Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is not a new revolutionary idea. The concept of focusing your company’s time, efforts and resources on accounts and not just generating new leads has been practiced by B2B organizations for years. However, most companies still think that they need to fill their sales funnels with leads, leads and more leads. This is old-school thinking and not nearly as efficient or beneficial as ABM.
Once the concept of ABM is initially introduced most executive leadership and marketing teams understand the potential positive impact that it can have on their organization and they get excited about bringing it to life. Most often they’ve experienced that their previous marketing tactics have often become stale and ineffective, and once we have ABM buy-in, most clients want to get started immediately. Who wouldn’t want to play with their shiny new ABM strategy and garner instant results right away?
We often find ourselves actually trying to reign in the enthusiasm and encouraging our clients to take a step back from their excitement. Like any other marketing strategy, in order for ABM to be effective, we have to do it right, set proper expectations, lay the proper groundwork and ensure buy-in across the departments (marketing, sales, C-suite). If your ABM strategy is conceived, launched, and executed from a closed conference room when all of these parties are not involved, don’t expect a miracle.
Key Point: Keep in mind that ABM is a long-term philosophical play, not a quick fix for sales or a replacement for all of your traditional marketing efforts. Most importantly, while we often get initial buy-in from the C-suite or marketing team, this is not the choir that we necessarily need to be preaching to. You must have sales at the table in the beginning. If you don’t get them engaged and valuing the objectives of ABM, you are doomed to fail. Though your organization doesn’t need to jump through hoops to get started with an ABM program, it will realize the best results by taking the time to put the proper account foundation in place. To be sure, you need to address the basics, like account selection and tiering, developing account insights, generating account-specific content and orchestrating account-focused plays.
Embracing and committing to the ABM concept, IN THEORY, is one thing; making it a reality is the hard part, and that’s where you need all departments at the table, and experienced ABM experts by your side to help guide you through the process. As ABM consultants, there have been several occasions where we have been brought in by companies that have gone to a convention and heard about ABM, they want to do ABM, but when it came down to it we’ve turned them away because they were not ready for it. Maybe it was cultural reasons, maybe it was infrastructure reasons, but there are a number of reasons that can be red flags as to why ABM won’t work for your organization, even if you desperately want to try it. However, we have seen ABM magic happen when you do have all departments in alignment with strategy, accounts and messaging. Everyone is a stakeholder, everyone is engaged and all parties are looking at the same data and results.