5 Signs Your Marketing Team Isn’t Ready for ABM

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Monday, March 9, 2020

Account Based Marketing (ABM) promises incredible benefits – but only if you’re able to get it right. By focusing resources on the companies that are most likely to convert, you can cut costs and improve sales. But this means putting all your eggs into just a few baskets. Compared to reaching out to the masses, it may seem risky.

Article 5 Minutes

Done with the right planning, approach and insight, ABM can easily succeed - but that doesn’t mean you should jump right in. Not all teams are ready for ABM, so if you want to launch a pilot campaign, it pays to be prepared.

Here we look at 5 signs that your team isn’t ready, and what you can do to change that.

1) Sales and marketing aren’t aligned

One of the most important factors for getting ABM right is having sales and marketing alignment. What’s particularly interesting in a lot of businesses is how sales and marketing departments operate disjointedly, yet very little is ever done about it.

Historically, the traditional business structure hasn’t done much in the way of nurturing collaboration. This means that sales and marketing teams have always acted in silos, and have no idea how to work together harmoniously. For successful ABM, having a united sales and marketing facility is crucial.

Stats tell us that companies with good sales and marketing alignment generate 208% more revenue from their marketing efforts. Not only can sales provide critical feedback to help marketing teams build the right target account list, but marketing can help sales win over big accounts with a considered approach – it’s a two way street to success.  

Together, sales and marketing can build the right framework for ABM. And it’s essential to define clear processes, responsibilities and even terminology. The level of alignment needs to run through every layer too, from business and functional alignment all the way to executional alignment.

Account-Based Marketing Research Report

2) You don’t have the right software

ABM tech needs to do its job across the funnel, all the way from key account identification and account engagement to analysis and measuring results. Not only do you need available budget to invest in the technology, but you need the resources and expertise to integrate too. 40% of B2B marketers invest around 25-50% of their budget in ABM strategies, but this isn’t possible if you don’t have the right technology in the first place.

As you begin to plan your ABM strategy, you’ll need to ensure seamless integration with existing systems like CRM and marketing automation. It’s also important to begin considering how you plan to measure and monitor the ROI of your campaigns, so the technologies you choose provide the most valuable insight, helping you connect results directly to revenue.

3) Your team is inexperienced

Lack of experience in itself isn’t a reason to avoid ABM, but a lack of support could be. It’s important for businesses more comfortable with traditional marketing methods to find a strategic partner to help them navigate ABM. Unlike the strategies and technologies used in mass marketing, ABM requires a refined approach as well as a different data mind-set when it comes to segmentation.

Personalization is also key, so understanding the best way to execute campaigns once you have your target list is vital to their efficacy. Having a reliable partner to help you manage the process, create quality content and put metrics in place is highly recommended for businesses that are new to this type of marketing.

Bringing expert ABM specialists on board will help you realize the right strategy (whether that’s one-to-one, one-to-few, one-to-many, or a mixture of all three). A strategic partner can also give you access to their in-house tools, which can save you money on acquiring ABM technology yourself.

4) Your data is full of holes

ABM starts with a targeted account selection exercise, but it’s much more complicated than just choosing the shiniest looking accounts. You’ll need to use a mix of demographic and firmographic data to analyze accounts of every size or industry. Then you also need to have the right contacts in those companies, because ultimately, ABM is based on P2P (People to People) communication. If you don’t have up-to-date contact details then you’re off to a bad start.

This is why it’s extremely important to fill in all the gaps in your data. Make sure everything is up to date, from contacts, addresses and company information to any known business requirements. The biggest mistake that companies make is assuming all this information is accurate. Over time, data will degrade, so if you haven’t done any data cleaning in the last two years, a significant number of records could be outdated.

Additionally, you will also need to make sure that you have the right intent data across all channels. Intent data is behavioral data collected from online activities that show interest in your product or service. Without intent, you simply can’t build a high quality TAL (target account list) of high-converting buyers. This sort of data could be anything from searches using keywords and queries to browsing behavior (cookies and categories) to predictive intent such as lookalike modelling.

5) You don’t have a capable content team

Finally, if you don’t have an awesome content team, you’re not ready for your first ABM campaign. Personalized content is used by over half (53%) of marketers, making it the second most popular tactic in ABM (predictive analytics is used by 55% of marketers). Mass marketing style content that addresses large groups simply won’t do the trick, so nimble content production with quality messaging and personalization is vital.

If you don’t have the in-house talent or available resources, don’t let it deter you. Partnering with a content production team that has experience in delivering beautiful, compelling and customized content can ensure your ABM campaign is executed to perfection.

Not only does your content team need to know how to communicate with different accounts and contacts (and across various platforms), but they also need to be agile and reactive to emerging trends. And your teams will need to be aligned to ensure that the delivery of content happens at the right time. Without alignment across your business, ABM won’t be successful.

Account-Based Marketing Research Report

Access the full Account-Based Marketing Research Report, here.

Looking for more advice on how you can effectively run account-based marketing in your business? Check out our comprehensive guide, here.

Inbox Insight

That's what they want to hear!

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Inbox Insight promote the best B2B content marketing practices enhanced by a data-driven approach. We believe putting audience insights at the heart of every digital campaign, drives superior experiences for both our business communities and clients.

It’s about continuously leveraging audience intelligence to understand what they want to hear, and translating this into thoughtful demand generation campaigns that resonate with decision makers across the full buyer journey.

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