In last week’s blog post we covered several ways marketers view Account-Based Marketing (ABM) and demand gen. The biggest question we answered was, “are the approaches compatible with each other? And if so, how?” We concluded that ABM and demand generation are in fact compatible with one another. “They run in parallel really nicely”, says Triblio’s Director of Strategic Accounts, Erin Pearson. We gathered that the best way to think about ABM within a demand gen framework is through targeted demand gen. This serves as a shift from lead-based to account-based. Campaigns are being run within the segments you’re interested in, therefore they result in higher quality leads and improved sales conversations.
As organizations are quickly adopting ABM to help them with various aspects of their campaigns, unfortunately, they aren’t taking the right precautions which can potentially lead to ABM failure. Account-based marketing challenges vary company by company. Based on our observations, here are three common ways that ABM can go wrong:
- Improperly transitioning from the existing approach to ABM
- Confusion behind what needs to be measured
- A lack of sales buy-in
Improperly transitioning from the existing approach to ABM
When companies begin to leverage ABM, we recommend not having them stop their current lead gen campaign to completely switch towards an account-based optimization approach. As ABM is a great tool to utilize, don’t forget it is compatible with targeted demand generation. The two approaches work together simultaneously. An example of the use of targeted demand gen is with our customer, Plex. Plex runs a 1: many campaigns that target over 40,000 accounts vertically. Plex sells cloud ERP software that is specialized for manufacturers in the auto and food manufacturing industry. Each of these industries receives a specific set of ads and homepage messaging. Moreso, it doesn’t make sense to completely strip a method that everyone is familiar with to introduce a completely new tactic. Instead, it’s better to have an incremental transition, meaning, before getting started with ABM, you should assess your current campaigns. To do so, follow these steps:
- Track target segments to see if customers are engaging with your current campaigns.
- Pay close attention to campaigns that are working and ditch those that are not working.
- Create a new strategy that would appeal to your target segment. This will lead you to make insight-driven decisions and educated guesses.
Confusion behind what needs to be measured
The next potential ABM downfall is a confusion behind what needs to be measured as part of the new approach. ABM doesn’t use the traditional standards of measurements that most marketing strategies use like web traffic, content downloads, and leads. Those standards don’t measure the impact of marketing campaigns on revenue, therefore, there is confusion around what should be measured when taking on an ABM approach. But if a company isn’t focusing on the traditional lead metrics, then what should they be focused on?
With ABM, marketers should be tracking account progression across the entire purchase journey. These metrics show when campaigns drive pipeline and revenue. This is considered top of the funnel marketing. One should be monitoring the purchase signals to see which campaigns your target accounts are responding to and where engagement is occurring. Utilize these signals to associate it with leading indicators to pipeline and revenue results. With this information, you can see if your campaigns are driving growth within your target audience. You can learn more about how you can measure ABM success here: https://triblio.com/how-to-measure-abm-success/
A lack of sales buy-in
Lastly, another way ABM can go wrong is if your sales team is not interested in ABM nor believes in it. When incorporating ABM into your marketing strategy, it’s not just your marketing department’s job to ensure that ABM is successful, it’s ultimately a team effort with the support and coordination from both marketing and the sales team.
Many sales teams may be reluctant to get on board with another tactic, especially if they’re used to what they’ve been doing. Additionally, some salespeople might say things along the line of “we’ll get fewer opportunities” or “it’s super complex and won’t work.” Sure, you may get fewer opportunities, but the ones you will receive are highly-qualified. ABM is a proven strategy with high ROI. However, without sales buy-in, your ABM program will fall flat.
The best way to get your sales team on board is by introducing it slowly to the team. Consider approaching a few sales reps at a time. Present the concept of ABM and allow your sales rep some time to see success. Once they begin to see how the insights from ABM are helping them close deals, more sales reps will want to follow that path as well.
If you would like to hear how our customers, Jimmy Montchal, Senior Digital Marketing Manager at Parchment or Hasaan Brown, Performance Marketing Director at Dodge Data & Analytics, got their sales team to buy into ABM, watch the following Customer Stories:
Dodge Data & Analytics: https://vimeo.com/345776030
While introducing ABM can be challenging, it can also be very rewarding in the end. Our recommendation is to reevaluate the channels you’re using right now and figure out what is working well. When incorporating ABM, we view it as redirecting your marketing strategy not introducing something completely new and eliminating your current programs. By implementing an ABM approach, you are able to further enhance your existing strategy.