5 Reasons Account-Based Marketing Can Fail

Posted on by Sharon Gillenwater

Choices of a businessmanAccount-based marketing can help B2B organizations in a variety of verticals engage and retain customers. But running ABM effectively isn’t without challenges. Here’s five reasons many account-based marketing initiatives fail.

  1. Lack of Ownership

It isn’t enough to simply assign accounts to salespeople, give them some background information and expect them to run with it. Successful account-based marketing requires a cheerleader who can connect the dots between sales and marketing, mobilize the team and make the most of opportunities to engage with customers, like interactions at VIP events. Executive sponsorship also helps give the program a “face” for account teams and customers alike, and prevents great opportunities from getting lost in the shuffle.

  1. Making it Too Complicated

Account-based marketing doesn’t need to be complicated. In fact, keeping it simple—and starting small—is often the only way to succeed. Companies that roll out ABM across hundreds of accounts simultaneously can become overwhelmed and find the job too big to tackle. The process can get bogged down by onerous documentation requirements—you don’t need a 100-page account plan to roll out an ABM initiative. A concise account brief that summarizes company strategy, key initiatives/challenges and key players can keep account teams from getting overwhelmed with too much information. Once you understand the motivations behind the company, and the people that run it, you can start delivering relevant offers and expertise that will resonate with them. Keep it as simple as possible, and build momentum over time with a series of small wins.

  1. Lack of Insight

Powerful CRM systems have lulled us into a false sense of security. More often than not, the information in CRMs is internally-focused (pipeline, products purchased, etc.). While this is important to have, a key element of account-based marketing is insight into the company strategy and the executives behind it. Make sure everyone on the team understands where the company is in relation to their goals and objectives. Your sales goals and processes don’t mean anything to them, but if you understand their objectives, strategies and challenges, you can establish your company as a more credible and valuable partner than the competition.

  1. Lack of Consistent, Sustained Effort

Account-based marketing is not so different from everything else in life; if you want to succeed, you need to be consistent and practice the right moves again, and again, and again. A critical success factor in account-based marketing is relationship building, and relationships take time to build through multiple touch points such as phone conversations, face-to-face meetings and electronic communications. Each touch should add value, thus strengthening the relationship for the long term.

  1. No Measurement and Accountability

If your program has no owner and is not sustained, it won’t be measured and its value will most certainly be called into question by others competing for resources. One successful strategy is to benchmark accounts that received account-based marketing focus against similar companies that have not. One service provider customer saw an 18% lift in wireless revenue and a 35% lift in wireline revenue from a sustained account-based marketing effort. By tracking and quantifying the success of account-based marketing, you will be able to prove the value of what you are doing, even if the results are not immediate.

Sharon Gillenwater is the founder and editor-in-chief of Boardroom Insiders.

Related Articles:

5 Tips for Implementing Account-Based Marketing

Taking Account-Based Marketing to the Next Level

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