If you’re not doing Account-Based Marketing (ABM), you’re behind the times – or so it feels these days. Everyone knows the benefits – faster sales cycles, higher conversion rates, greater ROI, increased revenue, etc. Consider these eye-popping statistics from the Alterra Group:
97% of marketers achieve higher ROI with ABM
84% of marketers say ABM strategies outperform all other marketing tactics
208% more revenue is attainable when sales and marketing teams are aligned
And it makes sense. ABM is marketing on steroids. It starts with a solid understanding of your customers as individual accounts and their unique pain points, unmet needs or open opportunities, and ends with talking about what matters most to them instead of focusing every conversation on how amazing your company is.
It seems simple – foolproof even. So why are so many B2B companies struggling to get their ABM efforts off the ground or feel like they’ve tried and it didn’t work? Because it’s not for everyone. Here are the top five reasons you should not pursue an ABM approach.
#1. FOMO is the main driver. “Because everyone else is doing it” is not a good reason to get into ABM. Most marketing teams that jumped on the ABM bandwagon early on jumped off just as quickly. Why?
Because ABM is a commitment to adjusting your approach to marketing, not a one-and-done campaign. It takes a significant paradigm shift to effectively identify accounts, research contacts, determine personalized messaging, package up relevant content and orchestrate the entire thing at scale.
#2. Not playing nice with other teams, especially sales. It’s impossible to create personalized B2B buying experiences for a set of high-value accounts if marketing is not aligned with sales, product teams, client experience and even executives. If you’re not coordinating a joint approach to engaging with each account and supporting the conversation throughout the entire decision-making process (awareness, consideration, evaluation, negotiation, close and support) you might as well just be generating leads for the hell of it.
Successful ABM requires a new level of collaboration – one where marketing works in service to sales. Everything the marketing team does – list augmentation, contact intelligence, cold call scripts, email cadences and custom content – should help sales do what they do best even better. Period.
#3. Unwilling to take responsibility for hard numbers. We generated 500 new leads. We created 50 new pieces of content. We had a 33% open rate. These vanity results don’t communicate anything to the C-suite other than the fact that the team’s been busy doing “things.”
Marketing teams must hold themselves accountable to the same standards sales teams do – marketing must report on the number of conversations started, leads turned to opportunities and closed-won accounts. (The really bold marketing teams actually carry a quota.) Fill the funnel, accelerate the funnel, optimize the funnel and drive deals must be the mutual battle cry.
#4. Thinking ABM is a technology. Purchasing technology without a comprehensive ABM plan is only going to help you generate more unqualified leads at a much faster pace, effectively polluting your key account opportunities with marketing garbage.
Yes, having the right tech in place makes ABM easier to execute, but if you’re only using it to send the same generic campaigns to a targeted list of accounts, you’re not doing ABM. And you certainly won’t get the results you seek.
#5. Only putting whale accounts on the shortlist. We hate to break it to you – the Amazons, Facebooks and Googles of the world won’t automatically want to do business with you just because you now have ABM in your marketing toolkit.
The accounts you target should be based on fit and intent and not just be a wish list of untouchables. At its most basic level, ABM won’t work if you’re trying to sell solutions to organizations that don’t need them, that you cannot effectively support or for which you are not a great-fit partner. (To be honest, this rationale is really just Marketing 101).
If your ABM approach has ever been marred by FOMO, lack of alignment, or any other of the above reasons, not to worry. We’ve compiled some quantifiable and actionable ways you can prepare your team for success with account-based marketing.
Four Ways to Ready Yourself for an ABM Program
- Take the time to define a legit Ideal Client Profile (ICP). This should be a factual representation of your perfect-fit client based on concrete data, in-depth research and real feedback.
- Know why your customers need your solutions. You must have a thorough understanding of the underlying problems, challenges, unmet needs and potential opportunities your customers experience and how your products or services address them all.
- Strike a balance between tech noob and tech nerd. You don’t need to know all there is to know about ABM technology, but you should know which tools and platforms can actually help you target specific accounts and individuals without breaking the bank. The toolset needs to serve the strategy, not the other way around.
- Become a change agent. ABM requires an organizational shift in mindset. Everyone must commit to becoming more proactive, more knowledgeable, more collaborative, more deliberate and more willing to take data-driven risks.
Are you an ABM Jedi Master or a Spray-and-Pray Sith? The force is strong with AMC. Let us show you the light side of ABM. Contact us to start your training.
Brandon is Managing Partner at Access Marketing Company. He contributes to client strategies in addition to guiding the marketing services practice of the company. And in case you didn’t notice, he’s got a few opinions about good marketing.