8 Mistakes to Avoid when Getting Started with Account Based Marketing

No matter if you’re in sales, marketing, operations, or customer success, we can all agree on one thing – we love revenue. The more we have, the happier we are. Yet, oftentimes, visions for how we grow revenues is different from department to department.

That’s where Account Based Marketing enters the picture. The most progressive and forward-thinking organizations realize that ABM help teams align on their strategy, and more importantly, close bigger deals.

No wonder why 92 percent of B2B marketers globally think ABM either ‘extremely important’ or ‘very important’ to perform marketing campaigns (SiriusDecisions). Furthermore, 80% of businesses have claimed that ABM strategies can outdo other marketing approaches (ITSMA).

However, we’re still in the early days of ABM. In fact, most companies are still in the beginning stages of forming their strategy, testing ABM with a pilot program or rolling ABM out to their org. We’ve all made some mistakes along the way.

In this post, I’ve asked Madhu Gulati of ShowMeLeads to cover some of the most common and costly mistakes made by companies she’s seen and worked with. She’s a wealth of knowledge and pleasure to work with.

Without further adieu, here’s Madhu.

Working with thousands of Smart Marketers from start-ups to global enterprise, I realized we all want to leverage ABM and be rockstars in Account Based Everything. ABM sounds fun and simple, but it needs a well thought-out strategy. At ShowMeLeads, we’ve distilled the very best solutions drawn from thousands of hours of experience to establish all the ABM best practices. To start with, let’s outline the most common ABM mistakes that we can avoid.

Here are the most common and major Account Based Marketing mistakes which can throw marketers off the grid of deployment and the right strategies to avoid ABM mistakes:

Mistake #1: Not spending enough time and resources on research

A lack of research when identifying the right market and the list of prospects to target paves the road to marketing disasters and losses. On the other hand, companies must invest in thought research and analysis with an emphasis on specific attributes of target accounts in the industry, identifying the unique nature of challenges their prospects face, their specific concerns, business objectives, their previous wins and losses can lead marketers to the right set of accounts. That’s why not spending an adequate amount of time and resources in the nascent stage can only lead them to potential failure in their ABM efforts.

Mistake #2: Starting with wrong accounts

Marketers need to be extra careful when selecting the right accounts and avoiding the wrong ones. Many marketers make the grave mistake of starting with accounts they chose based on their assumptions and rushing to the negotiation and closing the deal. Thus, many businesses and professionals waste their time, resources and funds they spend in their Account Based Marketing efforts and in the end, run huge risks of lesser leads in their pipeline, loss of quality of leads and losing revenues.

Mistake #3: Marketers flying solo and not collaborating with the rest of the revenue team

Many B2B marketers take ABM efforts as solo marketing approaches without seeking help and support from other functional teams. While Account Based Marketing strategies enable marketing and sales teams to coordinate with greater alignment, with each team catering to accounts they believe will be the most profitable, the reality is that both need to sit together and discuss to spot the key target accounts, devise and set of metrics, and decide the metrics that measure what success looks like for both teams.

Mistake #4: Not approaching content with the same ABM principles

Most B2B marketers believe they need to create volumes of new content and new assets for their target accounts. But, instead of creating a large of amount of content or new assets, marketers need to focus on devising a plan to create content that accounts need.

Instead of mass-producing all new content, companies need to create the copy to promote their previously created content such as whitepapers, ebooks, infographics or case studies with click- call-to-action statements or with relevant, complementing images for clients’ landing pages. Or else, they can simply pick up old content and tweak to make it more relevant to the current targeted customers and by replacing existing images with more relevant and industry-specific images tailored for the current audience and the industry they are in. That’s how, with the right images, the right information and correct industry-specific terms, you can deliver tailored and industry-specific content solutions by simply reusing the content tailored to current visitors.

Mistake #5: Marketers not extended digital program to ABM

Many B2B companies and marketers consider that Account Based Marketing campaigns as an extended part of their overall digital marketing activities. This could include webinars and event, content marketing, or online advertising, however, ABM programs will enable companies to use the list of target accounts in planning their digital as well as analog programs.

For example, marketers can identify which regions need higher marketing investments, resources and efforts by analyzing cities with major target accounts.

Mistake #6: Giving up on ABM campaigns too quickly

B2B marketers need to focus on driving consistent engagement from their clients through focused Account Based Marketing campaigns. Unlike B2C marketing campaigns where prospects are driven with short-term promotional campaigns to achieve a sale of specific product or service, ABM takes longer for results. B2B marketers need to deploy persistent campaigns to get their prospects and buyers engaged to their programs for longer periods of time. They need to plan “always-on” marketing campaigns to get key decision makers of target accounts hooked to their messages to achieve ABM success.

Mistake #7: Not categorizing accounts for ABM

After identifying high-value accounts, companies need to focus on categorizing the list of target accounts according to the different segments and parameters they are taking into account. An effective account categorization process must take note of past performance, challenges, predictive data scoring to classify the “right account profile.”

SiriusDecisions has concluded that many ABM marketers classify their accounts based on implementing metrics such as, 58% large enterprise accounts, 77% named account, 39% segment-based account, 48% industry or vertical-based account, and 17% customer lifecycle. In the process of categorization of accounts, they use a combination of

  • Technographics information which states the technologies in use by target accounts
  • Firmographic information which includes details on size of company, industry they are in
  • Intent data that includes their data on marketing activities
  • Engagement data which includes stats on how the account is active with the company

What are you doing to ensure proper account selection?

Mistake #8: Approaching ABM as a one-size-fits-all strategy

Every account is unique. Marketers need to always identify unique target accounts or a group of accounts to identify which account needs greater efforts, more time, resources and budget as per the goal of accounts to drive more revenues from those. Identifying and segregating a list of target accounts will guide marketers and companies in prioritizing resources and budget while making marketing strategies for accounts. When they are investing their 100% of their marketing focus and resources in their key target accounts, they will drive overall revenue growth for the company.

Marketers need to categorize their accounts while into roughly three major types – whether a “lite”, a “classic,” or more of a “hybrid” type. Classification of accounts in this way will guide marketers in planning the level of automation required, the resources required to be allocated, and their impact on the performance level. Based on that analysis, marketers should deploy a range of Account Based Marketing approaches whether hyper-focused efforts for mega-accounts or highly scalable marketing activities for several smaller target accounts.

Thus, account selection, categorization and identification of uniqueness of accounts lays an important foundation that helps marketers define their return on investments on their ABM efforts. When they make mistakes or wrongly categorize in this phase, their efforts can get wasted on low-potential targets or they might allocate lesser resources in their larger or mega accounts, thus losing a great deal in revenues.

Summarizing, ABM strategies vary from one company to another, but successful categorization of accounts, allocation of resources and deploying the right plan according to the targeted engagement cycle for different types of accounts are the cornerstone of ABM success. Do you find these ABM tips useful? Drop your comments below and share your unique strategy to ensure success in Account Based Marketing campaigns.


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.

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