From small ABM campaigns to large-scale programmes only a very few achieve the success they aim for when they attempt to scale ABM – why is this – what do you do about it? We have a view from 10+ years of ABM design, delivery and implementation.
Specially we’re brought in when traditional ABM programmes just aren’t delivering the ROI as they should, and it’s worth quickly understanding the key reasons why – that we typically see:
- Becoming me-too – Every enterprise player in some form has invested in ABM which means you’re not the only one targeting the same contacts with ABM – so you’re not differentiated, and you don’t stand out in the approach
- Relevancy and personalisation is lost – As many try to scale ABM they know that personalisation and relevancy works but in reality, the messaging they use becomes generic marketing and compromised – as a result, it just won’t resonate
- Scalability strategy – the ambition is to start with say 5 – 10 accounts and scale to 100 accounts but in reality, the way in which the design and foundations of the ABM programme have been developed it means you’re too stretched in terms of time and budget – you just become ineffective
The recent survey of over 300 B2B marketers from the annual B2B marketing conference illustrated that many are struggling to scale ABM and make it work. Quick wins here aren’t possible which is evident from the very basic and repeated advice many give on how to make ABM work.
There are some specific key foundational elements that must be in place to give you a fighting chance:
- Go to the nub of the problem right away – to be precise we mean two things here:
1) Pick the accounts that are specifically right for ABM rather than a debated wish list [several times we’ve seen the 10 accounts picked turn out not be the best ones and 6 months into ABM work it’s stopped….this is complete insanity] – don’t do it.
2) Identify the specific problem – Identify the central key barrier to account growth, such as the C-suite haven’t responded to your engagements in the last 12 months or you’re not seen as a strategic partner – by defining this you can design how ABM can re-engineer your position with the account as your first starting point – and expand ABM from there using insight and relationships secured. The point is you may have to strategically re-position how the C-suite perceive you – not just deliver marketing and sales messages.
- Don’t use ABM for prospect marketing – Only 36% of people surveyed said they used ABM for growth in existing accounts. ABM was originally created to generate and grow relationships and revenue from existing customers. Leave prospect marketing as a specific skill-set, messaging and engagement process.
- Go content light and be agile – You simply don’t need high-cost, time-draining and single use content and assets which are like placing a big bet that they will be right and capture the accounts interest. Start simple, with a simple way you can tell a new and engaging story to the account – through simple and agile channels, see it resonate and then develop content and assets as the engagement shows it justifies and will deliver results. ‘Hit and hope’ content is just not good enough anymore.
- Don’t rely on sales – Much is made about the alignment of sales and marketing and our advice is move to the quick-wins and Account Directors knowing they need to do something different and able to act quickly and flexibly – many in reality just can’t and you have to factor this into the time you invest – as it impacts the ROI you need to show.
To get ABM right is more complicated than a quick read of a blog and be careful of agencies selling you ABM when in reality they see marketing campaign revenue – many have jumped on the ABM train, which is disappointing. For more information on how to improve or approach ABM please take a look at our ABM SlideShare deck as a starting point.