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ABM Best Practices from overseas

Account Based Marketing tips can be found in abundance. We've identified the 4 most important aspects for you and flown in common best practices from ABM experts in America.

No matter who you ask. 99% of the best practices will relate to these 4 core aspects:

1. Goal & Expectation Setting: ABM is considered the most effective sales method today. It takes a lot of patience though, which is why you need to clearly define your goals and internal expectations.

2. Customer Centricity: Define and identify your ideal customers - without ignoring their needs. All the effort is useless if you don't reach your customers.

3. Beginners are Winners: Only those who get off the starting blocks can win the race.

4. Collaboration is Key: Only if marketing and sales really work together and pull together do you have a good chance of success.

Set Expectations and Milestones to Achieve Your Goals

ABM is impossible if your leadership team is not aligned on metics, expectations and execution Balaji Nedurumalli, Head Revenue Operations & Business Intelligence, Alliance Safety Council

Have internal buy-in for your first ABM campaign or still working on it? Make sure that you and your team's expectations, as well as those of the management, are set correctly. This will make it easier for you to get everyone excited later on, and you'll be less likely to see your first campaign come to an abrupt end because results were expected too quickly.

ABM doesn't work if you don't measure success and focus on your KPIs." Jennifer Leaver, Senior Global ABM Manager, Bazaarvoice

Set clear goals and monitor your KPIs over the long term. Since success in ABM can be a long time coming, Jennifer Leaver advises celebrating the small milestones to keep motivation high in your ABM team. In doing so, you'll need to consider how to measure the 3R's in particular:

  • Reputation

  • Relationships

  • Revenue

The most important KPIs and metrics for ABM can be found here.

One Size Solution Does Not Exist

ABM is unfortunately not a "one size fits all" solution and should not be viewed as such. ABM is merely a powerful principle that gives you and your marketing direction. Every industry, sector, division and product has its own way of applying ABM, what works and what doesn't.

ABM doesn't work the same way everywhere. I have tried to build on other successful ABM campaigns and adopt the plan 1:1 for a completely different company with different products and buyer persona, and failed miserably! That's when I realized that ABM needs to be implemented individually for each use case. Jimit Mehta, Head of ABM, CommerceIQ

Start with a Pilot Campaign

As the saying goes, "The proof of the pudding is in the eating." To find your own path to ABM success, pros like Declan Mulkeen, CMO at Strategic ABM, recommend using a pilot campaign to test your hypotheses before you get too lost in the details of planning and strategy.

ABM is impossible if you don't take the first step and get started." Brett Trainor, Founder, iQuipt Ventures

With a pilot campaign, you can test your process on a small scale early on and prove the ROI. It also helps you better estimate the timeframe, build internal acceptance and identify bottlenecks in your process or tech stack early on.

ABM doesn't work if you expect to win enterprise accounts quickly. Margo Sakova, Inbound Marketing Manager, Influ2

That's why ABM pros like Jennifer Leaver of Bazaarvoice rely on the "crawl, walk, run approach." This means: start with small campaigns first, gather results and only tackle the big fish when your marketing & sales team is really ready

Applying Ideal Customer Profiles Correctly

The basis for a successful ABM campaign are carefully developed Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs).

ABM doesn't work if there is no real consensus on the ideal customer or companies don't know the ideal customer." Alecia O'Brien, VP Marketing, Crank Software

Therefore, it is extremely important that you and your team invest enough time in developing and reviewing your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP).

Data Shows You the Way

The way to a good ICP is always through validated data - not your gut feeling. Even if that would sometimes be easier, because yes - data can be a pain. But if they are well structured, you can never have enough of them.

The motto of Jimit Mehta, Head of ABM at CommerceIQ, is therefore: The more data you have, the better. This is the only way to get to a point where you can filter and prioritize your accounts according to various criteria such as geography, turnover, size, industry or number of personas per account. This will help you focus on the accounts that deserve champagne from now on. For the rest, you create a base line program with mineral water.

Once Again, ICPs Are the Foundation of ABM

A cornerstone of the ABM approach is targeted nurturing of strategically important accounts. That's why it's so important that you put a lot of time and effort into crafting your Ideal Customer Profiles. And more importantly, you need to apply it to your accounts!

To keep your ICP from gathering dust in a drawer somewhere, Tony A. Ramirez advises defining very clearly what an MQA (Marketing Qualified Account) is and what it can look like. For example, you can specify here that some aspects of your ICP, such as

  • the country,

  • team size

  • or industry

must be fulfilled for it to be an MQA.

Even if you have been using ABM successfully for a long time, Declan Mulkeen and Alex Olley advise you to review your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) every 3 months and adjust it where necessary. Especially in the times of the pandemic, the general conditions in different countries, industries or teams have changed a lot, which in turn should be included in your ICP

More information about updating your ICP can be found here in the ABM in the House Recording.

Marketing & Sales Alignment

ABM doesn't work without the active participation of your sales force

ABM is impossible if you don't have alignment with Sales and commonly defined KPIs and metrics. Nick Bennett, Director of Account-Based & Field Marketing, Alyce

Many companies already follow this motto when it comes to coordinating processes and CRM. But that's not the end of the story

ABM professionals like Tony A. Ramirez advise to involve the sales department in content creation. This way, synergies and competencies can be used effectively to create sales email nurturing campaigns, social selling texts or other sales documents.

ABM won't work if your marketing can't name the most important account and your sales doesn't know the most effective marketing channels. Tim Hickle, Tech Marketing Leader, Podcast Guy & Writer

Why don't you ask your teams if they can answer these questions? If so, you're probably already on a very good path

To be successful in ABM, you need to think beyond marketing and sales. Only then can you provide an "Account Based Experience" that is truly personalized and helpful. To do that, it takes buy in and support from your entire company.

Objective Setting, ICP, Progress and Internal cooperation - the Four Core Aspects of ABM

There is no master plan for ABM. However, we believe that the key to success lies in these four aspects. If one isn't met, you'll have a hard time capturing the success you want with ABM. That's why we recommend: Each month, review where you stand on each factor, and where you want to focus your attention for the coming month to achieve your goal.