It seems that the concept of account-based marketing (ABM) is everywhere these days. I’ve recently attended the Flip My Funnel conference and spent a couple days hearing about all things ABM. I feel like every conversation I have with marketers hits on this topic at some point in time. That’s likely because companies are seeing great results from well-implemented ABM strategies. And, thus, it is catching on like hotcakes. But as marketers, we have the responsibility to make sure that ABM doesn’t become a buzzword, and that means staying true to the best practices of ABM. So, while Flip my Funnel is fresh on my mind, here is my latest thinking.
When is ABM not actual ABM? Here are 5 warning signs that your ABM strategy isn’t all that it could be cracked up to be:
- Your dashboard didn’t change. If you’re still being held to the same metrics you had before implementing ABM, then the rest of the organization is not sold on the ABM strategy. Your new dashboard should be aligned around engagement of your target list and acceleration through the funnel.
- No data was used in developing the ABM list. The target list is critical. Your targets should meet an ideal customer profile (ICP) that takes into account their firmographic fit for your company and intent (as demonstrated with data). The point is to select a list, in cooperation with sales, of companies that are considered the best targets because they are most likely to become sold deals.
- You’re hitting goals but it’s not enough. If you are creating the pipeline that was agreed to and sales, execs, or the board are still complaining, then they are not sold on an ABM strategy. ABM is not a volume game; it is a targeted game of quality and continuous improvement that should accelerate deals through the pipeline, increase deal sizes, and lead to higher win rates.
- Sales doesn’t know what’s happening with accounts before they become an opportunity. If there is not collaboration happening at pre-opportunity stage, then your company likely lacks the level of alignment and teamwork that’s required to execute well on ABM. Engagement with contacts pre-opportunity should include touches from sales, not just marketing and should be coordinated like a well-oiled machine.
- Conversion metrics to won deals is not higher than before you implemented ABM. If your demo to opportunity rate or opportunity to won rate hasn’t improved then you are not working the right accounts. The whole foundation of ABM relies on a selection process that picks companies to target that are ripe for your business.
Craig Rosenberg, when speaking at the recent Flip My Funnel conference, perhaps said it best, “If all pipeline is created equal, then you shouldn’t be doing ABM to begin with.” While ABM is a powerful strategy, it may not be the right fit for every company. Ask the question, “Is all pipeline created equal?” to your sales leadership and executive team and you’ll have the first answer you need to determine if ABM is a fit for your business.