Key accounts strategy winning awards, new business

BT Global Services and other UK-based Olympic partners hosted customer events in Hong Kong and Beijing last week to promote their involvement in the world’s biggest sporting event.

Neil Blakesley, BTGS vice-president marketing and one of the key speakers at the event, said that while the Olympics presented a golden opportunity, the driving force behind the strategy is the group’s innovative Key Account-Based Marketing programme.

It began as an initiative focused on BT’s key accounts but was quickly adopted as a strategy by the Asia-Pacific team to map out key customers and influencers, Neil said. 

“We wanted to understand: how many people in the region do we need to influence in order for our investment to be successful and to promote the BT brand?” he said.

The team calculated that 190 accounts were responsible for 58% of the business opportunity and graded them in terms of size and relationship to BT. Or as Neil put it, “how much were they worth, and what was their relationship with us?”

The group then went about building individual profiles of customers and key people in those organisations, mapping out their roles, interests and strategies. The system– known as the KAM portal – is continually updated by software that trawls the web for fresh data on companies and individuals.

“It’s a methodology for recognising our most valuable customers and tracking their activities,” Neil said. “Having a map, you can direct your marketing to those who you can effectively address. It’s almost a B2C model for the B2B environment.”

The system updates itself almost in real-time, says Neil. He says one client was “amazed” to receive a call from a BTGS salesperson immediately after making a speech in Rio announcing plans to expand in Asia.

The programme is gaining recognition, too.  A dozen clients have asked to license it from BTGS, while the group has won a Marketing Excellence Gold Award from the IT Service Marketing Association for the programme.

Research firm Gartner has said the strategy had helped create a “market differentiator” for BT, while the authors of Gartner Network Service Providers’ Magic Quadrant said recently that BT was “best-in-class for customer intimacy as result of the KAM/ABM programmes.”

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