’s right there for us! That article could save months of research if JetBlue was a target account.

  • Infrastructure: Current products in use for hypervisor (Vmware ESXi, Hyper-V, AHV), for backup, for DR, for any cloud projects
  • Infrastructure: Describe any other specifics about the company’s infrastructure that are important
  • Procurement: How do IT products get purchased in this organization? Who makes those decisions?
  • Pain Point: Identify IT pain point 1
  • Key Initiatives: Identify key IT initiative 1
  • Key Initiatives: Identify key IT initiative 2
  • Opportunities: Identify any key processes, news, IT plans or other info that you can use to identify a way into the account
  • Threats: Identify primary competitors and potential pitfalls for this deal
  • Threats: Identify business needs that could compete with a purchase (this is not a competitive question, its a question about what other priorities compete with purchase of disaster recovery software (in our case))

This one is important to think about. Your targets are not necessarily using budgets allocated to your specific product area. When I am purchasing ABM tools, Terminus competes with Engagio for budget even though they do different things. Because I have one budget for ABM tools, all of the tools “compete”.

  • Partners: which partners does this company work with closely? Can you get specific rep names?
  • Add any additional key account information

As we build out the templates this week, I’ll share some of the more interesting things we learn about our target accounts. Want to use our template, or see some of the others we pulled things from? PM me on Linkedin.

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