Dispelling the Fake News Around ABM

Posted on by Jessica Fewless

ABMWhile account based marketing (ABM) is certainly on the rise, there are still a few misconceptions about what it is and what it isn’t. Here’s five myths to be put to rest.

Myth #1: We don’t have the time or the resources for ABM.

Often, people think of account based marketing as an additional strategy, rather than a different way of thinking about their current marketing efforts. It’s not so much about starting something new, as it is about looking at your existing programs with a different, account-focused lens.

How exactly do you go about doing that? There are several ways to tackle the shift over to accounts. For example, you can have a senior executive back your ABM initiatives and change people’s core KPIs, which will result in an overall change in your team’s behavior. Another way to build the case for ABM is by running a pilot program. Start with one segment, such as a key vertical like healthcare or manufacturing, and build out your program from there. The success of smaller ABM initiatives can help prove out the strategy and drive conversations to broaden and grow your ABM program to be a comprehensive demand generation strategy.

Myth #2: To implement an ABM program, we need to invest in expensive technology.

While tech plays an important role in scaling account based marketing, you don’t need a huge investment to get started. Instead, start with a solid strategy first and then identify key gaps technology can help fill. Here are a few questions that can help guide your thinking around the topic:

  • Account selection: how do you get the right list in place?
  • Engagement: how do you get a relevant message to your targets?
  • Sales enablement: how do you make sure sales can capitalize on marketing’s efforts and get the opportunities over the finish line?
  • Measurement: how do you know what’s working? What’s not? What’s next?

Myth #3: ABM is only for large enterprises.

All too often, we see small startups and high growth companies shy away from ABM because they think the strategy is best suited for larger companies. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth—no matter your size, ABM can work for you. Specifically with high growth companies, your resources are limited and every member of your marketing team wears multiple hats. The focus, efficiency and impact afforded by an ABM strategy could be just what you need.

Myth #4: ABM is exclusively a marketing effort.

Collaboration is key to getting ABM off the ground. In order for company initiatives to be successful, it’s crucial to align both sales and marketing around target accounts and revenue metrics.

Beyond just focusing on accounts, marketing will need to collaborate with sales to identify the messaging and campaigns that will be the most effective in achieving business objectives. This will enable sales to take advantage of the leads they’re given and let marketing continue to run programs throughout the funnel to help support sales’ efforts in closing those deals. If these strategies aren’t mutually agreed upon and complementary to each other, they will by definition not get support from both sides and will often work in opposition to each other.

Myth #5: We’re doing account based advertising, so we’re doing ABM.

There’s a lot of confusion around what actually constitutes as “ABM.” A lot of marketers invest in account based advertising and then think they have a strategy up and running, when in reality, they’ve only taken one step to getting ABM off the ground.

Advertising is but one component of a broader ABM strategy—true ABM requires coordination across the entire sales and marketing organization, a designated focus on accounts, set goals and a variety of tactics, including events, webinars, content, field and website marketing.

Jessica Fewless is vice president of ABM strategy and field marketing at DemandBase.

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