How to Handle — or Better Yet, Avoid — Organizational Drama when Adopting ABM

3 minutes
Mar 29, 2022
Account-Based ExperienceDigital Marketing

Alignment across sales, marketing, and other revenue team divisions is the “secret sauce” for creating successful and profitable account-based experiences. When every department has its eyes on the same prize,...

Alignment across sales, marketing, and other revenue team divisions is the “secret sauce” for creating successful and profitable account-based experiences. When every department has its eyes on the same prize, ABM efforts go smoothly.

But this kind of harmony doesn’t instantly materialize, especially when a revenue team is at the beginning of its ABX journey. In these early days, departments are used to doing things their own way, have their own well-established processes, and their own unique goals and concerns. 

How can you start your organization’s ABM journey on the right foot? Here are some tips that can help reduce friction during the early stages.

Be Open and Honest

It’s natural to be resistant to changes, especially if they’ll impact day-to-day job responsibilities and how success is measured. That’s why the transition to ABM should begin with open conversations with stakeholders in every department. Important topics to cover include:

  • Changes to roles and responsibilities 
  • New KPIs and how they will be measured
  • How relationships between departments may change
  • An actionable plan for transitioning to ABM from traditional methods

Also be sure to ask for feedback, such as:

  • What concerns do they have about ABM? 
  • What educational resources do they need to meet new expectations?
  • What are they looking for in martech tools that can make their jobs easier?

During these talks, be prepared for pushback. Hear concerns with compassion, offer reassurance that there will be support throughout the transition process, and be ready to explain why and how an ABM approach will make their jobs easier. 

However, keep in mind that you must not oversell the promises of ABM or any associated martech. You can’t just flip a switch and expect instant success. Cooperation from each department, as well as each individual revenue team member is key. 

Aim for Gradual Change

It can be tempting to go all-in on ABM, but before you change your processes, consider taking an incremental approach. Progressive change often yields the best results.

Start with a couple of use cases — literally no more than two — for territories or segments that you already do well in, and build experience with those. This approach can help get success stories that will boost confidence across your revenue team as traditionally good results become even greater results.

Early data-backed success stories can also help convince skeptics, and “learning by doing” can help ease concerns related to shifting responsibilities and KPIs. 

Select the Right Tools

Recall that in the first step, you met with each department to understand their concerns and asked what resources they might need. Follow up these conversations by working with every part of the revenue team to find the tools that will help them work smarter, not harder.

Finding these tools can be challenging. Some meet the needs of one department, but create challenges or pose shortcomings for another. Sales and marketing operations, for example, can be negatively impacted by tools that don’t play nicely with other software or require a lot of manual processes to move data around.

You might be able to cobble together a great tech stack with individual tools, but you’re likely to be best served by a single end-to-end ABM platform. Working with the same tools and data and looking at the same KPI dashboards will help your revenue team reach the same goals. 

Conclusion

With any new undertaking, some struggle is inevitable. Adopting ABM is no different. The early days might be rough, but it’s important to be patient, trust the process, and most importantly, support each department and its members that make up the revenue team.

Open, honest communication and listening compassionately to others’ needs and concerns is one way to mitigate struggles before they begin, and taking a gradual rollout approach can also reduce friction and drum up excitement. 

But the most important way you can alleviate early-stage struggles with ABM adoption is to choose an account-engagement platform that delivers predictable growth and supports and unifies your revenue team.