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Fes Askari

Head of Inbound Sales

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account based marketing mistakes

We explore the common mistakes B2B marketers make when planning and implementing ABM - and how to solve them.

Understanding Account Based Marketing

For B2B marketers, Account Based Marketing (ABM) is this year’s key strategy. Enabling you to precisely target the best-fit companies and buyers for your solution, ABM allows you to create campaigns that directly appeal to high yield prospects at a very detailed level.


Understanding how to develop and action a successful ABM strategy can be complex. From defining key account criteria, to setting goals, expanding accounts, creating relevant content and reporting - there’s a lot to consider.


Below are some common ABM mistakes that B2B marketers make, and how to avoid them for strategic success.

1. Not having a clear view of good-fit target accounts, and the DMU

ABM centers all activity around precise key customer accounts. Instead of generating a larger volume of leads, the goal is to progress with a singular account focus.


So to run a successful campaign, you must first have a crystal clear view of who your ideal real-world accounts would be, their attributes (ideal revenue, size, location etc) and their key business challenges that your solution addresses.


Once you have a clear view of the attributes you’re looking for, you can create a shortlist of good-fit account organisations who fit those parameters, or use them to qualify any current database contacts you already have. Then when you know which accounts you want to target, identify the best contacts within those accounts to connect with - those decision makers and stakeholders who make up the Decision Making Unit (DMU).

2. Not aligning sales and marketing

ABM is not a tactic that one department can run alone. It requires the combined collaboration of sales and marketing to succeed. Both departments must understand this from the outset of an ABM campaign, and regularly meet to understand required responsibilities (such as content creation, or nurture activity), see what success looks like for each department, and to review progress.


Without that alignment on who target accounts and the DMU are, or the activity required by each team to achieve goals, a campain will be poorly targeted, and crumble.

3. Not reviewing your ABM toolkit

Before any activity can be considered, you need to have the right infrastructure in place to support your campaign.


An account based marketing toolkit contains multiple components. Before starting an ABM campaign, make sure you have access to:

 

  • A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platform - which ideally integrates with your marketing automation platform)
  • A marketing automation platform - such as HubSpot
  • A CMS (content management system) - which again, integrates with your marketing automation platform
  • ABM content promotion tools - which help to target and position content in front of specific accounts
  • Social media - social selling is a key tactic when nurturing key accounts

Remember: for best campaign tracking and reporting, every tool and platform used in a campaign should integrate.

4. Not considering your go-to-market strategy

There are multiple options when deciding an ABM go-to-market strategy. Which you choose can dramatically affect your success rate; It is essential that the best option for each unique account is considered carefully


From targeting via IP address range, to cookie tracking, geo-fencing, keyword tracking and more, which you choose (or combine) will depend on who your target accounts are, and their unique channel preferences. Make sure to review available options and channels (in light of your key account attributes) at the outset to make the most appropriate decision.

5. Not creating ABM-focussed content

ABM is all about super personalised, targeted marketing, that resonates with a specific account’s challenges. So if you’re not creating content to reflect that, you’re not making the most of your strategy.


Once you have an understanding of your target accounts, consider the business challenges they have (that you can help to address) and plot out buyer mapped content to target those account challenges specifically. From targeted, segmented email marketing, through social selling, to on-page content personalisation (or ‘smart content’) make sure every interaction your key account has with your content is relevant to them.


Remember; being specific in your content is fine as long as your content delivers value. Do you think your key account content would appreciate a predictive case example, detailing exactly how their brand may benefit from adopting the type of solution you sell? Then it’s time to start writing.

6. Not reporting effectively

Are you effectively moving accounts to opportunities? Are you focussing on successfully developing a relationship with the DMU? Are you on track to achieve your goals and ROI?


Regular reporting and monitoring is crucial to any marketing campaign to keep activity aligned with goals. For ABM campaigns, each business’s strategy will be unique. But common metrics to monitor will likely include (amongst others):

 

  • Website engagement
  • Sales cycle length (and progress comparison with non-ABM activity)
  • Revenue
  • Retention
  • Number of contacts per account

Remember, maintaining that alliance between sales and marketing is just as important at the reporting/review stage as it is during implementation. For best progress, both teams should meet regularly to assess the results, and adapt tactics.

7. Viewing Inbound Marketing & ABM as incompatible strategies

Think ABM and Inbound must be implemented separately? Think again.


As both are targeted strategies, designed to generate, help and nurture quality B2B opportunities rather than quantity, the two often support one another.


However, where Inbound strategies base all marketing activity around a wider buyer persona focus, ABM zooms that perspective in; targeting a specific key account, real-world company or set of individuals. Creating relevant, well-targeted campaigns means ABM is a perfect complement to consider when implementing B2B Inbound strategies.

  

Specifics will of course vary from organisation to organisation. But by remembering these points and avoiding common error, you’ll be able to create successful, well targeted ABM campaigns.

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