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Susan is an independent digital communications and user experience strategist. She helps companies discover their brand voice and grow their business.
Shubharthi is currently part of the strategic marketing team at Regalix. His expertise mainly lies in the account-based marketing and programmatic advertising space.
Priscilla is a content writer who has worked for Infosys Technologies and other technology startups in India and abroad.
Moulishree is a freelance journalist with over 7 years of experience, she writes research-based analytical stories on technology and business.
Avanish is a Bangalore-based journalist who writes on business with a specific focus on technology companies.
Priyanka has covered every aspect of the IT industry as a tech journalist since its early days. She is now an independent writer, working on subjects like digital marketing, enterprise technology and high-performance computing, among others.
A freelance content writer, S. Sahu was the former editor of TCS's house magazine at Tata Consultancy Services. He developed tech marketing collateral for the company and helped compile and edit books and journal articles on TCS's technology innovations. He also ghostwrites print and online publications.
Prajwala is a Bangalore-based freelance journalist who writes on social issues, stories of human interest, and art and culture, among others.
Rajesh Nanarpuzha is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at IIM Udaipur. Previously, he has worked as a brand manager in Dabur, and as a business consultant in the retail and consumer goods domains at Cognizant and Tata Consultancy Services. Rajesh has an MBA from IIM Indore and a doctorate in marketing from IIM Ahmedabad.
Priyokumar Singh Naorem
He is a passionate UI & UX designer who thrives on creating engaging creative solutions.
A freelance illustrator, artist, graphic novelist and designer. She has designed and illustrated several book covers. Her personal illustrations so far have attempted to seize the fleeting absurdity and mood of places, things and people she encounters in a childlike, intuitive and expressive manner with closure, beauty and innocence – the things that she desires.
She is an artist and an educator who has taught and lectured at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Oxford University, the Victoria and Albert Museum among other institutions. Her installations, paintings, thread work and sculptures have been exhibited in Saatchi Gallery - London, C24 Gallery - New York, and Museum of Contemporary Art – Lyon, among other notable galleries and museums from around the world.
Purna Chandra Mahato
A commerce graduate from Delhi University, Parul pursued a masters in fine arts from Nottingham Trent University in the UK. As an artist, she is interested in line as a subject which has led her to follow architectural lines in built environments. She says she is also interested in how we perceive the environment that we inhabit and what happens when a subtle shift is made in things which we have been used to seeing in a certain way. We present six of her artworks here.
Shweta Malhotra is a graphic artist and designer from Mumbai, based in New Delhi.
After working with ad agencies and design studios for close to 8 years, she branched out on her own and currently works independently.s Her overall design aesthetic is minimal, bold and graphic, a response to the maximalist visual language prevalent in India.
Rithika Merchant (b.1986) received her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from Parsons the New School for Design, New York in 2008. She has exhibited extensively since her graduation. Recent exhibitions include a duo show “Reliquaries: The Remembered Self” at TARQ, Mumbai; “Language of the Birds: Occult and Art” at 80WSE Gallery, New York; and group shows at Summerhall, Edinburgh and Artry Gallery, Kochi. Her work has been included in multiple group shows at Stephen Romano Gallery and The Morbid Anatomy Museum, New York. Born in Mumbai, she now divides her time between Mumbai and Barcelona.
Aniruddh Mehta is an artist based out of Mumbai, India. Trained in graphic design from the London College of Communications, Aniruddh is a self-taught illustrator and currently works as an independent freelance designer. He believes in finding the right balance between art and graphic design. He has worked closely in collaboration with Bhavishyavani Future Soundz, Qilla Records, Taxi Fabric, Adidas, Dell and United Colours of Benetton. He also goes by the moniker, ‘thebigfatminimalist’ and his style ranges from bold minimal forms to more intricate pieces exploring patterns and geometry.
Paramesh is an artist who enjoys working in both the realistic and abstract style of painting. He loves working with water color. Featured in this issue are a set of water color works that he has created exclusively for us on the subject of digital transformation.
Based in Mumbai, Chandrashekhar Thakur is a Senior Art Director and Illustrator at Truebil.com and the Founder of HAPPiNESS For You. He loves working with new styles of art and considers illustration to be his forte. Chandrashekhar has completed his BFA from DY Patil College of Applied Art.
Concept and Direction
Head of marketing at Regalix, Nimish drives research in emerging technologies and customer experience, and takes a keen interest in creative arts.
Anil Mishra, AVP Strategic Alliances & Marketing at CSS Corp, a new-age mid-sized IT Services and Tech Support company that works with digital technologies, identifies and develops key strategic partners to help their clients successfully transform their digital business. He is also leading the Account-Based Marketing (ABM) and Demand Generation function within the company. Their core strategy, he tells us, is to harness the power of automation, analytics and digital technologies to help their clients address specific customer engagement needs, which is visible from the recognition they have received from Gartner, Forrester and NelsonHall. He has been in the B2B Marketing, and Strategic Alliances function for over 14 years of his career and has worked with mid-size-to-large corporations like Wipro, IBM, Sterlite, and Cigniti.
Interviewed by Prajwala Hegde
/ / How do you select your ABM accounts?
Account selection is the most important step for the success of an ABM program. The objective should be to identify a list of best-fit accounts across all your service offerings. At CSS Corp, we have four broad service offerings, namely: Technology Support, Digital Services, Cloud & Infrastructure Services and Telecom Services. Factors that we consider in account selection include industry vertical, organization size and geography. From here, we start creating a list of best-fit accounts across different service offerings, and segregate them as following:
Priority 1 – Accounts that can have a major impact on company revenues. These accounts will receive the maximum focus, with a high degree of personalization and high-value campaigns. These are typically sales-led with continuous support from the marketing team.
Priority 2 – Accounts that are a good fit and have the potential to move to priority 1. These accounts are led by marketing teams with some degree of personalization and mid-to-low value campaigns.
/ / How has the ABM function evolved in your company over the past few years?
In today’s business world, buying decisions are not taken by a single decision-maker. According to a CEB study, there are an average of 6.8 decision-makers to sign-off a typical B2B purchase; so it becomes of utmost importance to engage with each of one those buyers if you want to have the edge over other service providers.
Currently, at CSS Corp, we are still in the experimental stage of adopting an Account-Based Marketing mindset & strategy, which will accelerate our growth going forward through collaboration between our sales and marketing teams. We are bringing in new practices in close alignment with sales, and plan to take a personalized approach to nurture and deepen our engagement with each of our ABM accounts.
/ / Do you map the customer journey of all your ABM accounts? Have you created individual personas of people within each of your ABM accounts?
We have created buyer personas for each of our service offerings, and the customer journey as well. This would help us to create personalized content for each of the buyer personas. For instance, we have launched a very focused campaign with a personalized story and a direct mailer targeting the Tech Support Buyer persona to open new accounts. With another buyer audience, we are sharing a leading industry research report.
/ / Do you have a separate ABM team? Do they operate under the sales or marketing function?
The ABM teams comprise people from different functions including sales, solutions, delivery and marketing, who work together single-mindedly to offer value to an account. Additionally, there are two broader goals for ABM within CSS. One is to nurture and grow existing clients, which is led by the sales team, and the other is to open new high potential accounts, which is led by the marketing team. In both cases, content strategy plays a significant role, and that team is under marketing. The content team helps to create highly-targeted and personalized content that offer differentiated solutions to targeted accounts. There are different types of content assets that we create for our accounts including video, infographic, whitepaper, eBook, case study and more.
/ / What are the channels of communication you use in ABM? How much weightage is given to mobile and social media?
We are using a mix of channels to implement our ABM program. These include the website, social media (LinkedIn, Twitter), landing pages, targeted industry events, client workshops and roadshows, webinars, golfing events, charity events and client visits, to name a few. The weightage of each channel will depend on the priority of the account.
/ / Do you provide account-specific website experience?
We haven’t reached this stage as yet. However, it is a goal that we want to achieve in the long run. We have implemented account specific microsites for few of our high potential target accounts, and we have received very good feedback on it from our sales teams as well as our clients.
/ / What are the challenges you have faced in implementing ABM?
One of the challenges we have faced is in achieving a closer alignment between the different teams. Another challenge that is quite visible is the ongoing tussle between sales and marketing in agreeing on the impact of ABM, as sales is focused on immediate results while ABM promises results in the long term.
/ / How has your company benefited from ABM?
With our ABM efforts, we have seen some good results in the form of new accounts and an increase in the value of existing accounts. It has also helped us bring about a closer alignment between sales and marketing.
/ / Do you think companies are investing enough in ABM?
ABM is gaining mainstream prominence in today’s business environment as it offers great value to clients. Companies have begun to think seriously about implementing ABM, and many are running pilot projects. As per recent research, 75% of marketers have had their ABM strategy in place for less than a year, and 74% of marketers have said they are meeting or exceeding organizational expectations with their ABM efforts. Over the next couple of years, I believe ABM will be implemented widely across organizations.
/ / Have you implemented AI in your ABM practice?
So far, we have not implemented AI in our ABM strategy. We are aware of the impact that AI can have on personalized targeting and in identifying best-fit accounts.
/ / Have you invested in advanced analytics?
This is one area where we are considering making an investment, as advanced analytics becomes critical to showcase ROI and the impact of the ABM program.
/ / What are the trends/technologies that you think will drive ABM in the future? How should businesses gear up for this?
The four key trends that I see emerging are:
Insights – There are a lot of account insights sitting inside CRM and the marketing automation system, which, when combined with 3rd party account insights, can give us a good picture of what the needs, challenges and opportunities are within target accounts.
Personalization – When we combine our account insights with a very targeted and personalized campaign, it is bound to show improved results. Content plays a very important role here.
Buyer Personas - ABM is all about buyers within target accounts. ABM can help us focus on buyer personas so we can engage with them in a more relevant way.
Influence - Influence is the real aim of any ABM Program. Successful programs will understand the need of target accounts and help drive buyer persona responses.
Technology will play a big role in each of these trends. Going forward, ABM will help marketers drive bigger deals, higher close rates and more revenue.
ABM is a marathon, not a sprint
Anamika Gupta, Director and Head of Account Based Marketing at Fujitsu America, Inc.
Investing in ABM should be a no-brainer for B2B enterprises
Virender Jeet, SVP, Sales & Marketing/Products, Newgen Software Technologies Limited
Making sales and marketing understand the long-term benefits of ABM is a big challenge
Kesava Reddy, Vice President, Sales at E2E Networks
The right type of events can play an integral role in your ABM plans
Nerissa Traola, Director, Demand Generation, CA Technologies
ABM has created new ways of engagement with clients
Tania Salarvand, Global Head, Marketing, ThoughtWorks
Companies that have invested time into developing their account strategy are likely to benefit from ABM
Chandra Sekar, Vice President, Marketing, Avi Networks
ABM is a journey of understanding a prospect's business pains and challenges and addressing them
K. P. Unnikrishnan, Senior Director & Head, Marketing, APAC, Palo Alto Networks
One-size-fits-all content is not good enough for ABM
Paul McMeekin, Director, Marketing, ACI Worldwide