Account-based marketing remains a key buzzword in the B2B marketing industry. While the techniques are not new, technology has made these strategies more accessible – meaning more companies than ever are adopting ABM, whether they are ready for it or not. Understanding your organization’s readiness for ABM is a key metric that will determine the success – or the challenge – of your ABM programs.
Maybe you’ve dipped your toes in ABM, but never found the right groove or metric for success that you were looking for. Maybe you’ve never heard of ABM and if so, great! This is a strategy that can help marketers of all types at companies of all sizes.
To help you gauge where you are in your organization’s ABM journey, we turned to our in-house ABM veteran about what you need and what to expect when ramping up an ABM program. That’s why we put together this quiz – to help you to understand what stage in the journey you’re on, and how ready your organization or team is for ABM. Use this as a guide to help you figure out whether ABM is the right answer for your marketing needs, and if so, how ready your organization is to incorporate ABM tactics into your marketing and sales strategy.
There are 12 key questions you need to ask yourself before you start down the road to ABM success.
Are You Ready for ABM?
How do you define ABM?
How deep is the understanding of what account-based marketing is and how it can supplement your general demand generation programs?
Are your marketing and sales teams aligned?
How coordinated are your current efforts between your marketing initiatives and sales goals? Are your marketing goals tied to your sales team’s revenue goals?
Does ABM fit into your existing marketing budget?
Is there flexibility within your current budget to pilot an ABM program? You can run a pilot ABM program without any extra budget, but you need to set expectations around reach, engagement, and movement with target accounts depending on your budget. Starting small is okay, and a better play when you are testing out ABM.
Will your product/organization benefit from ABM?
This question is a bit leading. Almost every company could benefit from ABM, but the best use case is for B2B. Large or small B2B organizations can easily benefit from the focused, targeted tactics that make up account-based marketing.
What is your overall goal? Reach, engagement, pipeline influence?
Good news! ABM will help you with all of these. The most important thing is to set expectations properly based on how much budget you want to dedicate to ABM.
Do you understand your buyer personas, the buying committee and buying stages for your product?
If you don’t know your perfect buyer or ideal prospect, it’s almost impossible to successfully take advantage of the benefits that ABM provides. The same can be said for the buying committee, and the buyer’s journey when it comes to your product. By mastering these three aspects of your customers, your ABM programs will be far more effective in the long run.
Does your marketing team have the bandwidth and functions to incorporate ABM?
ABM is typically spearheaded by one or two members of a marketing team, but it can be done with a lighter touch if your team doesn’t have the bandwidth. It is important to be consistent however, which becomes far easier with at least one person dedicated to account-based marketing.
Will ABM work with your current tech stack?
ABM may require a few technical functions to work. Don’t worry, you don’t need to rip and replace your entire tech stack to ensure success – but you may need to fill in gaps or find more advanced solutions over time. Tools to help you identify and segment the ideal accounts help, as well as those that can automate and dynamically change messaging through the journey. Don’t forget about data and analytics, the lifeblood of every ABM program. Finally, measurement is crucial in order to develop a successful long-term ABM strategy for your business.
Is everyone bought in, from a leadership and operational level?
Trying out new techniques can be difficult if you don’t have the buy-in of your leadership and operational teams. You need to give them proper expectations for the results of your ABM strategies as well, otherwise they can quickly become disillusioned by this “shiny new toy.”
Is your customer/prospect data ready to support ABM strategies?
“60% of companies have an overall data health that’s ‘unreliable,” according to SiriusDecisions. That’s not going to work with ABM, so make sure you’re confident in your data before incorporating ABM into your marketing strategies.
How many digital and offline channels are you able to run campaigns in? I.e. email, advertising, lead generation, social, direct mail?
The more channels you can run campaigns in, the better you’ll be able to target your perfect buyers and reach them where they spend the most time.
Are your sellers prepared to fulfill their end of the program? I.e. outreach to warm prospects?
Without the alignment of marketing and sales, you can’t accomplish much with ABM. Marketing can toss up the perfect alley-oop, but they need sales to come in and pull the sale through the final stages. Without that execution, it doesn’t matter how effective your communications are. Every single touch or interaction that your company has with a prospect needs to be cohesive or your prospects may get confused or turned off to your product.
Takeaways You Can Implement Right Now
Start small. Run an inexpensive pilot program for 3-6 months against a very select group of accounts. Not only is it manageable, but it will help you easily see where your gaps are and fix them. Everything from operations, targeting, execution and follow-up. Technology is a key player in the success of ABM, but you don’t need to replace your entire stack. See what’s missing and see what is failing. Be open to exploring new technology and learning as you go.
Once you have sales and marketing on board with the concept. Find a few “advocates” on the sales team to partner on the program.
Who are we talking to? Where are they in the buyer’s journey? Use intent data to help support that these accounts are even trending on your services at the moment. Do you need more opted-in people at the accounts to talk to? Think about using an ABM lead generation program.
What are you going to say? Is your messaging geared towards your audience? Repurpose content off the shelf, but perhaps tweak it. Work with outside services to add more content for always-on nurturing.
Select which channels you can talk to your audience. Use lead gen to hyper-target your content to the right people at the target accounts, use email to continue nurturing those leads and keep a constant message in front of the prospect. ABM display is a perfect way to target only the right accounts and create air cover for brand awareness.
Promote the same message and content via LinkedIn for another easy-to-use channel to connect with your customers and prospects.
Hit heavily engaged leads with a mailer to carry them over the finish line. Prepare your sales team with exactly what the ABM playbook looks like, key talking points for follow-up and alerts in CRM to keep tabs on progress.
Set realistic expectations on what a pilot output will deliver. Depending on your sales cycle, a 3-month pilot may show an ROI on your program. But if you have a long sales cycle, it’s more likely you’ll be able to gauge how well you can reach your target accounts, get them to engage with your material and pass them to sales for quick follow-up. Use metrics like the increase in quality people engaging with content via lead generation tactics, site visits from the right accounts and/or further downloads of gated content.
Interested in learning more about how Madison Logic can help you accelerate your pipeline and convert your best accounts faster? Get in touch and our team will reach out to discuss how we can help you engage with the most influential individuals throughout the buyer journey.