If you’re a B2B marketer, you’ve read (and heard) a lot about account-based marketing (ABM). Chances are, if you’re not utilizing this particular tactic, you know someone who is. In the past year alone, there has been a 21 percent increase in the number of companies that have a full ABM program in place. Of course, the practice of identifying key accounts isn’t actually new. Marketers have been fine-tuning their targeting efforts for decades. What is new is the advancement in technology with its ability to supercharge ABM efforts at scale.
Either way, it’s the ABM of now that persists in confusing even seasoned pros. Before venturing any deeper into the mystifying world of ABM, let’s refine what it means at present: According to Laura Ramos, Principal Analyst at Forrester Research and speaker at ZoomInfo 2017 Growth Acceleration Summit, “ABM is a strategy through which marketing and sales jointly obsess over how to pursue, establish and grow long-term, highly-engaged revenue relationships with specific customer accounts.”
The word “obsess” is intentional, “because deep customer knowledge — and the ability to apply this knowledge to create more effective marketing and sales interactions — lies at the heart of successful ABM.”
The new ABM order consolidates your more conventional marketing segments (industry, product/solution, marketing channels, etc.) into one living and breathing target of focus. In essence, each one of your accounts is a nation on its own, made up of individual citizens available to you in the form of company contacts. From here on, we marketers know that to get ahead of our competition and target these accounts and contacts effectively, we must “obsess” about the language of our customers. So let’s get down to business.
Here, we’ll outline four common obstacles for you to avoid on your way to adopting today’s ABM approach successfully.
1. Fix Sales and Marketing Misalignment
It’s imperative for sales and marketing to get on the same page of any ABM campaign before proceeding any further. If sales and marketing strategies are at odds, there’s virtually no way to initiate a streamlined ABM approach successfully. See also: chaos and disjointed processes.
As the first order of business, sales and marketing pros must agree on their chosen accounts, as well as specify the target audiences that thrive within each, including revenue, location, team size, in-house marketing automation platform, etc. Following, sales and marketing need to commit to an ongoing plan of working together; with marketing accommodating and enabling sales throughout each stage of the customer acquisition cycle, and with sales performing outreach using agreed upon messaging and value props. Additionally, sales and marketing must continue to communicate what’s working and what’s not to one another in order to optimize effectively.