Execute Account-Based strategies with confidence that your account data will be complete, trusted and shared at every stage in the customer journey
Account-based marketing (ABM) is a strategy in which a company targets a select group of accounts that represent significantly higher expansion or growth opportunities with tailored marketing and sales support. It’s a pervasive strategy, with over 70% of marketers at midsize to large B2B organizations executing some level of account-based go-to-market, according to Gartner.
Companies who adopt ABM successfully see improved conversion rates throughout the funnel, increased web traffic, and improved advertising and email performance in Marketing. And in Sales – higher win rates, faster sales cycles, and increased deal sizes. But while the majority of organizations are trying ABM – not all are seeing these types of results.
To get ABM right, these are MUST HAVES:
The right accounts
Alignment across teams
A complete and adaptable tech stack
Trustworthy data required
Every account-based marketing strategy depends on a deep understanding of the accounts and prospects you’re targeting. For effective targeting, you need to know:
Knowing this about your existing customers is tough enough – and requires unifying data from internal sources, customer and rep interviews and third party data providers. Assuming you’ve navigated that project successfully, finding look-alikes presents another challenge.
For account data, you’ll need to stitch together data from multiple third party providers to capture demographics, technographics and intent (the hottest trend in ABM). Once that’s been compiled, you have to curate a list of relevant contacts within that account and somehow bring all of that data into your CRM, MAP and SEP and merge it all together seamlessly with your existing accounts, contacts and leads.
It’s possible, just requires careful planning and a mess of technology.
Picking accounts isn’t hard, it’s picking the right accounts. Getting alignment, on the other hand, is hard. It requires sales and marketing alignment on ABM objectives, priorities and tactics – and this alignment should ideally extend to all teams responsible for the customer journey. Why? The customer can literally feel misalignment when breakdowns or inconsistencies show up in their experience (e.g. slow response times, broken handoffs, conflicting message or duplicated outreach) which directly impacts revenue.
There are 4 dimensions to this alignment, each with their own ABM-centric challenges:
An account-based strategy is designed to break down siloed processes and allow for more synchronized activities. Assuming there’s a strategy and objectives in place, building the processes and required business logic to support the strategy should naturally follow. Translating that business logic into the various departmental systems involved and updating this logic when the strategy (or even just target account list) changes, not so natural.
The amount of data collected about an account and all relevant contacts throughout the customer journey is massive, complex, and loaded with insights. Aligning this data into a complete view is a must, but it’s not enough. Everyone who needs access to this complete view should have it – ideally in the system where they work. If aligned data is only in your CRM or a data warehouse, it’s trapped and inaccessible to key participants in your ABM strategy.
By definition, an ABM strategy will involve cross-functional processes that jump across systems of record (e.g from MAP to CRM or CRM to ERP). These systems don’t speak the same language (e.g. MAP has Leads, CRM has Leads and Contacts), so it’s important to develop a lingua franca for your business and ensure each system can operate accordingly.
If you have your processes, data and systems aligned – getting your people aligned is manageable. Without that alignment, you’ll spend valuable time debating biased data and pointing fingers when processes break.
Beware of the Frankenstack
As ABM strategies have matured, the number of applications and data providers has exploded. There are now tools for nearly every step in the process – from account selection through engagement and reporting that informs adjustments to strategy.
Assembling a “best-of-breed” stack means signing up to manage an ABM product of your own, complete with a roadmap, requirements and maintenance. It’s been done, but it isn’t cheap, both in terms of software spend and headcount. And frustratingly, getting these tools to work together is often so impractical it feels impossible.
Another challenge: most of these systems weren’t designed to operate on “accounts” — making both executing programs and measuring their success yet another complexity of executing on ABM.
Align, Analyze, Activate
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