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How to Play to Your Strengths With an Account-Based Model w/ Kelvin Gee

How are you changing the game?

Is your team playing to its strengths? Or, is it simply sticking to tradition?

Account-based marketing has stormed the B2B industry. Countless companies have found success with the flipped funnel. Hey, we were even able to build a podcast around it.

We can see that ABM is becoming the new normal. In light of that, your business cannot depend on just switching to an account-based model. Your team needs to play to its strengths.

Kelvin Gee, Senior Director of Modern Marketing Business Transformation at Oracle, shares how he prepared his team to implement an account-based model.

And Oracle isn’t just any team.

Here’s what we’re unpacking today:

  • Challenges Oracle was facing before transitioning to an account-based model
  • The strengths Oracle needed to leverage in order to make a smooth transition
  • Oracle’s account-based gameplan
  • Steps Oracle took to help its people through the transition and beyond

This post is based on a presentation given by Kelvin Gee from Oracle at the B2B Sales and Marketing Exchange. If you’d like to listen to the full episode, you can check it out here and below.

Challenges Oracle was facing

When Kelvin and the gang at Oracle were looking at migrating to an account-based model, they faced some monumental challenges.

  1. Oracle is a complex ecosystem. The company is home to 140,000 employees and 25,000 partners across the globe. Plus, they generated $40 billion in revenue in their 2018 fiscal year.
  2. Oracle is very acquisitive. They’ve had over 130 acquisitions over the past 13 years.
  3. Oracle has a lot of customers. 430,000 in 175 countries, to be exact.
  4. Oracle has numerous products. They’ve released and maintained over 4,000 products.

While their size proved mighty, it also posed gargantuan hurdles. 

Oracle – like all large enterprises at the time – was operating in silos. All the sales, marketing, and customer success outfits were running on their own processes and technology. There was a major disconnect between teams.

This disconnect could be blatantly seen between sales and marketing. A measly 2% of marketing-qualified leads were actually converting into sales opportunities.

Their demand waterfall was deteriorating even as the company was pivoting to cloud storage. Not to mention, key customers still thought of Oracle as a database vendor, not a strategic cloud partner.

How would it ever be possible to correct their course with an ecosystem so immense and complex?

What they had going for them

Although there were seemingly insurmountable challenges staring them in the eyes, Oracle had many strengths, too.

Kelvin explains that Oracle was well-positioned for an account-based strategy because…

… they had strong ACV/LTV metrics.

… the Oracle brand was world-renown.

… they had the right organizational scale.

… they had implemented EMEA marketing.

… they had strong executive relationships with their customers.

… they were strong in the enterprise segment.

… they had an abundance of quality data.

All of these positive forces, used in the correct way, would give Oracle the jumpstart they needed into an account-based strategy.

The modern workforce

The first factor Oracle needed to consider was its people. 

In order to get the whole team on board for an account-based model, there were three myths that Kelvin needed to help debunk:

  1. Account-based is only for key accounts. This is not true. An account-based strategy can be used for all accounts, big and small.
  2. Account-based is just another tactic for our traditional model. Wrong again. Account-based is a completely different go-to-market strategy.
  3. It’s “account-based marketing” (ABM). This is not aligned with Oracle’s culture, because the strategy does not only concern the marketing team. It’s an all-team effort. Oracle simply calls it “account-based.”

Now that the inconsistencies were addressed, Oracle was ready to begin implementing its global account-based strategy.

Oracle’s global account-based strategy

Oracle’s ecosystem spreads across continents. They needed to map out an account-based strategy that took Oracle’s breadth and strengths into consideration. Kelvin and the team produced this gameplan:


  • Step 1: Target


      • Select the right accounts using data-driven processes.


  • Step 2: Personalize


      • Customize content according to insights gathered from the potential customer.


  • Step 3: Orchestrate


      • Touchpoints between sales and marketing are synced so each knows what the other is doing.


  • Step 4: Measure


      • A new method of measuring results would replace the traditional way.

With the plan in place, it was time to get to work. Of course, there was a learning curve that Oracle’s leadership was ready to address.

Supporting the people

Your team should be the main focus of your efforts. Building up your team will, in turn, produce more satisfied clients and greater revenue. 

Oracle recognized this. So, by using their unique strongholds, they offered numerous resources to support the team during this grand transition:

  • Workshops. Upon request, members of Oracle would head to places around the world to host account-based strategy workshops for its other team members.
  • Webcasts. Oracle hosted an internal webcast called Sherpa Sessions to educate about all things account-based.
  • Office hours. Oracle offered open office hours on a monthly basis with internal and external account-based experts.
  • Playbook. An online digital playbook acts as a resource guide for all team members.

Since the people are Oracle’s top priority, leadership made sure all of their bases were covered in terms of account-based enablement and training.

Using your strengths in a transition

If your team has or is working on transitioning to an account-based model, make sure you’re taking your strengths into consideration. One account-based strategy does not fit all.

Just like Oracle, your team is facing unique challenges. To overcome these obstacles, think about areas where your company excels. Can any of these strongholds be leveraged to build a more suitable account-based strategy?

Your people hold your organization’s greatest strengths. Find out how to help them shine.

This post is based on a presentation given by Kelvin Gee from Oracle at the B2B Sales and Marketing Exchange.