“We’re at a stage where there is a lot of talk about ABM but it’s too soon to say what the real best practices are,” says Barry Parr, director and lead analyst at Outsell Inc. “There’s a high degree of fragmentation in the field and we still have two to three years before the tools really fulfill their promise and marketers are really executing ABM.”
Outsell recently published the benchmark report “Account Based Marketing Takes B2B Marketing Beyond Lead Generation.” Close coordination between marketing and sales is essential to successfully execute ABM, but for many organizations that synergy isn’t quite a reality. This needs to change, because companies that are truly ABM-focused will need marketers focused not on lead generation but on creating content geared to specific target accounts.
“Marketing folks who are working on ABM are ultimately going to become an arm of sales,” says Parry. “Creating content for sales is a very different role for marketing. To use a cliché, this a paradigm shift, and some people will almost certainly be reluctant to operate this way.”
For a decade now, many B2B marketing organizations have been lead gen focused. A shift to ABM changes this perspective.
“A lot of folks have understood the limitations of the lead generation model and see this as an opportunity to do something new and different that will lead to results,” he notes.
Of course, how the success of those results will be measured isn’t completely clear to everyone yet. Marketers need to get mechanisms in place to gauge the success of ABM and what metrics look like in this world. Every account is different, and you might not be able to accurately measure one against another to determine your true marketing ROI.
“It will take a while for everything to shake out when it comes to ABM,” says Parry. “We’ll see that some things were dead on and some were blue sky speculation.”