Recap: The Role of ABM and Customer Success in Engaging Customers

On March 12, 2019 Nancy Harlan, Head of Global Strategic Account Marketing at Qlik, helped ANA attendees understand how software companies are driving long-term revenue and customer engagement through Account Based Marketing (ABM) and their Customer Success teams.  Nancy shared some of the catalysts for her success, “Qlik’s transformation to a SAAS company and our new customer success organization has impacted our go to market structure. We are learning as we go through the process but seeing results immediately.”
Qlik, which delivers a platform for modern business insights, needed a way to drive exponential revenue from their top accounts.  Account Based Marketing was introduced in 2015 at Qlik.  Leading ABM organizations have documented the following impact from ABM:
  • ITSMA reports that companies that implement ABM have reported 74% improvement in customer relationships
  • SiriusDecisions reports that marketers who work in an account-based manner report 100% increase in C-level engagement and 91% of marketers using ABM have indicated 50% larger deal sizes
  • DemandBase reports that companies that use ABM report a 30% YoY revenue increase from the target accounts.
In their Strategic Segment, Qlik has approximately 100 accounts which are managed by six account-based marketers (15 accounts per marketer on average).  At Qlik, where they leverage data daily to make informed decisions, the following criteria was established to determine which accounts are included in their Strategic Account Program:
  • An existing customer with potential revenue <$5M over 3 years
  • High potential industry where Qlik has proven success, for example financial services
  • Identified opportunities in the pipeline and sales leadership input
This year, Qlik will measure success of the ABM Program by YOY revenue growth and by the number of net new contacts established through campaigns and events.   The ANA attendees were eager to learn just how Qlik manages their ABM for growth.  As it turns out, the group was pleasantly surprised by the magnitude of marketing activity and the “allowable risk” attributed to programs in order to learn.
The current ABM program structure includes an element called Qlik Infusion — “ABM on steroids.”  The team identifies a customer sponsor or champion and partners with them to execute custom messaging, campaigns and events all designed to drive up awareness of Qlik in the strategic account.  The program includes customer specific email campaigns, direct mail, webinars, Qlik Days/seminars, workshops, launch parties and more. In addition to these core customer activities, there is an “Always On” component of the program that includes Line of Business (LOB) and industry campaigns. IP and social re-marketing and Executive Briefings are also integral components.  The Qlik environment is thriving, challenging and reaping benefits.
Many organizations are deploying the mechanics of marketing that drive success.  But does it create the culture for success among the teams? Customer Success Teams measure success differently from Account Based Marketers.   Their criteria for success is:
  • Long term success vs. short term deployment
  • Proactive vs Reactive customer care
  • Realizing the full potential of the solution vs. installing/maintaining
  • Client and vendor goals aligned for mutually beneficial outcomes
When these things are employed, customer churn goes down and renewals, upsells and utilization increases.
Qlik seems to have the perfect combination of consulting, education and support to support the pillars of customer success:
  • Increase adoption
  • Mitigate risk
  • Yield faster ROI
  • Gain great insights.
Nancy advises “Listen to your peers, including Customers, Sales and Customer Success Partners. When this happens, it’s a collaboration of ideas and strategies that can only improve marketing.”   She also shared her big lessons learned:
  • Hire the right Marketer for ABM – they must possess strong marketing skills along with sales experience and/or a passion for working with customers on a daily basis
  • The Sales Representative owns the customer relationship, but both Customer Success and the ABM Team are critical to ensuring Sales meets its revenue goals.
  • The sales plan, customer success plan and ABM plan must be consolidated as one plan presented together to the customer, 100% aligned.
  • Be clear about who does what.  Coordinated efforts are key to flawless execution.
In conclusion, Qlik leverages ABM to support both sales awareness and demand and customer success to drive adoption and utilization.  The ultimate goal is long-term engagement across the enterprise.
Thanks to Nancy and her team for joining us and teaching us.
Thanks to our sponsors at Compu-Mail and 20/20 Visual Media.


Nancy has over 20 years of successful experience in North American and Global Marketing, Sales, Sales Management, and Global Account Management. She is focused on delivering a fresh, up-to-date perspective on any strategic account-based marketing program, channel neutral sales promotion, integrated demand creation campaign, installed base marketing program, internal/customer communication, webinar/event, product launch plan or sales enablement project. She is focused on innovation, creativity and quality and works across the organization’s product, services, finance, operations, marketing and sales silos to bring together strategic initiatives that drive sales performance.

Nancy is currently the Head of Global Strategic Account Marketing at Qlik, a data management and analytics company. Nancy and her team of account based marketers deliver highly custom programs, campaigns and events into Qlik’s top customer base to drive 30% growth in revenue year over year.

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