Sales Prospecting

Tired of Failed “Global” Approaches? Your Prospects Sure Are

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April 21, 2022

5 mins read

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Tired of Failed “Global” Approaches? Your Prospects Sure Are

Account-based marketing is the go-to strategy for organizations seeking to drive greater returns than an unfocused ‘spray and pray’ approach that wastes limited marketing resources. However, ABM strategies can differ depending on the region and location they are implemented in. Recent surveys have demonstrated that account-based strategies:

  • Mature differently over time in different regions,
  • Which means that marketers and salespeople face different challenges integrating their departments and account-based strategies depending on where in the world they conduct business,
  • And because cultural nuances deeply impact ABM approaches, they necessitate tailoring different ways to reach buyers according to their cultural styles and preferences.

This article will explore in more detail how cultural differences can impact your ABM efforts.

Location is key

Marketers have always localized their messaging based on the nuanced ways buyers receive messages. And all communication happens within a larger cultural context.

Marketers have also realized that altering strategies based on cultural norms can yield big results in your ABM tactics. ABM is about targeted messaging, making marketing a one-to-one experience. It only makes sense that creating customized experiences involves adapting your strategies and messaging to different cultures. At a tactical and messaging level, what works for one individual or cultural context may not work for another, which is why being informed by data is so important for ABM.

Understanding differences: The Lewis Model

The Lewis Model can be a useful framework for understanding cultural differences and how they impact ABM. The Lewis Model divides humans into categories based on behavior, rather than religion or nationality. There are 3 categories identified in the Lewis Model:

  1. Linear-actives are regions with planners that are task-oriented. They like facts and figures. Generally, the “English-speaking world” falls into this area, but also Northern Europeans.
  2. Multi-actives are talkative, impulsive, and put more focus on the relationship over the product or transaction. Generally, Southern Europeans fall into this area, but also the Middle East and Central and South America.
  3. Reactives are primarily found in Asia, tend to use face-to-face communication and engage in long sales discussions.

ABM itself can be a useful metric for understanding how the Lewis Model explains the ways different cultures react when it comes to new information (like marketing new products or trying new approaches like ABM). Areas like the US and the UK, where many ABM tools were originally built and launched, tend to have better ABM adoption. In contrast, other areas like Germany, the largest economy in Europe, have tended to be more hesitant about ABM adoption. Christian Weiss, a European marketing leader with vast experience of ABM, believes that a reluctance to try something new and untested is part of what keeps Germany and other countries lagging behind English-speaking countries in ABM maturity. “While other cultures might try new approaches and technologies and fail,” says Weiss, “at least they’ve tried it,” but hesitancy to try remains elsewhere.

Integrating sales and marketing transcends geography

Although the issues marketers and teams face differ from country to country, they can also be the same. For example, alignment between sales and marketing is one of the key struggles for ABM adoption no matter where it happens.

While 75% of marketers report a higher ROI from ABM than any other marketing effort, in order to make the most of ABM, your marketing and sales teams need to be aligned.

Japan, a leader in developing business practices like the Toyota method, requires very different approaches to business compared to western countries. Japanese customs tend to be highly formalized in contrast to some less formalized American business customs. ABM can help your marketing team and sales team come together and better approach both cultures in a way that makes sense for both.

Breaking down data silos and building alignment

In Germany and other Northern European countries, marketing and sales have historically worked separately from one another. Often, marketing will create a campaign, and then handoff leads (MQLs) to the sales team. Of course, only later will the marketing team learn that the sales team found many of the leads to be of poor quality.

ABM can help bridge this gap, and stop the “blame game,” by creating an integrated approach and allowing teams to treat the business as an integrated process. Having the right software and using the cloud can be key to enabling sales-marketing coordination, having one view of accounts, delivering consistent data reporting, and sharing information between teams.

How do account-based strategies differ across regions?

Local knowledge is at the heart of building ABM strategies that fit different regions. For example, your social media strategy needs to adapt and localize depending on the region you operate in. This means not only understanding which social media to use, but also the local language and cultural references. Social media platforms and digital channels that are popular in one country or region may not be as popular in another. ABM isn’t just how you talk to your prospects, but also where you generate leads.

Regional sales personas and ABM

Another important aspect of ABM is picking the right sales personas. ABM is all about building a one-to-one connection, which means leveraging your data to build regional sales personas. Using data means you’ll be able to scale your personas from single individuals all the way up to a global level.

This is where removing silos becomes key. Sales teams can engage in a feedback loop that delivers information back to marketing on what is working and what isn’t. Over time, your regional personas will become more sophisticated and more closely tuned to what customers are looking for. Learn more about ABM and how leveraging cultural strategies can bring success to your marketing and sales teams.

What comes next: Account-Based Experience (ABX)

Some experts have recommended bringing even more aspects of business together to create a fully connected strategy that some have dubbed ‘account-based experience.’ The goal of ABX is to create a customer-centric approach that delivers relevant content in a trusting environment. ABX is not in place everywhere, but it is becoming an increasing force in how companies approach their relationship with customers. Consider leveraging best-in-class software to make the most out of your ABX strategy.


Tailoring your marketing and sales approach to cultural differences is essential in today’s landscape. Beyond that, marketing and sales teams also need to be able to share data and information with one another in order to understand what strategies work depending on where campaigns are deployed. In the end, ABM is key to building cultural competencies and business success.

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B2B Go-To-Market Suite, Demandbase

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