One Common Mistake Companies Make with Account Based Everything

We live in a world of instant gratification.

Whatever we want – whether it’s a private driver, food delivery, or access to information – we can generally have it, right away. Right now. This on-demand access to anything and everything has created a habit of impatience that bleeds into our lives as consumers and marketers.

“Technology has made us impatient. We no longer enjoy pausing. Or remembering. We log on, tune in, dial up and speed off like drag racers, leaving in our wake a swirling cloud of historical dust, memory, perspective and people.” – E.J. Montini, columnist for the Arizona Republic

KISSmetrics found that 40% of consumers abandon a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load, and once it does, the majority (55%) spend less than 15 seconds on a page. We don’t even read articles– we skim.

“A man who masters patience masters everything else.”

When it comes to Account Based Everything, one common mistake companies make is to expect the same kind of instant result.

Impatience is the Achilles heel of account-based strategies.

Think about it: the very nature of an account-based strategy is to support the long, complex sales that involve many stakeholders, departments and disciplines. (The big ones.)

ABM is not a magic wand. It’s a complex strategy that helps to build the right relationships, foster engagement, and grow the overall lifetime value of target accounts.

This will not be an instant occurrence. For this to work, we need to give it time.

Patience is a virtue.

According to SiriusDecisions, only 20% of companies have had full account-based programs in place for more than one year.

Wider adoption is expected with more than 60 percent planning to invest in technology for ABM over the next twelve months.

As this momentum starts to grow, we can learn a lot from those companies who have been successfully – and sometimes unsuccessfully – deploying account-based strategies.

Of these companies, 60% of those who have employed ABM for at least a year say that it has driven a revenue increase.

Now, the most important part of that last finding are these five words: for at least a year.

Account Based Everything takes time to show results.

Be patient. Once you’ve chosen your list of target accounts, stick with it for longer than you may feel is right.

Be prepared. Your sales team might overreact to bad news and want to take an account off the list, but persistence can pay off. Just because an account is not ready to buy right now doesn’t mean they should be removed from your ABM program.

Don’t abandon ship too soon. Don’t turn over more than 25% of your list each quarter. If your turnover is greater than that, you may be abandoning the ship too quickly.

“Companies with faster sales cycles should assign new targets on a quarterly basis. Businesses with longer sales cycles might reassess twice a year.” – LeanData

Set the right expectations. It’s widely known that successful Account Based Everything can deliver real results. Nearly 85% of marketers said ABM provided significant benefits to retain and expand existing client relationships, according to Marketo. But this type of result won’t happen right away for your business.

Part of your charter as an account-based strategist is to sell stakeholders at your company on the virtue of focusing on accounts, not leads. This is especially difficult given the trend of measuring marketing’s effectiveness based on metrics like lead quantity.

What truly matters is revenue, and for long, complex sales cycles, this takes time. Because of this, the way ABM is measured is very different from traditional demand generation metrics. When the going gets tough, remember:

“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” – Aristotle

How are you staying the course with Account Based Everything?

How long has it taken for you to see results?


Jon Miller
Jon Miller
Jon Miller is CEO and founder of Engagio. Previously, Jon was the VP Marketing and Co-Founder of Marketo. He is a speaker and writer about marketing best practices, and is the author of multiple Definitive Guides including Marketing Automation, Engaging Email Marketing, and Marketing Metrics & Analytics. Jon has a passion for helping marketers everywhere, and is on the Board of Scripted and is an advisor to Optimizely and Newscred. In 2010, The CMO Institute named Jon a Top 10 CMO for companies under $250 million revenue. Jon holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from Harvard College and has an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

4 Responses to “One Common Mistake Companies Make with Account Based Everything”

August 25, 2016 at 5:58 pm, Joseph Bentzel said:

This is a very important point about the need for the “long view” regarding Account Based Everything.

I think it could be taken much further by pointing out how the “inbound marketing” and B2C growthhacking practitioners have conditioned marketers to think “instant gratification”.

As someone who applies ABM mindset to Partner First growth models in SaaS/XaaS/IoT, the primary roadblock to strategic marketing progress for my clients is PRECISELY THIS FALSE CONSCIOUSNESS around instant results and vanity “metrics”.

Engagio is doing a great service to marketers by evangelizing ABM and its many benefits.


August 26, 2016 at 9:19 pm, Jon Miller said:

Thank you Joseph!


August 26, 2016 at 8:42 pm, Matt Greener said:

Great insights John.

Specifically as it pertains to patience and turnover, if an account was truly worth targeting a few months ago, it’s probably still worth targeting. If one were to frequently find that accounts are no longer worth targeting, I’d suggest reducing the list to focus on those long term “good fits”.


August 26, 2016 at 9:18 pm, Jon Miller said:

Great point Matt!


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