As B2B organizations continue to operate remotely, there are also many opportunities for personal development during this time of “social distancing.” Demandbase, an end-to-end ABM solution provider, has announced that two of its ABM Certification courses are now available for free through July 31, 2020.
The ABM Certification program is designed to help practitioners make ABM work for their organizations. The classes provide best practices and training for various levels of expertise:
- Foundations: A tactical course that walks new ABM practitioners through the core components of an ABM strategy;
- Advanced: For those looking to expand and optimize their existing ABM strategies, this course provides insights around alignment, reporting and segmentation;
- Expert: Designed to give practitioners the confidence to solve complex ABM programs in an interactive, hands-on environment.
The first two tiers — Foundations and Advanced — are available for free online. The company will also donate $1 for every person that completes the Certification to United Way, a charity helping communities around the globe deal with the impact of COVID-19. Register here.
“The genesis of creating ABM Certification in the first place was just to help marketers understand how ABM can impact their overall marketing strategy,” said Brian Finnerty, VP of Growth Marketing at Demandbase, in an interview with ABM In Action. “What’s interesting about Certification now is the time couldn’t be better. We have marketers who are in very tough circumstances. They’ve lost all of their in-person channels, their events are off. So, you have a bunch of marketers who are struggling with channels that are not working for them. And they’re working from home separated from their teams. The time couldn’t be better really to come out with a free Certification offering.”
According to Finnerty, more than 1,000 marketers registered for Certification just four days after the announcement of the free offering was made. “There’s a huge kind of appetite for certification for online learning,” he said. “The reason we decided to make it free to everyone was because we know marketers are struggling and now is a great time to build your career and get those skills under your belt.
ABM practitioners at Akamai Technologies have already benefited from the Demandbase ABM Certification. In the below, Q&A, Finnerty interviewed Adam Barney, Senior Manager of Global Digital Marketing & Demand Generation, and Megan Campbell, Senior Marketing Program Manager, to learn about their experience.
Brian Finnerty: Tell us a little bit about yourselves — could you give us a snapshot of your journey into marketing and describe your role at Akamai?
Adam Barney: For almost 16 years, I’ve been working in analytics-driven marketing roles (both B2C and B2B) in both agency and customer settings, across many top-tier brands globally. I’ve spent the last two years at Akamai Technologies as a Sr. Manager of Global Marketing, focused on growing our global marketing scale in order to enable sales velocity and ABM has been key in driving that.
Megan Campbell: My journey hasn’t been very linear, but I spent the first half of my career in project management and transitioned into digital marketing ten years ago. My role at Akamai focuses on creating and executing various ABM strategies through digital tactics.
Finnerty: Tell us about why your organization decided to embrace ABM and what was the implementation journey like?
Campbell: Our organization — driven by marketing leadership — lives and breathes analytics to make informed and unbiased decisions. ABM perfectly aligns with that ethos. Account-based marketing uses data to gain insight into the mind of the customer in order to target with the right message at the right time. Our sales cycles are long, so gaining that competitive edge on when to target accounts and with what message has been a game changer.
Barney: When it comes to the long-haul B2B sales cycle that Akamai has to succeed in against our competitors, ABM is a necessity for us to win those customers since it enables us to target them through the sales journey and pivot in real-time to reach the right members of the buying committee at the right time. It took time and persistence to spread this belief of ABM across the organization and Demandbase has been key to help that implementation.
Finnerty: So, you both took the Demandbase ABM certification program — I knew you were smart! Tell us about your respective experience … what key insights did you take away from the courses? Can you share a brief anecdote or two about how ABM certification has helped in your career development?
Barney: The Demandbase ABM certification program enabled me to get a hands-on understanding of end-to-end ABM marketing and take back strategies both from the training and networking sessions to help further enable ABM marketing in my day-to-day role. In fact, we found the certification so valuable that we brought Demandbase directly to our full marketing organization for an internal ABM certification class. The feedback from marketers around the globe who participated further proved the value found.
Campbell: I agree with Adam that it was the hands-on learning, looking at the end-to-end strategy … that was the highlight for me. The use case examples that we worked on, not only with our colleagues but peers from different companies, challenged me to think in a different, more critical way.
Finnerty: I understand that after you both got ABM certified with Demandbase, you brought it into Akamai to help your team become ABM experts! Tell us about your decision to bring the training to your organization. How regularly are the training sessions held and who leads them? Have they been helpful for your teammates in expanding their knowledge of ABM?
Barney: We found the certification so valuable that we knew almost immediately there would be a huge upside to have an internal version run, and luckily, our Demandbase team agreed. This happened once last summer, and we had global participation across our marketing organization and in the months since we’ve regularly heard from colleagues who said how valuable the certification was and how they continue to apply what they learned through their day-to-day work.
Finnerty: In these chaotic times, what single piece of advice would each of you offer fellow B2B marketers to weather the storm?
Campbell: Lean on what you know. We’re currently in a digital-only world with live events and small meetups being cancelled. Now is the time to add value with a digital skill set.
Barney: Be persistent in the fact that the changes the world is currently facing are able to be navigated and activate on the fact your pre-COVID-19 in-market messages probably need to change to be more reflective and understanding of the global situation we are in and how your products can help people solve the challenges they are currently facing, to help their businesses survive!