Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to be part of an ABM panel with Jon Miller (Engagio), Anand Kulkarni (LeadGenius), Dave Rigotti (Bizible) and moderated by Maria Pergolino (Apptus). It was a fun, engaging panel discussion and I learned a lot from my fellow panelists.
There were many good things said throughout the evening, and not just by the panelists. We touched on several ABM-related topics that deserve broader attention so I’ll blog about these more in coming days. For now, here are my three big takeaways from the evening –
- Think Differently About Account Selection – The conventional view in ABM regarding account selection is that ABM should be employed only for the very highest value accounts i.e. when you’re selling to enterprise segment or when your average deal size is in the seven figures. However, the panel briefly discussed how this view might be outdated. With the advent of newer technologies, like those from Engagio, LeadGenius and Triblio, scaling ABM to reach a broader set of lower value accounts is not only possible but is desirable. Limiting ABM tactics to simply your million dollar deals no longer makes sense, however you may want to tier the level of personalized outreach for the broader target account set.
- “Account-based” is for both sales and marketing. The rise of ABM is fueled by forward thinking B2B companies taking an account-based approach, not simply for marketing, but also for sales. What does this mean for marketers? I think this means that we need to systematically add value to the post-MQL buying process.
Today, marketing’s role is limited to simply delivering MQLs to the sales team. If the account-based approach is going to yield benefit for B2B organizations, marketers need to add value to the sales team beyond MQL generation. This means impacting the buying process beyond MQL delivery and running orchestrated campaigns in concert with the sales process. These campaigns need to drive direct account engagement as well as providing insights to sales about those accounts.
- B2B marketers are still trying to figure out how to get started with ABM. In speaking to a number of super-smart marketers at the event, I was left with the impression that while most are conceptually bought into ABM, they are still struggling to figure out how to operationalize ABM for their business today. ABM is often pitched as a better alternative to the leads based demand model, leading many marketers to think of this in terms of a zero/sum game – you’re either ditching leads model and only applying ABM or you’re staying with traditional lead generation and saying no to ABM.
The reality is that companies can ill afford to ditch their current demand gen programs, nor should they. The most successful companies with ABM typically begin in one of two modes.
- The first approach is to apply ABM tactics to the traditional demand gen model. A simple example of this is using account-based web personalization to drive more leads for specific target account segments. Several of our customers do this to great effect and will often see gains of 30% -50% in leads for targeted account segments within 45 days of campaign launch. By taking this approach, these customers can take those quick wins and expand ABM tactics deeper into the buying cycle.
- The second approach on how to get started with ABM is to simply identify a narrow account set and apply ABM to that set. For instance, customers will often carve out a list of strategic accounts to begin targeting with ABM tactics. Alternatively, other customers may select a specific vertical to be reached via ABM campaigns.
In either case, you start small, learn quick, get wins, and then expand ABM more broadly throughout the organization.