Account Based Marketing as a strategy is not something that can be undertaken on a whim. It takes a serious level of commitment and strategizing to produce worthwhile results; there are no half-measures when it comes to ABM. But, this strategy is not restricted to particular types of organizations. Any organization can implement Account Based Marketing, it’s just a matter of how the approach is calibrated.
The question you face when executing an ABM plan is: efficiency or effectiveness? Depending on the revenue structure of your organization one tactic will make more sense than the other. An efficiency model will be focused on utilizing resources and producing the best results possible with those resources. Focusing on effectiveness will result in closing as many deals with targeted accounts as possible, potentially at the cost of efficiency. Both have their benefits and downsides, and the decision as to what course to take will be unique to each organization.
No matter the approach taken, Account Based Marketing can provide huge opportunities and unlock a level of Sales and Marketing alignment that might not exist in a traditional setting. DemandBase reports that 70% of companies that use an ABM strategy say their Sales and Marketing teams are either completely or mostly aligned; only 51% of non-ABM organizations say the same.
The benefits are clear from a revenue standpoint, as well. DemandBase also found that average contract values increase when using an ABM approach: mid-market accounts saw a 40% higher value, and enterprise level saw a 35% increase.
It’s evident that Account Based Marketing provides many positives, from improved Sales and Marketing alignment to a demonstrable increase in business. But if ABM were easy, everyone would be doing it. So how do you implement this strategy?
Let’s take a look at an Account Based Marketing framework that provides insights into how an ABM strategy should be structured. Below are three non-negotiables for getting Account Based Marketing off the ground for any organization.
Sales and Marketing Alignment
Before anything else, Sales and Marketing must meet to make sure they are on the same page. Without Sales and Marketing alignment, Account Based Marketing cannot survive. Getting both teams in the same room to lay the groundwork to spearheading ABM.
An initial meeting will cover many different topics including:
- Determining the amount of coverage available for dedicating resources to ABM efforts
- Agreeing on responsibilities and roles for every team member involved
- Devising data points and benchmarks that will provide helpful insights into how successful the ABM program is
After this meeting, Sales and Marketing should both have a good understanding of their role – and how they are going to support each other’s initiatives. This understanding will create a more open environment in which each department is aware of what the other is doing and comfortable sharing information.
ABM is unique for its ability to bring Sales and Marketing teams together. This is crucial for the next step in the Account Based Marketing Framework.
Of course, the entire idea behind Account Based Marketing is to focus your efforts on a handful of targets. It stands to reason then, that one of the most important parts of implementing ABM is determining the criteria for selecting these targets. Creating a target list is undoubtedly essential, but it doesn’t come without its challenges.
Critical qualifications need to be determined to produce an appropriate and reasonable list of accounts to target. After the initial meeting between Sales and Marketing to determine basics like available resources, each department needs to perform tribal research to discover qualifications that will be important to ensuring their success.
The considerations for what qualifies an account can include:
- Revenue: depending on the size of your organization, filtering target accounts by revenue is an easy way to determine initial fit.
- Growth: is the target account growing in such a way that they will be receptive to your efforts and solutions?
- Competitor Accounts: are there specific accounts that currently work with your competitors that could have the potential to be won over?
Also important to take into account are any threads that connect current clients that can be extrapolated into overarching themes. If you can derive trends from won deals, leverage that information to inform the kind of accounts you should be targeting.
This will be an ongoing process. As opportunities are won, lost, or postponed, it will be necessary to replenish the list of targets with qualified accounts. Every data point will be instructive in informing the set of qualifications. As your ABM strategy matures, your target list will become smarter and produce more opportunities.
But before you get there, you need to get ready to launch your Account Based Marketing plan.
When Sales and Marketing are aligned and a solid list of target accounts is in place, it’s time think about actually launching your Account Based Marketing efforts.
Initially, there may be some reorganizing of roles and responsibilities as team members focus more (or all) of their efforts on ABM. For seasoned Sales and Marketing professionals this may pose a challenge. While tactics and techniques for ABM aren’t dissimilar to traditional lead-gen strategies, the way they are deployed requires a degree of recalibration.
It’s important that everyone is on the same page when it comes to their efforts in making ABM a success. One key component that is necessary to convey is that personalization and measurement should be overlaying every single activity that is undertaken. Personalization is critical for establishing relationships with target accounts. Measurement is necessary for analyzing which efforts are successful and which need fine tuning. These are not new concepts, but they are even more critically important for Account Based Marketing.
Regular communication between Sales and Marketing will be key in ensuring the success of your efforts. Scheduling meetings, creating calendars for activities, recording agreed upon strategies, detailing what everyone is responsible for, and establishing spreadsheets to document all of the data that will be generated, are critical in the ramp up to launching Account Based Marketing.
Having the necessary infrastructure in place to launch your Account Based Marketing strategy will provide everyone with a strong chance of succeeding, and allow you to hit the ground running. Successfully implementing ABM requires dedication and planning but when done right, it produces results that make it all worthwhile.
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