2016 was undoubtedly the year of Account Based talk. Whether you call it Account Based Marketing, Account Based Sales, or – as we believe it should be called – Account Based Everything, the bottom line is this: it’s time for a strategic, personalized, integrated, and account-focused approach to growing and sustaining business.
It’s that time of year to look back at the best posts that spurred new ideas, lively conversations, and even heated debates. It’s an exciting time since many of these posts have shaped the direction of the future of how we do business in B2B markets.
Account Based Everything (ABE) is a topic that we’re passionate about at Engagio, and it’s a topic we know a lot about. Admittedly, we’ve included some of our own content on this list, but we’ve done our best to dig up the best content whatever the source. These are not ABM or ABE 101 level posts. These posts go deep into the strategies and tactics it takes to execute.
That said, there’s likely some content we’ve missed, so if you think there’s a piece that belongs on this list, please let us know by leaving a comment below.
Account Based Everything
By Tom Searce of TOPO
Tom and the team at TOPO provide us with a detailed review of an effective high-level strategy, then dives deep into the tactics of developing account-based marketing, sales development, sales, and customer success programs. In this post, they explore the factors contributing to the rise of the account-based movement, and TOPO’s framework for Account-Based Everything, including detailed descriptions of 8 ABE categories and all 77 unique elements.
By Justin Gray of LeadMD
This was another great Q&A with two more ABE rock-stars: our very own Jon Miller, and Engagio friend Matt Heinz. They answer questions like, “Is ABM just another buzzword?”, “What are companies doing well?” and “Is marketing actually at the center of customer relationships?” Both Jon and Matt answer each question and seem to be pretty aligned on their answer, but offer different explanations and insights.
By Tracy Eiler of InsideView
Tracy wrote this post on the back of the webinar Account-Based Marketing & Selling: Evolving Your Customer Engagement, in which Jon Miller of Engagio, Megan Heuer of SiriusDecisions and Tracy discussed how to help your sales and marketing teams attack the right accounts, in the right way… together. This post summarizes the three key takeaways from the webinar. Each takeaways includes actionable tips you can implement right away, whether you’re just starting out with ABE or you’re neck-deep and want to keep refining your process.
By Justin Gray LeadMD
This is an interview with Tom Searce and Craig Rosenberg of TOPO, a leading research and advisory firm that coined the phrase Account Based Everything, has helped raise the conversation around the topic. As leaders in the space, they have a lot to say about the skills, the tech/tools, the people and the implementation of ABE. It’s a long post, but a must-read if you’re serious about knowing what it takes to be account based.
By Brandon Redliner of Engagio
Sales and Marketing alignment… it’s something that everyone talks about and aims for, yet few companies ever achieve. This isn’t a post about why you need alignment in ABE (I’m sure you’re already bought in). This is a post on how to get alignment. Some teams believe they have it, but there are obstacles in the way of true alignment, and that’s what I start off talking about in this post. I give 4 warning signs to look for to spot misalignment in your organization. Then, I go into the 7 critical elements for aligning sales and marketing. There are practical tips and examples of what each team can do to help the other.
Account Based Marketing
By Jon Miller of Engagio
ABM is a powerful combination of people, processes, and technology that allows marketers to land the big fish by focusing on quality over quantity. In this whale of a post, Jon dives deep with his 6-step ABM process, breaking down each with definitions, graphs, charts, etc. The 6 steps are 1) account selection; 2) discover and map contacts; 3) develop account insights; 4) generate account relevant content; 5) develop account specific interactions; and 6) orchestrate account focused plays.
By Lauren Frye of Bizible
This post is all about tactics. It’s a list of 22 practical uses account-based marketers can implement to reach and engage their target companies, expand the funnel, and create advocates for their product or service offering. If you’ve been looking for a long list of practical things you can do to augment your ABM program (broken up by category), you’ve found it.
By William Wickey of LeadGenius
There’s much debate on who should be using ABM as a strategy to go to market. It’s obvious that all companies selling to the enterprise should be, and the general consensus seems to be that it works well for mid-market companies too. But how about small(er) businesses? This is what William explores in this post. He looks at the effect that tools and data have on a company’s ability to execute an ABM strategy.
By Pam Neely of Act-On
Content marketing was (and still is) a big part of a B2B company’s success. Even though Account Based Marketing and Sales has largely taken over the conversation, it turns out that the two are highly complementary. This post starts off with giving some context for how ABM fits in a marketing program and a company’s overall strategy. Then, the majority of the post explores to develop an account-based marketing plan that’s content focused on 7 steps.
By John Hurley of Radius
In this post, John explains that Gartner’s Hype Cycle puts predictive at the “height of expectations”, indicating that this rising category will mainstream in just 2 to 5 years. He then shows that buyers of predictive use account-based marketing as their primary application – the two are undoubtedly intertwined, acting as catalysts to each other’s buzz. Finally, he takes a look at where ABM is hot right now and explains why ABM and predictive are so concentrated right now.
By Jonathan Crowl of Skyword
When your brand has an inbound mentality, introducing account-based marketing can seem like a daunting task. But it shouldn’t. In this post, we get inside the mind of an ABM marketer as Jonathan Crowl lays out how to do it. He explains that there may be growing pains, but if you’re willing to stick with it, you’ll get more efficient, ROI increases, and the workload for these professionals goes down.
By Josh Hill of Marketing Rockstar Guides
As a sales rep turned marketer who has had to build an ABM program, Josh clearly understands the principles and connective tissue that holds everything together. He believes most B2B marketers have yet to master the marketing operations required to track and run the existing marketing strategy. Deciding to implement ABM shouldn’t be taken lightly. In this epic post, he goes beyond account selection and outbound campaigns to talk about more of the operational side of ABM. This is complete with practical applications and real use cases of ABM campaigns.
By Andrew Nguyen of Bizible
Measuring success is a crucial step in ABM, but you have to think about how and what you’re measuring before you implement your program, not after. In this post, Andrew covers the tracking and metrics you need to understand what good ABM looks like. He explains how to measure account coverage, engagement, influence, and revenue. This is the stuff that helps marketers figure out how to increase deal velocity, close rates and contribute to revenue generating activities for the company.
By Jon Miller of Engagio
This post goes beyond metrics for your ABM ads and looks at the new quality metrics (versus quantity metrics of the old demand gen model). Since we’re now fishing with spears instead of nets, a lower volume and higher value approach make us rethink our priorities. Instead of relying on marketing-generated pipeline to prove our value, account-based marketers must embrace revenue responsibility and demonstrate how they influence deals and improve key business outcomes.
By Sangram Vajre by Terminus
Sangram and the team at Terminus are among the leaders in account based ads, and this post looks at measuring your success and optimizing your ads in ABM. He explains that your metrics will depend on your business goals and the type of campaign you’re running, but gives a solid starting position for the KPIs your team should track.
By Brandon Redlinger of Engagio
As the B2B space evolves, trends come and go. But we’re in a unique place right now where we have the chance to leverage two of the hottest trends in the last few years – Account Based Marketing and Content Marketing. In this post, I give specific details of some tactics to integrate your existing content into your ABM program. I also spell out some hacks to leveraging personalized content for each tier of your target accounts.
Account Based Sales & Sales Development
By Trish Bertuzzi of The Bridge Group
Many companies claim to be account centric, but in this post, Trish calls out the account-based wannabes. She also introduces a new acronym she feels is more fitting for the space: ABR. Account Based Revenue. However, this goes beyond buzzwords – true success requires an orchestrated approach to driving revenue. The point is to not only understand but execute on a strategic go-to-market approach that orchestrates personalized marketing, sales, and success efforts to land and expand at named accounts.
By Charlie Liang of Engagio
Ready to get started with Account Based Everything or take your existing program to a new level? There are a lot of great brands, products, and services available to help you get started. Our account based everything Market Map, identifies vendors for each of the account based activities. Charlie breaks his post up into sections, explaining each section, starting with core sales development tools, then infrastructure tools, and ends with other ABM tools to fill out your tech stack. And, of course, he offers Engagio’s latest ever-popular market map.
By Shelley Cernel of Knowledge Tree
I like this post a lot because personally, I don’t think sales enablement gets talked about enough in ABE. Shelley starts the post off with giving her take on what account-based selling is coming from a sales enablement company. She also offers thoughts on what they think is driving this trend. Finally, she talks about how sales leaders can use sales enablement to help execute a successful ABS strategy within their organization.
Brandon Ray of BetterWorks
There’s no one-size-fits-all model for ABS – there are too many variables in the market, your company, your product and your customer. However, there are fundamental principles that all company must consider when building your ABS machine. Brandon lays out 5 in this post. He gets very practical and tactical with advice he believes will help your company succeed in this new model.
By Brandon Redlinger on SalesHacker.com
This is a guest piece that I wrote for SalesHacker.com and was written more for the sales and sales development audience, but is applicable if you’re in marketing and own the responsibilities of demand gen and clean data. Today, technology enables us to become laser-focused on who we should target. Your entire account based program hinges on the account selection process. That’s why you must choose the right types of data and the right vendors. This post takes an in-depth look at all three types of data, gives some recommendations on vendors, and finish off with a 6 step process for choosing the right vendor for you.