92% of marketers cite ABM as “extremely important” or “very important” to their business. Why? Because ABM isn’t another marketing campaign. It is a strategy that 87% of marketers say outperforms every other. And this is one thing the pandemic hasn’t changed.
With a higher ROI and increased revenues – Account Based Marketing remains red hot and relevant because it works. ABM isn’t new, and many have tried (and failed) before you. If you haven’t piloted ABM you could be suffering from some serious FOMO. But before you dive straight in and start executing, we highly recommend you consider these 3 fundamentals:
1. Get a cross-functional team in place, across the enterprise
Is your entire enterprise on-board? Do they need to be? Yes! ABM is not a marketing campaign. It is a clearly defined, strategic business decision. As such, the business must come together to choose ABM, agree on the assessment criteria, tactics, pathways and approach. Whilst marketing is in the title, ABM is not just for marketers. It demands comprehensive enterprise support which is one of the many attributes of its success. All teams are engaged, aligned and committed to your ABM strategy.
Will you choose one account or a cluster of accounts? How will you define your criteria? From the start, you will need a cross-functional team with support and input at every level. Product team members, your delivery team, customer services – you will all need to assess the opportunity to penetrate accounts and effectively deliver ABM. Your cross-functional teams will have clearly defined your pathways and processes from the start but make no mistake – everyone needs to be on board.
2. Remove the tension between Sales and Marketing
ABM quite possibly outshines marketing campaigns, because it isn’t one. It is in a higher league and (done well) promises greater rewards. You will be tackling an account at all levels, satisfying all stakeholders. Sales are typically account targeted and a natural step ahead as they are predisposed to the ABM concept – gaining insight into both the account and industry.
Your approach requires both personalised marketing (for maximum resonance) and sales effort to open doors and deepen engagement within specified accounts. Sales and Marketing need to understand how they will align throughout the entire 4-step process right from discovery to execution and all the feedback loops in between – it just doesn’t work otherwise! If you’re still struggling with Marketing and Sales alignment, read this blog for tips on how to release the tension, stop the finger pointing and get everyone back on the same side.
3. Get crystal clear on what you want to achieve with ABM
Not all accounts are equal, and you can’t afford to waste time and resource. ABM can be hugely effective in landing and expanding accounts, but you must do the work to clarify exactly what your objectives are. Often ABM is part of a wider campaign to shift brand perception and increase stickiness, or it may be a stand-alone campaign focused on in-year revenue. Start with the business objective, then add sales and marketing objectives. For example:
- business objective (e.g. grow annual account revenue by 15% to £2.5m in 18 months)
- sales objective (win EMEA outsourcing contract in next 15 months)
- marketing objective (position us as a thought leader in next 12 months)
Your cross-functional team must be crystal clear on the metrics for success, the framework for effective governance of the ABM programme, the budget and resources. You will (importantly) start the account selection process. It is critical that enough of a deep dive is done to make sure the right account is selected. Without this, ABM is just an expensive lesson.
Make ABM Work from The Start
From your intern to your CEO – any person who has had involvement with or possesses the ability to influence that prospect or client must be on your ABM team. There has to be a recognition that the business has declared its intent to go after a certain account or clusters of accounts with everyone unified and working to make it happen. A compelling story, great tactics, consistency and appeal will follow, but how you start is vital to the success of ABM and (most likely) your annual revenue goals.
As always, we warmly welcome your comments, questions and feedback!