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Inside Adobe's ABM Strategy: Why Melissa Watts puts people first

Sharon Gillenwater

Melissa Watts_AdobeMelissa Watts is a senior marketing manager at Adobe, responsible for the territory from Miami to Maine and as far west as Texas.

She came to the role with a background in both marketing and sales, which gives her a unique perspective on the needs of her team.

“By nature, I am a relationship person, and I know that sales is a relationship business,” Watts explained. "People recognize brands, and we have some loyalty to brands. But people buy from people. And that’s a relationship.”

In her work at Adobe, Watts wanted to help the sales team make those relationships stronger and more valuable. In a previous role at a different company, she’d discovered and tested the Boardroom Insiders platform. She thought the Executive Profiles yielded a “goldmine” of information and insight and told Boardroom Insiders President Lee Demby to consider her a customer for life.

“I told him, ‘wherever I land, I’m always going to bring Boardroom Insiders.’ That’s how much value I see,” Watts said.

‘I HAVE FOUR HUSBANDS AND 27 KIDS, AND THEY’RE HUNGRY ALL THE TIME.’

That’s how Watts described her role at a recently quarterly business review meeting.

“And that’s really how it is,” she continued.

She supports a team of sales reps who crave access to anything that could help them get a foot in the door at a key account, build stronger customer relationships and, ultimately, close bigger, better deals.

When it comes to account-based marketing, and target customers who are high up in the food chain,  information is the most valuable thing you can tap into  — not just about the company and the industry but about the person.

Based on her past experience with Boardroom Insiders, Watts knew the platform could provide that information at scale, across thousands of enterprise-level companies around the country, and, in the process, satisfy a sales team hungry for a competitive edge.

‘AS A SALES PERSON, THE MORE I KNOW ABOUT YOU, THE MORE I CAN RELATE TO YOU AND BE RELATABLE.’

A few months into the job at Adobe, she started socializing the concept of Boardroom Insiders around the office.

“I became the champion internally because I believed in the service. I believed it would help the sales people and would help yield better intelligence in meetings, foster quicker synergy and eventually lead to partnerships and, ultimately, the sale,” Watts explained.

First, she got a peer interested, then a manager. We gave a demo, then another one. Then, we launched a pilot program across Watts’ team.

“The sales reps got such value out of it. There were these nuggets of information in each profile that would help them in a meeting,” Watts explained. “You can create a rapport with a person relatively quickly just by understanding what their passions are or what they’re into. As a sales person, the more I know about you, the more I can relate to you and be relatable.”

‘YOU WANT TO BRING VALUE TO THIS PERSON, AND THE BEST WAY TO BRING VALUE IS TO UNDERSTAND WHO THEY ARE FIRST.’

This is the first year Adobe has added Boardroom Insiders to its arsenal of sales tools, and Watts said the impact has been profound. In addition to positive feedback from sales people who have mined Executive Profiles for valuable insight, others in the organization caught wind of what we offer and wanted in.

Now, the pilot has grown to a full-access license across two different departments within Adobe.

For Watts, Boardroom Insiders gives her something she can’t find anywhere else. Rather than information heavily weighted toward the business, our profiles offer in-depth insight into the person. That’s what matters when you’re building relationships.

“And the thing about it is, it’s not manipulative; it’s education. It educates you about the person who you’re about to meet,” Watts explained. “You want to bring value to this person, and the best way to bring value is to understand who they are first.”

Want to learn more about how Boardroom Insiders can support your ABM program? Click here to schedule a free demo.

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Sharon Gillenwater
Written by Sharon Gillenwater
Sharon Gillenwater is the founder and editor-in-chief of Boardroom Insiders, which maintains an extensive database of the most in-depth executive profiles on the market, from Fortune 500 companies to independent non-profits, to help sales and marketing professionals build deeper relationships and close more deals with clients. Gillenwater is a long-time marketing consultant with expertise in marketing strategy, account-based marketing, and CXO engagement programs.
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