FlipMyFunnel Post, Other

What Makes a Good ABM Company Great

This post is based on a Takeover Tuesday podcast hosted by Steve Watt, with Steve Casey and Matt Senatore. If you’d like to listen to more #FlipMyFunnel Podcast episodes, you can check them out here and listen to this episode below!

We are well past the time when we need to talk about what ABM is, or why people need to be doing it.

Anyone listening to this podcast is probably already performing some ABM at some level.

But what we can talk about, is how to go from good to great. How do we scale, and how we really, as individuals and as practitioners or leaders within our firms, get really great at ABM?

I (Steve Watt) had the opportunity to interview two true leaders in the ABM space, Matt Senatore and Steve Casey. Matt is the Service Director for Account Based Marketing at SiriusDecisions and Steve is Principle Analyst of B2B Marketing at Forrester.

These guys are experts on what it takes to go from good to great in the ABM space.

Here’s what we’re unpacking today:

  • Setting a great foundation with your pilot program
  • 5 keys you need to scale
  • Pitfalls that get in the way of being great

Getting it right from the start:

Great ABM companies start with great pilots programs.

A lot of companies start their pilot programs with accounts that are all green field. But that’s not setting you up for success.

It’s okay to have a couple of those accounts in your pilot. But try to build a program with diverse accounts.

Include some green fields where you have had some engagement. And add an existing customer that you’re looking to upsell or cross-sell.

You want different accounts in your program so you can have different goals, strategies, and measurements.

That way, you get a sense of what’s working across each of these types of accounts.

Of course, if you’ve got limited resources, you might just start with one type of account. But consider running another pilot after that to test a different strategy, different objectives, and different measures.

Here’s why diversifying is so important:

Say you just focus on green field accounts with no traction. If you don’t make any progress in 100 or 120 days, you don’t want the entirety of your program to be killed because of it.

On the other hand, if you’re just trying a program that’s basically deal acceleration, it might be very successful, but you can’t assume that expanding your program to different types of accounts will yield the same success.

Testing different programs will help you build a great foundation. That way, when you’re ready to scale, you’re ready to be great.

5 keys you need to go from good to great:

Here are five steps you can take to level up your ABM program:

#1: Make a real, concerted commitment towards ABM

Great ABM companies have organizational support and executive leadership support from both a sales and a marketing perspective.

#2: Invest in your program.

70% of the great ABM companies actually have higher budgets than their low-performing peers.

Even if you don’t have a large budget, you can still make an impactful investment into your program. Great companies don’t just invest with money — they invest with leadership, too. They typically have a dedicated ABM leader to help shepherd the adoption, implementation, and orchestration of ABM.

#3: Commit to customization.

High performers are much more committed to customizing messaging and content to really meet the unique buying needs of the groups that they’re going after in their target accounts.

#4: Be willing to adopt emerging technologies.

50% of high performers are more likely than their peers to have an investment roadmap that looks at some of these emerging technologies. These are things like intense monitoring or display advertising.

#5: If your firm is already account oriented, look for areas of overlap.

If you’ve been working with a set of named accounts, you’re probably going to see some alignment with your new ABM program. It’s likely that you’ve already got some dedicated marketing support for your named accounts.

You can learn from the experience of those dedicated resources. For example, tap into marketers who might be in a field marketing function. There’s a lot of that customization and personalization that happens in the field. The only difference is that, with ABM, you’re just trying to do it at a larger scale.

Avoiding common pitfalls:

First, make sure you’re spending enough time upfront articulating your goals and your strategy. And make sure your organization aligns to that.

Second, get support from executive or leadership team, and encourage them to show their support throughout the organization.

Third, be ready to scale. Scaling, primarily on the content dimension, can be a huge challenge. And deciding and achieving the appropriate level of personalization is difficult. Be aware that these are challenges and work out your plan to conquer them.

Next, keep communication ongoing throughout the development of your program.

And finally, focus on measuring the results of your program. And the overall impact it’s having on your business.

And that’s how you go from good to great.