4 Reasons Why ABM Fails, According to Megan Heuer of SiriusDecisions

We caught up with Megan Heuer, Vice President of Research at Global B2B Advisory Firm SiriusDecisions for her perspective on the world of Account-Based Marketing, Account-Based Selling, and Account-Based Everything.

ABM is a fast- emerging discipline with the potential to align your sales and marketing team around a strategy that’s optimized for the biggest, most important deals. But, ABM is not a magic wand. Instead, it’s a powerful combination of people, process and technology that, deployed intelligently, will out-perform every other demand generation initiative in your company. We asked Megan what some of the most common obstacles are to ABM success:

ABM can be the victim of its own success.

“ABM can be the victim of its own success. If you start with one or two people being asked to ‘take on’ ABM and it works really well, then Sales will want more. But marketing leaders can be reluctant to shift resources away from the things that they’ve always been doing. When that happens, ABM marketers aren’t able to scale their teams or their work as quickly as they’d like and they get a bit frustrated. It’s a real issue.”

So, what happens in unsuccessful ABM programs?

1. The team doesn’t get off on the right foot.

“Once in a while we see a team that doesn’t get off on the right foot. Maybe they made assumptions about what Sales want, rather than going and really working with Sales. Then they walk in with a beautiful account profile and say ‘Happy Birthday’ and Sales says, ‘What the heck is this?’.”

2. Marketing puts Sales on the defensive.

“Marketers can put Sales a bit on the defensive by going in and saying, ‘We’re here to help, give me all of your account plans and I’ll come back to you with a marketing plan.’ Sales isn’t accustomed to handing over their account plans (and maybe haven’t been so diligent about building them) and all of a sudden they’re being asked to turn over the keys to the kingdom and that sort of puts Sales on the defensive.”

3. Relying on Sales to dictate strategy.

“A third reason programs fail is when marketing goes in and says, ‘Hi Sales, we want to do ABM what do you want?’ and it sounds like they’re asking Sales to tell them how to do their job. Then Sales just asks for the things that they’ve always known – some nice events, a bit of content. Or they say, ‘No thanks, I’m good. I’m already working with this account. I really don’t need you to do anything.'”

4. Forgetting the bigger picture.

“The last failure point is starting with tactic selection. When marketers say, “I need to scale ABM, and I have marketing automation and email to use so we’re going to do ABM with email nurture streams,” and not look at the bigger picture, it doesn’t work. ABM is not about email alone – or any one tactic for that matter.

Marketing needs to act in a consultative role that really showcases the profession, coming to the table to say, ‘Hey, this is what we know our buyers prefer and here’s what I recommend we do with this account to meet the goals that you told me you have.’”

Want to get started on the right track? Read 6 steps to every successful Account Based Everything Strategy, and for the full interview with Megan, download the Clear and Complete Guide to Account Based Marketing.

Photo credit: tveskov via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-SA

Brandon Redlinger
Brandon Redlinger
Brandon Redlinger is the Head of Growth at Engagio, the Account-Based Marketing and Sales platform that enables teams to measure account engagement and orchestrate human connections at scale. He is passionate about the intersection between tech and psychology, especially as it applies to growing businesses. You can follow him on twitter @brandon_lee_09 or connect with him on LinkedIn.

Comments are closed.