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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.
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.
Over the last few years, Account-Based Marketing or ABM has become the central piece of Microsoft’s marketing strategy for its enterprise services. The Redmond-based tech giant has an entire gamut of products for digital transformation--customer relationship management (CRM) tools, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) solutions, cloud platform Azure, and LinkedIn--all of which it leverages to drive ABM. This creates deeper engagement with select clients, boosting its revenues from them. In an interview with Digital CMO, Samik Roy, Country Head (Dynamics) at Microsoft India, spoke about how Microsoft uses ABM and why it has become such a critical component for success.
Interviewed by Moulishree Srivastava
/ / How has the ABM function evolved in your company over the past few years?
ABM has been there as a concept since the last couple of years, but it has just evolved into reality. This is because of multiple trends which are happening in the industry. If I look at it from the customer side, the importance of account-based marketing is that with ABM the person from the customer end finds the discussion to be relevant, well-timed and applicable. Rather than being broad-based and trying to understand what the solution is and how it will be applicable, ABM enables a more pinpointed, focused discussion with the client, which is of great value to them. Now let's come to the solution provider's side, which is our side. Over a period of time, we have noticed that the return on investment of ABM is far more than a generic broad-based marketing approach. It allows us to be more targeted and to build deeper relationships. It allows us to get the right resources at the right time with the right knowledge in front of the customers.
/ / How do you select your ABM accounts?
There are aspects to it. The first is history. Let us say we have our top 20 customers who have been giving us a lot of business in the last five years, and the business has consistently been growing with them. They would obviously be in our ABM program because we need to go deeper into each with our set of products.
Then we look at industry trends. For example, we have been following unicorns like Flipkart and Ola. We saw a lot of potential in them as they are expanding and the automation solutions that they need are available with us. So we bring them into our ABM program. There is also the intelligence of our account managers and partners which tells us which companies to target.
Then we have our own tools. We have LinkedIn, CRM, our own AI and ML tools. They help us identify accounts with a propensity to buy a particular solution using algorithms, past trends and market-backed analytics.
/ / How has your company benefited from ABM?
We have seen higher rates of returns, deeper engagement with our ABM customers and more revenue from them. We have seen increased usage of our solutions by these customers as well. It has helped us in making people realize what digital transformation can do for them, and how the product set and solutions of Microsoft can help. In the process, we also learn what the emerging trends in the industry are, and how our customers are deploying our tools and technologies to change the way the industry is working.
/ / What are the tools you use in ABM?
We have our own tools. We have CRM, LinkedIn, ML, AI and Azure. All the algorithms, probabilistic techniques and tools that we use are from within Microsoft itself. We have people out there in social media looking at our customers and following what they are trying to do. LinkedIn, being an acquired product of Microsoft, integrates tightly with our CRM, so we can now share information with our account management team which gives them a lot more insights than what used to be previously available. All this helps us in having a guided and meaningful conversation with our customers.
/ / Do you map the customer journey of all your ABM accounts? Have you created individual personas of people within each of the accounts?
Absolutely yes. We follow the entire customer journey. Our customer success manager's job is to ensure that whatever solutions we sell actually gets deployed because only when people adopt our solutions will they see benefits from them.
We also do persona mapping. In any organization, there are many people involved in a decision. For example, if it is about security, we speak to the chief security officer, the IT person and the legal department, so we map all of them.
/ / Have you invested in advanced analytics?
Surely. Analytics is a part of our offering, so we have tools like Power BI. We also have analytical tools within Azure.
/ / Is your website experience customized?
Yes. The experience is personalized not only on the website but on the mobile too. For instance, when a person from South India comes onto our landing page, he or she would see a page that is different from the one seen by a person coming from North India. We can also customize it to the level of an operating system or device.
/ / What are the challenges you have faced in implementing ABM?
The primary challenge is the time that it takes to implement ABM because it is a deep and well-thought engagement. Only at the end of the cycle do people see value and ROI. So it is a question of being patient. Organizations may lose out if they are not patient, and instead, keep switching between ABM and a broad-based marketing approach.
/ / How is AI changing the ABM function?
Machine learning, AI and cognitive intelligence are all part of our Azure stack, which is our cloud platform. These algorithms call for a lot of data. They enable us to quickly pull out not only industry trends but also behavioural trends of organizations. When we combine this with social intelligence as well as other publicly available data, we get to know which organization has what requirement, how our products fit in, and who the people are that we should be talking to within each account. It makes life that much easier for us.
/ / What are the trends and technologies that you think will drive ABM in the future?
I think ML and AI will play a critical role. Digital marketing and digital transformation will get fuelled by better information and data. And when data from machine learning gets actionable, that is when you’ll start seeing things getting productive. The ability to have collaborative tools between the customer and you will be the other driver. We have Kaizala, Teams and Yammer that help us collaborate more closely with our customers. We have come from phone calls to emails to collaborative tools like Kaizala to bots where the machine can interface with many people at the same time bringing in a lot more productivity. And these tools and technologies will continue to evolve.
Transitioning to an ABM organization
Marketing, at its core, is a process of understanding consumer needs, to design goods and services that satisfy these needs better than existing competition.
AI has huge potential to transform ABM meaningfully
Apurv Bhatnagar, Associate Vice President, Kore.ai
ABM will help you deliver a real-world experience in the digital space
Abraham Alapatt, President & Group Head, Marketing, Service Quality, VAS & Innovation, Thomas Cook (India)
In ABM, personalization is not an afterthought – it is part of the strategy
Yashdeep Vaishnav, Director, Marketing Cloud, Salesforce
ABM is more cost-effective than traditional marketing
Jennifer Toton, Vice President, Marketing, RollWorks
ABM is akin to fishing with a spear instead of casting a wide net
Sumit Srivastava, Head, Corporate Marketing Analytics & Operations, LexisNexis Risk Solutions
I would say ABM is a big cultural shift for companies, and AI is only a small part of that
Todd Berkowitz, Managing Vice President, Tech GTM Marketing, Product & Sales, Gartner Inc.
ABM can seem thankless before it turns to gold
VC John, Regional VP, Marketing & Communications (BFSI), Accenture