We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again, the B2B marketing paradigm is shifting, and account-based marketing (ABM) is shaping up to be the new norm. Marketers everywhere are championing ABM because we all know it works. However, there are still many challenges marketers face when trying to implement ABM, one of which includes getting buy-in from the C-Suite.
Pitching an account-based marketing strategy to your executive team can be tricky. While ABM has shown to drive higher ROI than other forms of marketing, 84% to be exact, the C-Suite still needs a little more convincing. Today, we’re going to be your guide in pursuing your executive team to adopt ABM.
1. Identify Gaps
A great way to show your executive team that account-based marketing is worth their investment is by pointing out lost opportunities under the current strategy. By leveraging in-house historical sales and marketing data, you can make the case for ABM with your own numbers, something the C-Suite is familiar with.
If you’re looking for an edge, ABM vendors like Triblio will help you analyze your current marketing campaigns for free. For example, you can run one of our scripts on your website to get a report on how your target accounts are engaging with current campaigns.
2. Develop a Business Plan
Every good business plan is founded on good research. What’s the best way to launch ABM? How do you increase your chances of success? What’s the expected ROI? Your executive team is going to ask all these questions and more. When putting together a plan, be clear about your objectives (pipeline growth) and comprehensive in your proposal, covering all your bases from timeline and budget to personnel and technology.
There’s a lot of questions to be asked and answers to be found. You may want to start by finding companies like yours that have successfully adopted ABM. Go to tradeshows, interview people in your network, talk to industry experts, and evaluate vendors. See what others are doing, and incorporate what works into the plan for your organization.
3. Focus on the Bottom Line
You don’t want to beat around the bush when you’re presenting your case to the C-Suite. Get to the bottom line. What does that mean? It means showing them hard numbers and metrics, or at least forecasting results based on standard benchmarks and historical data.
If I were to bet, your executives will want to hear about both growth and acceleration metrics. How much will you increase pipeline? And how much will you accelerate pipeline (decrease sales cycles) and therefore bring in more revenue more efficiently?
One way to frame the conversation is to borrow concepts from Triblio’s Funnel Impact Report. It measures the number of accounts that are unengaged, reached, engaged, MQAs, and in pipeline right now, and then forecasts how long it will take to move a certain number of accounts from unengaged to pipeline with ABM.
4. Rally the Troops
Rally the troops, and we don’t mean your C-Suite. We’re talking about sales. Sales teams play a critical role in executing successful ABM campaigns. Without proper sales follow-up that convert engaged prospects to real opportunities, you’re letting much of your marketing efforts go to waste. According to research conducted by SiriusDecision, “Only 36 percent of companies deploying ABM consider sales and marketing tightly aligned. This missed opportunity leads to ineffective ABM design and execution.”
However, sales teams can often be an obstacle when rolling out ABM. AEs and SDRs are notoriously slow to buy into process changes. They don’t want to get bogged down by rules and procedures, they just want to sell. Fortunately, ABM strategies can bring a lot of value to sales reps. Show your sales leader how ABM will support their reps with unified air cover and provide actionable insights for their accounts. If you don’t rally your sales team early, they may leave you hanging when you sell ABM to your executive team.
Let’s face it, if execs are paying close attention to customer-centric metrics and talk about moving upmarket, then ABM is a good fit. But without their buy-in, it will be difficult for an organization to implement and execute ABM the right way. Account-based marketing will require companies to pivot but that needs to happen from the top down. By teaming up your sales and marketing departments and using hard numbers to illustrate the financial impact of ABM, you will be able to persuade your C-Suite that this new approach is the way to go.