Why Invest in An ABM Pilot Campaign?

Written by Emily Clayden

Jun 12 2018

When considering account-based marketing, a pilot campaign investment can be a valuable first step ahead of a full programme. We explore why, as well as what benefits organisations can achieve with an ABM pilot. 

For those considering an account-based marketing (ABM) investment, understanding the full scope of required resource, budget and timescales to expect can be complex. Yet it’s important to be able to justify these aspects (and detail expected return to your team), to build the internal case and gain ABM support.

Because of this, investing in an ABM pilot can be an important first step to consider ahead of a full ABM campaign; allowing you to ‘test the water’ with target accounts, outline the potential results that could be achieved and establish benchmarks for further ABM activity.

Essentially, an ABM pilot creates a foundation for larger ABM campaigns, and is a first step to increase the relevance of your business proposition, and build trust with key accounts and decision makers.

Related: 5 Account-Based Marketing Challenges (And How To Solve Them)

Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is a strategic approach that combines insight-driven marketing with sales to increase awareness, develop customer relationships and drive growth with specific high-value, high-propensity target accounts. Essentially, an ABM strategy works to develop trust and buy-in with a specific high-value account or prospect; treating them as their own individual market.

Benefits of ABM Pilot Investment

So what specific benefits can organisations achieve with an ABM pilot investment? Specifically, by running a pilot campaign, you can:

1. Understand ABM activities, timescales and potential outcomes.

A pilot programme can be considered almost as a test run, leading to a full ABM campaign. Typically focussing on one, or a few target accounts, this small-scale programme allows you to establish and run through all the activities and tactics required for a larger, more in-depth campaign. Because of this, a pilot provides the opportunity to measure potential ABM success ahead of any commitment to additional time and budget. Overall, running a pilot enables teams to assess whether the outcomes are effective enough to invest in a larger-scale ABM campaign.

2. Establish realistic goals 

If you haven’t run any ABM activity before, it can be challenging to predict what outcomes and results you should see. By outlining and testing the activities, direction and targeting required, a pilot helps to establish realistic goals and clarity over what can be achieved with a full ABM campaign. Understanding potential results and setting realistic goals is crucial, not only for campaign success, but to ensure the strategy aligns with internal expectations and can be supported appropriately. 

3. Highlight ABM’s value to secure executive buy-in 

If your pilot is successful, you can use these results to benchmark and highlight the value of ABM to secure buy-in from your wider organisation. Both your sales and marketing teams must be aligned for ABM campaigns to be truly effective. Securing this alignment and buy-in should be a consideration within pilot programmes; once achieved, alignment will ensure that any future campaigns have the full-funnel support needed to deliver against commercial and in-house goals and KPIs.

Related: Sales & Marketing Alignment For Account-Based Marketing Success

4. Test, adapt and optimise

When running a pilot campaign you have the ability to test and adapt processes ahead of full implementation and investment. This is of great benefit as you can fully optimise your ABM process before scaling.

Every aspect of ABM, from the technology used, to targeting approaches, messaging and more can be tested and optimised with a pilot. For example, by trialling ABM you can identify if you have the organisational maturity and insight needed to target at an individual, account or wider persona level; then work to refine and develop insights where needed. You can also test if campaign content is focussed enough, and adapt or create additional assets if required. Additionally, you may uncover areas of your internal organisation that need greater alignment in order to support ABM and ensure success throughout the funnel.

5. Develop a formal structure, ABM resources and insight

An ABM pilot campaign provides the opportunity to formalise and standardise campaign structure, as well as create resources and content in preparation for a full-fledged ABM campaign.

From account personalised content, to in-depth insight development, there are many assets and resources needed for ABM to run smoothly. A pilot provides the time to develop, refine and expand assets and insights, while highlighting any additional resource requirements; creating a ready-to-go foundation for any post-pilot activity.

Related: 5 Account-Based Marketing Investment Considerations

Prepare Your Organisation For ABM Success

The importance of undertaking an ABM pilot cannot be underestimated. By trialling processes and tactics, and measuring their success against your business goals, you will be able to make a realistic assessment of the benefits of investing in a full ABM campaign and qualify a projected ROI.

B2B Marketing Zone