As we know, account-based marketing has been around for a few years and It is becoming a sought after lead acquisition strategy for B2B Marketers.
“Account-based marketing (ABM) is a well-known strategic marketing approach which acts on targeted account as its own market.”
It is happening to be highly personalized and focused campaign. Which is why it is generating a higher ROI compared to any other approach.
ABM starts with building the ideal customer profile (ICP) and push up that insight to create a target account list (TAL) those are (highly) interested to buy the product or services the business offers.
Furthermore, marketer focuses more on the TAL to nurture them down to the opportunity.
With ABM, it is a great opportunity to bring the sales team and marketing team on the same page.
Well, it was a brief theory about ABM, as someone said, the theory is the simplest way in any process, the difficult is what we call implementation.
Based on our research and lessons learned in ABM Implementation we have listed below the most common challenges and how we can over them.
Let’s dig a little dipper in these challenges and understand the solutions.
The concept of ABM is laser-focused targeting the key revenue contributors. Ideal customer profile allows you to know your key revenue contributors well.
While creating an ICP you must take CRM data into consideration. The idea behind ICP is to clone the current high value providing customer and build matching criteria. In this case, CRM data is the best source you can have.
ICP needs to consider some key factors of prospects such as age, location, job position, and interests.
The purpose behind creating detailed ICP is to help marketers to craft asset according to target customer interest, that opens the many possibilities for personalization. ICP also unlocks the channel selection method for a campaign, channel selection is a key factor that can affect the engagement of the campaign.
So having incorrect or less detailed ICP might create serious challenges in the actual implementation of a campaign. Strategy makers, marketers and sales team need to work together to resolves these early issues.
Many marketers fall in ‘the more we have, better it will be’ attitude. When ABM is a purely qualitative approach. As we can agree on the fact that building TAL is the most important stage in designing the ABM campaign we also could not deny the fact that how do you do it also make a difference.
Smart strategy maker knows that digging into those 4-5% existing high-value customer in CRM is an ultimate source of TAL building for the next campaign, while predictive analysis also comes in a rescue.
Having TAL is not enough. Your TAL list should be clean and not bulk. Simply segmenting TAL according to the maturity level of account helps marketers to implement the campaign effectively. Vice versa, not simplifying segmentation according to the maturity level of account create content personalization challenges.
You can segment TAL for its readiness to buy, firmographic info, and industry vertical criteria.
The domain name is a critical criterion to fetch that qualified lead from the given account or domain. Do marketers know where they can fail? A minor change in a domain name can cause your team a major hurdle to get that most anticipated lead.
For instance – an account name which has a domain name ending ‘.com’, also have possibilities to have some other domain name ending, such as ‘.co.in’, ‘.us’, ‘uk’, etc.
It is why the location and subdomain consideration is important while developing ICP and TAL. With no surprise, the marketers at APSS Media agreed on the point that, domain name mismatch costs a ton of time and efforts and bring down the efficiency of a campaign.
Without the right contact information of the contacts within the account, ABM campaign is considered to be not successful. For a greater penetration within the accounts, marketers must need the right contact information of the key decision-makers.
B2B Marketers should harness the power of actionable lead database while targeting the accounts. To gain the account insights marketers need a complete understanding of the business structure of an account and contact data of the key decision-makers within it.
Having the right contact information helps marketers to reach decision-makers and engage them well. This automatically increases the account coverage and so the ABM success.
The importance of personalization has gone up like never before. Marketing needs personalization and ABM is not an exclusion. ABM’s core is extreme personalization.
With personalization, marketers also need to mind the ‘content experience’ and craft the assets and journey according to it.
If you fail to make contact feel important, understood and heard with the personalized content and campaign, it might create proper implementation and mapping challenges.
Poor personalization results lower engaging rate and so affect overall coverage of an account.
“If you can’t measure, you can’t improve.”
We need to look ABM as not similar inbound because it is indeed not. ABM is an outreach approach unlike inbound. As said before, the number of leads hardly counts as a success parameter of any ABM campaign.
When we were interviewing our experienced B2B Marketers, we crossed them with a question of how much lead do you think is ideal to define a campaign if it is conducted successfully? Their answer was, ‘one’, maybe ‘two’ or ‘hundred ‘as long as it matches the criteria, can say ‘exactly what client needs’.
Within an account it is very important you reach the person you ‘need’ and not everyone. That’s why we say to understand the hierarchy of a company and the key decision-makers within it.
After you reach the right contact, keeping an eye on his engagement with the content is something marketer need to be serious about.
Engagement counts. How you develop a long term relationship with the contact defines the future of your marketing program.
Here are some questions and their answers from the interview of marketers.
The answers are curated from three different B2B Marketers.
Answer: Define. Personalize. Execute. Measure. Have a clear understanding of your customers. Have zero mercy to understand the market, ICP and super interested TAL. It is half war won, but always edge your marketing sword with the extremely personalized content. DMU (Decision Making Units) gotta feel that we are being heard, we are important and this is something purely made for us.
Answer: “It is how you see the readiness to buy an account. Just imagine a pyramid, slice it in three parts, in upper part let’s say we consider accounts or DMU or a key decision-maker who are ready to talk one to one. The highly interested one and ready to buy segment.
The second part is for accounts who need multi-touchpoint campaign to nurture well. The third part, let’s say the account is amateur as they are little aware of the problems so we take them to inbound to make aware about the same. Although the model is basic and can be different in a different agency, there is no formula for it.”
Answer: “My favorite is domain name mismatch (laughs). This seems a minor issue but can be a reason for a headache. Although, we research clean to get what is needed because error-free contact info is what we want to achieve. We hate bounce mail or rejected calls. For us, less is more, as long as you go with quality.
Answer: “The list goes on. Account irrelevancy is also something cause as a speed breaker. Also, industry vertical got wrong. And, time to send emails to higher executives. Personalization fails (happen seldom and because of less detailed ICP). Also, the more criteria we have the more the campaign become bulky and so inefficient.”
Answer: Yes (depends on requirement)
Answer: “as said, domain name, account name, not responding quality check calls/mail. not matching the criteria.”
Answer: “We move fast to the root of issues. We are there to be responsible for the problem. We get the client back. Resolve queries and try to go agile in the execution process. Nevertheless, we give our best to prevent all the falls with our quality checks.”
Answer: "Get back to the client."
Answer: 4/4/5 (Three different responses)
Interviewer: What channels are you using to talk to the client's target accounts?
Answer: Fully Integrated ABM Program with a multichannel approach. (If needed Includes Social Media such as LinkedIn)
Interviewer: How do you support the fact that - "the error-free campaign specs a marketer receives the better for him/her to deliver the campaign with high efficiency and at the right time?
Answer: Strongly agree!!!
Interviewer: How can you tell whether the ABM campaign is done successfully?
Answer: Account coverage. The more we cover the account with valid engagement metrics, the better for sales enablement.
Interviewer: Account coverage based on…?
Answer: “Based on how many rights leads we reached, engaged within a specific account. And. How many accounts we reach from TAL. Both ways”
Counter question: ‘Do we measure the lead counts per account as a success parameter’
Answer: “No. It is not a number game. It is all about quality.”