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5 Issues Threatening Your ABM Success — Part Two

In Part One of our blog: 5 Issues Threatening Your ABM Success, we took a look at how poor data quality and a lack of alignment between sales and marketing could be preventing you from enjoying the increase in engagement, growth and revenue that ABM brings. We also shared proven antidotes for overcoming these issues and enhancing your ABM strategy. In Part Two, we continue our journey with the final three issues adversely affecting ABM and what you can do to ensure your company is on course for measurable ABM success.

#3 — Poor Executional Ability

Successful ABM requires marketers to manage a variety of variables with the speed, flexibility and precision coordination of an Olympic gymnast. In addition to accurately leveraging high-quality data in order to identify and target ideal customers, ABM requires marketers to create a well-coordinated series of personalized campaigns across multiple channels. It is no wonder then that 62 percent of marketers are still on the sidelines admiring the ability of those who can. With so many variables to navigate it can be easy to look at your martech stack in despair wondering how many manual steps it will take to coordinate the kind of customer experience that boosts sales and brand loyalty. However, it’s not as hard as it looks, and you can do it.

Poor Execution Antidote

In order to create and launch highly personalized campaigns to a targeted audience, you will need the help of a few martech tools, including: a marketing data dashboard; a marketing automation platform (MAP); and a cross-channel campaign personalization tool.

Marketing Dashboard: As we shared earlier, a good marketing dashboard is necessary to ensure your data quality remains in a good-to-go state. A great dashboard allows you to identify your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) across one or multiple target audiences, create segmented lists based on any combination of data characteristics, and export them to your MAP.

MAP: There are a lot of great MAPs out there, such as Eloqua and Marketo that will go a long way in helping you to automate many of the time-consuming manual processes involved in sending email campaigns to your target accounts. Most MAPs are also compatible with a variety of cross-channel campaign tools for automating push notifications, chat, SMS, MMS, etc.

Campaign Personalization: What makes ABM so powerful and effective is the ability to send personalized messages to individual customers. What makes sending personalized content to thousands of customers possible is a campaign personalization tool. A campaign personalization tool should integrate seamlessly with your MAP so that you can use it to send personalized cross-channel campaigns. These tools pull all customer-facing marketing content from sources within your organization and put it in queues for a variety of channels. The content can then be sent as part of automated campaigns (no touch) or your sales team can instantly select and send them.

#4 Ability to Measure ABM ROI  

Like most things that are truly rewarding, ABM is not about the short game, it’s a long-term commitment. Yes, some companies will experience immediate results, but for most, the growth ABM promises is a bit more gradual. Recent research found that although ABM impacts top of the funnel activity (lead generation), its greatest impact is in increasing the quality of engagements in the middle of the funnel. Naturally, the uptick in mid-funnel customer engagement has a direct impact on bottom-funnel activities such as the number of deals closed and revenue generated. However, because most B2B sales have a longer sales cycle, this benefit often goes unrealized until ABM has been in use for at least three years. The aforementioned study also found that 43 percent of ABM marketers report it had a positive and measurable impact on the whole funnel, whereas only 12 percent of marketers who had used ABM for two years or less reported the same.

Antidote for Measuring ABM ROI

Marketing Land, the marketing news e-zine that hosts the biannual Martech conference, warns that because ABM is a long-term investment, quantity-focused metrics, such as channel engagement data are not ideal for proving ABM’s value. Instead, they state that to accurately measure the ROI of ABM, marketers should “select quality-focused metrics that tie ABM to business outcomes, including win/loss rates, funnel velocity and customer lifetime value (LTV).” Here again, a marketing dashboard is an invaluable tool in tracking these metrics and empowering you to report with confidence the ROI of ABM to other leaders in your organization.

#5 Trouble Selecting Accounts

Selecting the right accounts to focus on can be intimidating, especially if you are used to casting a wide net or are new to ABM. However, the goal of ABM is to get personal with a few of the right people rather than trying to appeal to everyone. To help narrow their focus, most companies engage in the activity of creating customer personas before selecting target accounts for ABM. While this is a good start because it helps marketing teams connect a real person to the segment they are marketing to and develop messages that resonate; it’s a step that needs to be data-driven in order to have meaning. Yes, a persona has some creative elements, but it shouldn’t be wholly woven out of hunches from what sales and marketing leaders think is the right type of customer.

Antidote for Account Selection Issues

Whereas all humans are biased, data is not. To ensure you are targeting the right people, you will want to put on a miner’s cap and start searching your marketing dashboard for actionable data insights. A few places to look for patterns and similarities in the data include:

  • Customers who regularly spend a certain amount
  • Sales spikes and dips by location
  • Customers who dropped out mid-funnel
  • Repeat vs. lapsed customers
  • Revenue generated by first time customers

Some marketing dashboards include the ability to identify ideal customers based on current and historical sales and marketing data. This makes it much easier to create segmented lists that are founded on characteristics linked to increases in purchases. At the end of the day, ABM is about building personal relationships with your best customers and those who have the potential to become great customers. When you understand who your best customers are, you can use those insights to target similar people, create campaigns that inspire actions, and enjoy all the success that ABM promises.