The Marketing Strategist:
Northrop Grumman Leverages Account-Based Marketing to Win a $2 Billion Deal
Northrop Grummans Information Technology sector knew a good opportunity when it saw one: In 2003, after the Commonwealth of Virginia created the Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA) to consolidate all state IT services under one single agency, the newly formed VITA began looking for a partner that could help the state improve its IT infrastructure and deliver managed services to more than 90 executive branch agencies. The $2 billion IT Infrastructure Partnership, the largest IT award in state government, would span 10 years and support economic development in multiple regions of Virginia. Northrop Grumman knew it was well qualified to do the work, but it had a perception problem to overcome: In Virginia, the company was viewed largely as a builder of ships and submarines, and its depth of experience at both the IT and state levels was not well recognized or understood. Understanding the Customer, Collaborating with Sales To better position itself to win the contract, Northrop Grumman created a variation on the ITSMA Account-Based MarketingSM (ABM) approach. Early in the process, the company devoted significant effort to networking with key players to better understand VITA’s key issues, concerns, and objectives as well as to gain insight into how those influencers perceived Northrop Grumman. It quickly became clear that VITA was looking for a partner with:
- Best-in-class IT expertise
- A significant presence in Virginia
- A commitment to economic development in the most depressed areas of the state
- A focus on delivering the best possible options and offers to the state employees potentially impacted by the program
- Advertising focused on Northrop Grumman as a vital, longtime member of the Commonwealth’s business community as well as on the company’s people-focused culture.
- Sponsorships and speaking opportunities were selected based on the technology content, and subject matter experts were chosen based on their technology know-how.
- The company’s grassroots efforts focused across the state, particularly in southwest Virginia, where company executives spoke at local community events and higher-education venues and submitted op-ed pieces to local newspapers.
- The company also developed a video featuring Northrop Grumman employees talking about their individual experiences working for the company and working in Virginia.