Many firms that have a failed or underperforming ABM program have that deficiency for one of two reasons. One, the ABM initiative has the wrong scope and thus you are missing key elements to drive the return on investment in the program. Or two the ABM initiative is mis-aligned and company-wide efforts are counterproductive to the outcomes.
In this blog post, I’ll discuss the 3 keys to deliver account-based marketing in a way to ensure initiative success.
Key #1: M is for Marketing
All too often, I’ll walk into companies that claim to have an ABM program, but in actuality they have an “Account Based Advertising” program. That is to say, they are using customized ad tools to deliver advertising to key accounts. But that is only a modest component of a successful ABM initiative.
A true ABM program is a go to market initiative and looks at key accounts marketing from the point of view of the customer. We need to include all touch points in our ABM strategy pre-sale, during the sale, and after the sale to have an effective ABM initiative that not only delivers immediate impact but long term business value.
Key #2: Partner First, Then Plan
Creating and deploying an ABM strategy is a journey. Those that think it’s turning on a tech stack are truly misinformed. A true business benefit is a well thought through ABM plan will deliver alignment among marketing, sales, customer service, account management, product development teams and others.
The first step in any successful ABM effort is to collaborate with the aforementioned teams and educate team leaders on what an ABM initiative ought to be and what a well thought out initiative will deliver in terms of revenue and business value. This thinking becomes the initiative’s operational vision in terms of scope, priority relative to other company initiatives, and business case for investment.
Then and only then do we move on to the tactical decision-making to prioritize which key accounts to include in the program; identify areas of improvement relative to delivering a sound ABM initiative, and so forth. All too often, the partnering step is missed and the ABM program flounders and ultimately fails to deliver on its promise.
Key #3: Crawl, Walk then, Run
Many marketing teams start an ABM program and, frankly, bite off way more than they can chew. When planning an ABM initiative use a phased approach that builds upon the previous efforts. This will allow for two things. The implementation of the program will be much more manageable and accountable. And second, each group of incremental phases will deliver program progress and visible momentum to gain stakeholder engagement.
Additionally, when planning the phased implementation approach, you will discover the gaps in your own operations, technology, data and partners to deliver on your company’s vision of an ABM initiative. The knowledge of these dependencies for success are important, it allows you to see the “gotchas” beforehand and prepare accordingly. There are many dependencies to deliver a successful ABM initiative, it’s important to have a well thought through roadmap to get there.
In conclusion, account-based marketing can be a highly effective strategy for B2B companies looking to drive revenue growth. However, in order to be successful, it requires careful planning and phased execution. Keep these 3 keys in mind when implementing your ABM program.
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