Why Account Based Marketers Matter

Published 12/09/2023 / B2B SPOTLIGHT SERIES

Delivering moments that lift mindshare and drive qualified demand.

Google Cloud offers a suite of cloud computing products & services that help enterprises connect people wherever they are. It is a business that has boomed. A success is borne from the ‘Google magic’ and its unrelenting focus on nurturing customer relationships. We spoke with Alice Clarke, who leads Google Cloud’s strategic marketing efforts in EMEA to get her perspective on why ABM matters.   

Alice Clarke, Head of Strategic Accounts Marketing, EMEA, Google Cloud 

Alice is an international marketing and business leader with fifteen years’ experience developing go-to-market strategies that drive revenue growth for brands like Nokia, Microsoft and most recently Google Cloud. 

She delivers customer-focused and data-driven marketing leadership programmes, which build brands and deliver value to both new prospects and existing customers, to create multi-million-dollar sales pipeline. She is a results-oriented marketing leader, focused on developing new business opportunities and creating opportunities in new markets.  

What’s your current role at Google Cloud? And, how has your role evolved over the last 8 years?  

My primary responsibility is to enhance the existing relationships we have with our top EMEA customers. Our team is focused on searching for the most efficient way to fuel today’s revenue and build tomorrow’s future business growth. 

I’m equally passionate about elevating Google Cloud’s authority, presence, and experience in ABM. It’s one way that we have to express our dedication to customer centricity – a key value for us at Google. We have a team dedicated to account-based marketing. The team collaborates with a network of marketeers and discipline specialists – from brand marketing to field marketing and event marketing – with the goal of delivering a superior cross-channel customer experience, meeting our customers where they are. 

Why is Account Based Marketing an important strategy in Google Cloud? 

Our mission as the Strategic Industries ABM team is to partner with sales to retain and grow our most high value customers. We bring Google magic in a dedicated, account and industry-specific way through marketing programmes that engage, educate, and inspire. We do this by delivering highly targeted programmes to individual accounts to digitally transform their business, through compelling content and moments that lift mindshare and drive qualified demand. As a result, we aim to: 

  • Breakthrough stakeholder connections, leaning into Google’s unique DNA 
  • Drive Cloud positioning within the accounts on high-growth topics 
  • Boost customer and accelerate the partnership lifecycle 
  • And have fun 😉 

What makes an ABM’er successful? And, what skills do they need? 

ABM’ers can only be successful if they have a seat and voice at the table. They need to be empowered to work alongside sales to align on business goals. And can often act as a conduit between the customer and the sales team. They must be heavily involved with sales to create joint account plans. And join the dots between clients’ needs, and those of each stakeholder. They need to be experienced enough to act as the ‘chief marketing officer’ of the account. They need to own the planning and development and oversee the execution of the marketing programmes. 

A crucial skill for the ABM’er is empathy. They need to understand and interact with the customer in a way that deepens our partnership. This is about aligning marketing goals to the customer’s goals, so every engagement is a natural and inspirational fit with the rhythm of their business. That means, we need a licence to engage with them in the first place. It is not about marketing to them; it is about creating a connection. And, to do that – the ABM’er needs to be agile – testing, learning, and optimising. 

How do you make ABM successful?    

Resourcing the ABM team properly is a critical success factor – ABM needs to go deep into customisation (content, messaging, experience, targeting, and even channels – right down to customer-specific micro-sites). ABM enables you to deepen or unlock relationships and build loyalty with your most profitable customers and prospects in a way that sales alone or traditional marketing can’t. Of course, the creation of customer-specific programmes is resource intensive (both time & budget), particularly when dealing with global customers. Therefore, there needs to be a good balance, between budgets for at scale marketing, and budgets for ABM. Organisations need to ensure their marketing hits the right mix of customer types to keep the revenue pipeline healthy. 

You are having a session at the Global ABM Conference in November, happening in London. What will you be talking about? 

I’ll be having an interactive conversation with my colleague, Katie Biltoo, who is Head of Marketing for the Public Sector at Google Cloud. We will be talking about the global megatrends to micro-moments that impact purchasing decisions and inform our go-to-market strategy.  

We will be sharing how we are leveraging AI megatrends to achieve maximum impact in our ABM programmes, and talking about our journey to meet customers where they are. Crucially, we’ll be discussing how to go from a closed door to an open opportunity and doing more with less. 

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