First things first. And this may seem a bit elementary. You should only implement an Account-Based Marketing (ABM) program if you stand to make a decent return. You may not have it down exactly, but you should have a good idea about a customer's profitability.
You might think that it couldn't hurt to go through the motions of ABM for every account, and that's certainly your prerogative. But you may get in deeper with financial and time investments than you are able to give. No one likes to quit midstream, so it's a good idea to do some fundamental discovery about ABM before launching gung ho into something that may be better off waiting until a more opportune time, if at all, for each customer.
ABM Simply Isn't a Good Idea for Everybody
ABM isn't a numbers game. At least when it comes to customer volume. It focuses on quality, not quantity. It's not just another demand gen initiative to fill a pipeline with leads. ABM is very focused, very specific. And sometimes companies don't either have the appropriate resources or customers to launch it, let alone maintain it for the long run. You need high-value accounts with clearly defined contacts in order to make ABM work at any level.
Count Your Resources Before Making the Leap
ABM requires significant investment if you do it right. You need to continually tailor messaging and offers to the appropriate contacts at your high-value accounts. Devoting a substantial amount of time to just one client can be all consuming, so imagine what happens when you have several ABM potentials. Investing in people to operate the ABM program is also an expense if you are working with just a basic marketing team.
ABM requires that Marketing and Sales work together at all times, so there's no real downtime to direct your marketing team to other programs. ABM is a full-on commitment, and you need to understand the scope of it in terms of finances and people investments before you launch, and there's no going back without complications.
Sales and Marketing Must Work Together
In past scenarios, marketing would work hard on programs to generate leads which would then be turned over to the sales department. However, ABM works with a different twist. Marketing and Sales work together to target individuals at the customer level. Never before has there been such close collaboration between the two departments. And never before has customer information been held by one group exclusively.
Marketing may be responsible for messaging, but in ABM, the content is significantly individualised, and Sales can bring the specialised information to the table to be appropriately disseminated. If your organisation is still standoffish about the two groups working so closely together you may want to postpone an ABM initiative at least until they can play well together in the marketing sandbox.
Your Business May Not Be at the Right Stage
Just because you love the idea of rich profitability usually associated with Account Based Marketing, doesn't mean you should start counting the wins. Your company may not be ready for such a leap, and there are a few ways to tell if this is so. For example, if you're still at the product fit stage, you're probably not a candidate for ABM. Also, if you have low average deal values, ABM is probably not your thing. And if you don't have a fully functioning marketing department in your organisation, you'll want to hold off on ABM until you can beef up your resources.
Think in Terms of Marathon, Not Sprints
Clearly, ABM requires investments of all sorts in your organisation. But the lure of relatively easy revenue can blind some to the efforts required to launch successfully. But launching is just the beginning. You have to think in terms of long run strategies because ABM isn't a set-it-and-forget-it proposition. From the moment you engage with your first ABM client, you enter into a commitment that requires input from you at the appropriate times throughout the life of the customer relationship.
Not sure if Account Based Marketing is for you? Contact us, and we'll help you define requirements and investigate your resources to determine if starting ABM now is a good idea. It may be that you're not quite ready, but we can help you get there so you, too, can start enjoying all the lucrative benefits of an ABM program.