Account-Based Marketing, while highly effective, isn’t turn-key. Here are the most common obstacles, how to see them coming and how to overcome them.
So your organization is ready to take the plunge into Account-Based Marketing (ABM). Great! It’s time to ditch those form-fills brimming with dead-end data, shout a satisfying sayonara to non-converting MQLs, and wave a wonderfully condescending buh-bye to all that wasted time sifting through disorganized, irrelevant leads.
But don’t get too cocky. ABM newcomers often think that implementing and operating an account-based approach is practically turn-key. It isn’t — at least not in the early days of your program. You’ll need to navigate around some key roadblocks to optimize your ABM approach.
Here are four important challenges to avoid as you contemplate and operationalize your ABM program. If you’d like to learn more about these challenges — and many other actionable insights on early-stage ABM creation — check out our recent ebook, ABM is [Still] Just Good Marketing.
The Dark Funnel™ is a treasure trove of user intent data that has beguiled — and befuddled — revenue teams for years.
We all know buying teams conduct lots of online research on their own time, in their own way, through their preferred channels. (In fact, approximately 90% of B2B buying activity occurs this way.) This activity leaves a kind of digital “breadcrumb trail” across the internet, representing a record of what those buyers are researching, when, and even on which websites.
However, this trail is typically out of reach, anonymized and invisible, preventing revenue teams from clearly understanding their prospects’ needs.
Here are a few signs that the lack of access to that valuable Dark Funnel data is impacting your revenue team:
Upgrade your legacy systems to a revenue technology platform with account-identification tools and sophisticated AI and machine learning programs that make sense of disparate sets of constantly flowing data.
Only when you match this anonymous activity to the data in your CRM and Marketing Automation Platform can you get a sense for the engagement of these accounts and where they sit in their respective buyer journeys. (Learn more about the Dark Funnel here.)
Ah, Marketing and Sales misalignments: the age-old story of two departments that believe they’re from different sides of the tracks. They use and report their own sets of data, entrenched in their individual ways and distrustful of one another.
Meetings on similar topics that feel foreign. Out-of-sync dashboards. Visibility campaigns that aren’t leveraged in customer interactions. Fights in the parking lot between people wearing “M” letter jackets and “S” letter jackets — that sort of thing.
Align everyone on common goals and what it takes to accomplish them. Co-develop and agree on the playbook for how to gain and serve ideal customers, and operate as a combined revenue team rather than separate fiefdoms.
This is the aggressively naive mindset of ignoring hard facts in lieu of doing what most company leaders have (poorly) done for decades: running on instinct.
It’s a situation where…
Marketing is worried about how they’ll “get credit” for their efforts without MQLs. Sales doesn’t know how to prioritize their outreach. Neither team agrees on which accounts to target in the first place. People working twice as hard and achieving half the results.
Invest in revenue technologies with AI and predictive capabilities that produce accurate, reliable data such that they can distinguish right from wrong leads and foretell when the right leads are warming up. Run smaller scale test-and-learn outreach efforts that validate your hypotheses and bring multiple teams along for the ride.
Marketing technologies and sales technologies that not only won’t integrate, but separately score information. What’s more, the weighting is based on homemade customizations that enable teams to “optimize” their way further and further into data and functional silos.
Embrace the trend toward ABX — Account-Based Experience. These days, it’s about more than just Marketing. Sales, Operations and Customer Success must all be on the same page.
Achieving this at any kind of scale is nearly impossible without alignment around process and technology. It’s essential to have a revenue technology platform that seamlessly integrates with your CRM, marketing automation platform, and web personalization tools.
This single source of truth gives the entire revenue team the same exact picture of meaningful activity, its place within the buying journey, and efforts that will happen next to advance them through the funnel.