Sorry To Tell You, But Your ABM Campaign Isn't An ABM Campaign

Account-based marketing (ABM) is all the rage: 70 percent of marketers said they used ABM in 2021. But did they really? While there are many reasons ABM campaigns don’t get results, one of the biggest is that they’re not really ABM in the first place. 

While the exact parameters of ABM campaigns may look different for every marketer depending on the industry, TAL, and more, there are a few things that they all have in common. Your ABM campaign may not really be an ABM campaign if: 

You Don't Involve Sales

While ABM is often thought of as a marketing strategy – it does have “marketing” in the name, after all – don’t forget the “account” side of it. That’s sales’ domain, and you need them. Aligning sales and marketing and developing a truly collaborative partnership is a key trait of high-performing ABM teams.  

Your sales team can give you valuable information on which accounts are most valuable or most likely to convert, how to reach them and what they care most about. That allows you to build an effective strategy and create content that speaks to their needs. In turn, ABM provides sales enablement materials and results in higher-quality leads, both of which can make your sales teams’ lives easier.

You're Using The Wrong KPIs

Every strategic digital marketing campaign begins with specific, quantifiable KPIs. But the most important ABM KPIs are different from your typical marketing metrics. You won’t be measuring things like net-new leads, marketing-qualified leads (MQLs), and conversion rates, which are a better fit for demand- and lead-generation campaigns. You also won’t be measuring vague numbers like page views and impressions, which are difficult to link to your pipeline.

So what will you be measuring? Marketing qualified accounts (MQAs) are similar to MQLs, but use a series of qualifying events, like engagement, number of contacts within an account, or demo requests, to determine when an account is ready to pass off to sales. From there, KPIs like close rate, average contract value, pipeline velocity, and marketing influence help you determine the overall success of your ABM campaign.  

You Don't Have A TAL

Traditional marketing casts a wide net and hopes to catch a few fish. It’s more about quantity than quality – the more leads the better, and just let sales figure out the rest. On the other hand, ABM targets, tracks, and reels in specific fish: the big ones. While it can seem like more of an up-front cost, it’s much more efficient. 

Yet you can’t target those big fish if you don’t know who they are. That’s why if you don’t have a target account list (TAL), your ABM campaign isn’t a real ABM campaign. We don’t mean a general list of all the companies in your ideal customer profile (ICP), either. Real ABM uses data – CRM data, engagement data, and third-party data – to build a TAL specific to the campaign you want to run. 

You Haven't Tiered Your Accounts

Once you have a TAL, you can narrow it down even more by tiering your accounts. This can help you determine which are truly the best fit for your campaign and how many resources to allocate to them. Tier 1 includes your highest-value accounts, Tier 2 may have a slightly lower lifetime value, and Tier 3 accounts don’t exactly fit your ICP criteria. 

You can also use intent data to tier accounts based on their likelihood of buying: Tier 1 would be those who show the most intent, Tier 2 shows some intent, and Tier 3 may not show much intent, but could be high-value in terms of contract amount. Tier 3 accounts are sometimes called “moonshot” accounts – you still want to win their business, but it will take a bit more effort. Once your accounts are tiered, you can better prioritize them. 

Your Content Isn't Personalized

One of the biggest ABM challenges many marketers face is the inability to scale, especially when it comes to content. For ABM to be most effective, you need personalized content that speaks to the particular needs not only of your TAL, but of each persona and contact within that TAL. It should be aligned to your ICP and also take into consideration the buyer journey stage, including previous engagement. And of course, it should be valuable to the target and solve a problem for them. 

It sounds like a lot, but it doesn’t have to be daunting. Creating modular content, updating existing content, geotargeting, and content tagging are just a few of the strategies we go over in our article on easy content personalization. Or call in the content experts – we’re happy to help. 

You Don't Track Your Results

ABM campaigns require resources, and that means that as marketing has shifted from the “wide net” to the “big fish” approach, the need to prove its impact on revenue has grown. If you’re not tracking your ABM ROI, tying it back to your larger business goals, and reporting it at the highest levels of your organization, you’re not doing true ABM. 

The right ABM tech stack can help you do all of that and more, not only presenting you with the latest and greatest data, but helping you score and prioritize accounts and letting you know which actions to take next. Don’t forget reporting - creating reports that are relevant to each member of your C-suite, based on what they care about, is essential. It’s like ABM, but for your internal team. Reporting and analysis is so important, that we dedicate a whole department to it. 

At the end of the day, the best way to ensure your ABM campaign is really an ABM campaign is to work with the experts. An experienced ABM agency like BOL. Check out our full-service ABM capabilities and contact us to learn more.