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5 Issues Threatening Your ABM Success — Part One

Every B2B marketer knows account-based marketing (ABM) is a smart strategy for acquiring and keeping customers. By identifying and focusing efforts on the most qualified prospects, both marketing and sales save time and money in their efforts. Moreover, the results of those efforts are often richly rewarded. Statistics show that companies who practice ABM experience:

74% — Improved customer relationships

83% — Increased customer engagements

91% — Increased deal size

27% — Increase in profits over three years

Despite all of the great results being reported by B2B marketers engaged in ABM, a report by Dun & Bradstreet found that only 38 percent of companies are actively doing it. Today, we’ll take a look at the five issues preventing most companies from experiencing all the good things ABM has to offer.

#1 – Data Quality Issues

The foundation of every rock-solid ABM strategy is high-quality data. After all, you can’t identify and target ideal customers or send highly personalized messages without it. Even worse, if you use data of a questionable quality to target specific customers and you have their information wrong, you can end up doing more harm than good, as customers will be turned off by the fact that you don’t appear to know them or keep up with what’s important to them, i.e. promotions, title changes, new offices, etc. In the survey we mentioned earlier, it was found that 50 percent of marketers are not confident in their data quality. That’s a shocking statistic that in effect declares that half of B2B marketers are building their future on faulty data, which is the equivalent of building a new headquarters on top of a potential sinkhole.

Poor Data Quality Antidote

If poor data quality is plaguing your ABM efforts, there are a few things you should do. First, identify all data sources that are being used for sales and marketing efforts throughout your organization. Then, use a universal B2B integrations tool to connect all of the data sources. This step eliminates both rogue data and toxic data silos. It is important to note that although connecting all data sources may sound like a tall order, the integration tool you choose should be doing all of the heavy lifting. In fact, B2B integration tools, like Connect, are designed to enable marketers to use pre-built integrations or create their own — without bothering the good people in IT to do so. Once everything is connected, your data is ready to be cleaned and enriched. The best way to ensure your data is always high-quality is to employ the help of a marketing dashboard that allows you to centralize access to data, and ensure it is valid, complete, clean and enriched at all times. In addition to making data management easy, a good dashboard will also allow you to mine data for insights and share those insights with others through reports.

#2 — Poor Alignment Between Sales and Marketing

In the same way that a house divided against itself will not stand, a company with poorly aligned sales and marketing goals will not achieve results. If customers are hearing one message from marketing materials and another message from sales, then any cohesiveness to the customer journey has been lost. In a time when the customer experience is a key deciding factor between winning and losing a sale, poor alignment is not an issue that any company can afford. Oddly, sales and marketing are both on the same organizational team, so finding common ground should not be too difficult – even if the people standing in the way of a united front are.

Poor Alignment Antidote

If you are a marketer faced with the challenge of bringing sales and marketing into alignment, there are several things that you can do to speed up the process. First, you will need to get leadership buy-in from sales. We recommend conducting a couple of high-level meetings with top sales executives and influencers. You will want to let them know up-front you are on a mission to better align sales and marketing so that everyone can be more successful. To build trust between teams, start by being transparent. Share your goals, vision and challenges. Then, ask sales to share theirs. Be open to criticism and resist the urge to be defensive.

Next, form an action team comprised of members from both sides and have everyone meet monthly to track the progress of joint initiatives. Doing this will keep both departments on a trajectory of perpetual alignment.

Finally, add a sales enablement tool to your martech stack that empowers sales to easily send marketing-approved messages to clients and prospects on any channel. To foster adoption by everyone in sales, make sure the sales enablement tool you choose integrates seamlessly into the CRM, so that using it is convenient and as near effortless as possible. You want to think of your sales team as customers of your sales enablement efforts. The easier you make it for them to meet you halfway, the greater your alignment, and ultimately your ABM success will be.

Next Week: We’ll shed light on three additional obstacles that are threatening your ABM success, as well as our prescribed antidotes to overcome them in Part Two of the 5 Issues Threatening Your ABM Success.