The horrors of an ABM practitioner


Halloween is just around the corner, the spookiest time of the year. The smiles and laughter of summer are replaced with a cold and sinister wind blowing through the trees. This made us think about the horrors an Account Based Marketing (ABM) practitioner face every day:

Sales or management team asking for leads? Sales and marketing measured by different KPIs? Forced to produce another set of slides explaining why ABM is needed at all? Let's list the top-5 daytime nightmares:

1. Marketing's KPI is leads

This is the most common dread of any ABM practitioner. It is something that a lot of marketing departments still consider to be their most important KPI. The problem is that in a B2B environment, tying a lead to a marketing activity is virtually impossible due to the long attribution cycles. Measuring leads then becomes celebrating quantity rather than quality. What would you rather get, your favourite candy bar in super-size format or a whole bunch of hard candies you don't really recognize in the dark?

2. Empty promises in the form of a new digital tool, the "one-and-only software"!

Has someone ever given you fruit while trick or treating? You know the feeling... With the very good intention to improve marketing's ability to deliver actionable insights, someone presented you with a new tool. Several quarters later, you still can't get the grip of it and the expectations to deliver only increase: "You have the one-and-only software!" That's the time any marketer feels like flying off on a broom. Or why not have someone else do the tricks for you?

3. Roadblocks: Sales speak a different language

Aligning sales and marketing is no easy task, especially with attitudes that've been entrenched over time. This is not uncommon.This issue cannot be addressed by technology and tools alone; it's about motivating people to talk to each other, to share ideas, find solutions and work together. Maybe that colleague you've been picturing as Lord Voldemort isn't so bad after all!

4. Targeting any random prospect with your ABM

ABM works best when focused on your most important accounts or prospects. Programmatic ABM towards hundreds of accounts, or thousands, may certainly be tempting, but will your marketing budget be used at its best? Would you really plan your trick-and-treat trip to run to all the homes in the entire city, or rather just focus on the few that really have a potential to give you the candy? 

5. Being left alone in the dark

Marketing depts. tend to be offered new theories and new shiny tools every other year, and someone must learn how to use them in order for them to provide value. This someone can sometimes feel left in dark, alone without a flashlight to show the way. Supporting a sales team with real knowledge about the accounts they are approaching, and planning marketing activation to drive sales, takes a lot more than theories and tools - it takes marketing experience. Fortunately, there are those who can help you.

6. Expecting a quick return

ABM is not something that will give you hundreds of new leads overnight, it probably won't help you sign that huge deal over a month either. You can't expect to get the best candy from the first house you visit. What ABM really does is to support sales in strengthening the relationship between you and your client/prospect. Keep you top of mind as well as grow an existing customer into its full potential by presenting your solutions in a way that is relevant to each and every target account and hence giving you the advantage

Remember (according to Gartner) 65% of all the conversations around a sales decision in a buying journey do not involve vendors; that leaves on 35% available to all the vendors chasing the deal. So if there are three vendors in the game that is less than 12% of the attention each. Vendors need all the help they can get.

So really, turning a marketer's nightmare into cosy walk in the park, is all about, taking the fast track to ABM experience and having a good chat with sales about what they need to close more deals.

Niclas Lundberg

Marketing & Sales Coordinator

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