Account Based Marketing programs are showing up in nearly every organization, but far too many show unimpressive returns—not because the strategy is flawed, but because the implementation is too shallow, too riddled with inefficiencies, or missing a key factor. To improve the efficiency and efficacy of your ABM program and see what it can really do, we recommend you optimize according to these ten tips:
Make data collection and analysis priority one
Your ABM program is only as good as your data infrastructure. If you can’t collect and analyze data from an abundance of sources—not just those spoon-fed to you by built-in analytics systems—then your ABM program will never achieve even a fraction of its true potential.
Your entire organization needs to be on board with ABM and its various tools, challenges, and approaches. That means taking the time to demonstrate in clear fashion the benefits of the new approach. Without buy-in, the system will never do its job properly—there are too many parts that need to work together smoothly for ABM to succeed with holdouts in the mix.
Set quantifiable organization-wide goals
Establish the goals your organization is pursuing in terms of profits or other gains, do so in concrete, testable terms, and make sure every department is working with those goals in mind. This is as much a rule of efficient business as it is effective ABM, but it bears special discussion because it’s so crucial to your productivity with this system.
Fine tune content
Content can’t be canned, boring, bland, impersonal. It defeats the entire purpose of the method. Take the time to build a content pipeline that can adapt to the needs of your organization, the expectations of your current target accounts, and new incoming data on what’s working and what’s not. It’s okay to depend upon a content library once you have a firm picture of what your high value segments look like, but it needs to be exhaustive, versatile, and varied.
Orchestrate your approach
The right hand must know what the left is doing for ABM to work. When an account is being targeted, you need marketing, sales, and anyone else that might interact with that account to understand what’s been done, what’s planned, what’s worked, what hasn’t. Everyone stays coordinated enough to deliver an orchestrated marketing campaign—not a disjointed bombardment.
Engage across multiple channels
Some may be tempted to cut back on channels to avoid a disjointed message, but this is drastically undermining your ABM efforts. One of the most common symptoms of an immature ABM strategy is an exclusive reliance on display ads; conversely, the healthiest ABM campaigns are working every viable channel for the target account. Repetition across different mediums reinforces the memory, the message, the impression—that’s how you make sales.
Ease collaboration between departments
Sales and marketing must be involved with every account—period. That means ensuring you have the right systems, tools, and personnel in place to make for smooth collaboration. You don’t want it to be easier to ignore the other half of the equation than to work together, and you don’t want the entire system to be a boondoggle, either.
Plan and prescribe with the data
Any ABM campaign only succeeds on the quality of the data behind it—and the best way to leverage that data is by planning around it and leaning upon it for prescriptive solutions. If you don’t have prescriptive analytics in place for the areas of your marketing where it makes sense, you’re losing quite a bit of efficiency. If you’re not looking at the numbers to inform your plans from day to day rather than making assumptions, you’re losing even more. Data is great—let it work for you.
Identify and prioritize high-value accounts
As your ABM campaign matures, you’ll want to take a step back and look at what sorts of accounts you’re succeeding with, what sorts of returns different account types provide, and where you could be improving. Most businesses will find accounts with options for upselling or cross-selling far more productive—if you can optimize to capture such accounts consistently. This can introduce a problem where you’re seeing great success with suboptimal accounts, and have to decide whether to capitalize on those successes or refocus for greater future profits—make sure you have the flexibility and data to pursue both without compromising the other.
Embrace rapid iteration and revision
Remember, the name of the game in ABM is revision. You can and should throw out strategies, tactics, content, and channels and see what sticks. You should have a cohesive, flexible system that can quickly move on to the next approach as the data rolls in. You should be able to dynamically revive a failing approach to an account, instead of giving up or following through on your failure.