Effective ABM Needs Effective Planning

Account-based marketing (ABM) is starting to gain a lot of traction in the B2B world. According to Information Technology Services Marketing Association, ABM is defined as “treating individual accounts as markets in their own right.” This basically means taking marketing personalization to a whole new level.

Based on a survey by Zoominfo, ABM is very effective when it comes to increasing revenue and predictability, as 96% of the marketers surveyed attributed their marketing success to ABM. However, it’s a relatively new strategy, so it’s vulnerable to more than a few pitfalls.

The only way to reduce the potential risks associated with virtually any strategy is to develop a comprehensive game plan. Effective planning will result in increased buy-in from upper management, effective training and development, acquisition of the right ABM tools, and accurate collection of data.

Below are the different challenges and issues associated with account-based marketing and how planning can reduce the risk of these occurrences:

1. Measuring Your Efforts

The results of your ABM strategy might take longer to come to fruition than other marketing strategies. However, you can identify small achievements by measuring your ABM campaign’s performance along the way.

If you’ve just started implementing ABM in your prospecting efforts, you can do a comparative analysis to discover which strategy performs better. This will help you identify strengths and areas for improvement. Measurement should take place at every stage of the ABM process, and measurement systems should be indicated in the marketing plan.

2. Aligning Sales and Marketing

For the most part, marketing and sales teams tend to operate independently. Marketers focus on lead generation, so they care more about quantity, whereas salespeople focus on lead conversion, so they care more about quality.

Make sure that the objectives of each team are directed towards a common goal. If it requires alignment meetings every week to avoid confusion, then make it happen. Plan out your Service-Level Agreement (SLA) between the teams, so collaboration becomes official business.

Based on a survey by SiriusDecisions, 24% faster revenue growth and 27% faster profit growth over a three-year period can be achieved by B2B organizations if they have a unified sales and marketing strategies.

3. Establishing an Ideal Target Account

Before starting ABM for your business, know that it involves heavy research on both the sales and marketing sides. Building an ideal target account is crucial, and this is where your next steps most come because ABM relies heavily on the accuracy of these target accounts.

Don’t limit yourself to the surface details. The more information you know (such as the ideal revenue, size, location, and key business challenges), the better you can formulate an effective ABM strategy that fits the core needs of your customer.

When you plan the development of your ideal target account, be sure to gather input from both your sales and marketing teams so you have a more holistic view of your ideal customer from a range of different perspectives.

4. Thinking Too Big

Keep in mind that there are some things account-based marketing can’t do. For example, it isn’t nearly as scalable as mass marketing because of the research and personalization requirements. If you think too big too soon and roll out ABM to hundreds of accounts at the same time, you’ll end up overwhelming your sales/marketing teams, and losing control over the process.

ABM works best when it’s rolled out slowly and implemented over time. Make your plan and start out with just a few accounts. Once you get used to the process and start seeing positive results, you can begin to extend ABM implementation to the rest of your accounts.

5. Maintain Consistency and Effort

If you’re just beginning with ABM, expect to make a few mistakes here and there. But, you will become more proficient as time goes on. Since the strategy aims for precision, data is an integral factor in the process. Collecting and analyzing data must be an ongoing activity.

Also, you need to show consistency in nurturing your target accounts. Even though they’re only talking to a single contact, the team behind your ABM should ensure consistency across multiple touch points to build a long-term relationship with the target account.

Wrapping Things Up

These ABM challenges and issues can all be prevented, or at the very least reduced, by a thorough knowledge of your account-based marketing principles. If you have a comprehensive plan that takes into account the potential challenges you might face, you’ll be able to develop contingencies and even find opportunities to improve various aspects of your ABM process.

To learn more about account-based marketing, check out our whitepaper on How to Develop an Account-Based Marketing Strategy!