There’s ABM…
and then there’s ABM

You’ll get through this case study in less than three minutes.

But if that’s too much then here’s the takeaway: micro-insight, data analytics, creativity and the personal touch delivered £39m in closed deals and £260m in pipeline (and counting).

Signed deals measuring in the millions of pounds. Shifting brand perceptions. Buy-in from the board down. No wonder O2 Business saw its ABM programme named the Most Commercially Successful*.

So what was its secret…
and how could it do more?

*B2B Awards, 2017



How do you sell more, when people don’t know everything you sell?

“O2 Business is a bit like an onion, peel away one layer and you find another in terms of what it can do,” says Client Director Megan West. “Connectivity, data insights, smart cities and the IoT, it goes on and on. But back in 2015, if you asked organisations what O2 Business could do for them, they’d usually just say mobile phones.”

ABM was the obvious way to counter that.

It all begins with knowing your audience

The first step was identifying those organisations that were a right fit for O2 Business. And that involved talking directly to the company’s sales teams, to dig up information around existing relationships, individual personalities, technology in use and more.

“Those workshops also got the sales teams excited with what marketing was doing,” says Principal Planner Oli Marshall. “We then added propensity modelling and data analytics to support the selection of sectors and the accounts within them.”

“The O2 Business ABM programme, especially since our ramp-up in 2018, has been noted by the Board as one of our key business programmes – not just for marketing, but for the whole of O2 Business. That’s an outstanding success, and a testament to the hard work of the team delivering it.”

Mark Larwood
Head of Marketing,
Enterprise & ABM, O2 Business

And talking to them in a personalised way

Those sessions also produced specific messaging for each account and the tactics to approach them.

That led to a decision to divide the campaign into three strands: by vertical, by key accounts within those sub-sectors and by strategic accounts.

With one,
focussed team

Everything was driven by a small, dedicated team drawn from across all of our disciplines.

“That small team was key really, as we just lived the programme day in, day out,” continues Oli. “We wanted to supercharge it to target more accounts and deliver more deals, but didn’t want to lose the golden nuggets that had made it successful in the first place, the insight and the creative.”

ABM Vertical

Priority sectors identified through data analytics as having the best opportunity to increase O2 Business’s market share. These included retail, travel and transport, construction, the police and utilities.

ABM 100

Propensity analysis identified the key accounts within those sectors, while workshops with O2 Business’ sales team identified the top 10 in each cluster. Common objectives and challenges were pinpointed, aligned to propositions and then served with tailored messaging.

ABM Lighthouse

Eight priority accounts targeted with personal, three-year sales and marketing plans. Designed to retain and grow business, and again working as one with the O2 Business’ sales team to refine and adjust our approach as new insight is gathered.

Stick that in
your pipe…


in sales opportunities


of closed deals


increase in new opportunities


increase in audience engagement



“The programme has really fostered a single account team ethos across the business, with everyone living and breathing what’s happening with the customer. We really understand what they need and the best way to engage them individually. And that means we’re always relevant.”

Katy Liddell
Managing Director
Enterprise & Public Sector O2 Business

And creative that worked in all kinds of ways

With three approaches, the campaign required three different takes on the creative.

“We standardised across some accounts, personalised for others and with Lighthouse went fully bespoke,” says Art Director Dan Sillifant. “But we had fun on all three, moving things beyond reports to include video, print ads, digital, one-off direct mail pieces, sales materials and more.”

“There’s a lot of reasons why our ABM programme delivers, but if I had to choose one it would be how we’ve aligned marketing and sales. Their priorities were baked into the programme from the start and that’s meant that we’re delivering exactly what the business needs.”

Zoe Hominick
Head of Business Marketing,
O2 Business


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