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3 Things Your Team Must Do To Prepare For Account Based Marketing Success

In the deep sea of B2B selling, you can’t wait around for the right people from the right accounts to swim into your demand generation net – you need to hunt “big fish” with a targeted and strategic approach. Traditional approaches in larger, longer and more complex deals are no longer enough.

That’s why so many organizations are moving to an Account Based Marketing (ABM) model. I’m sure you’ve heard the hype, as it’s been all the buzz recently. Every blog, conference or podcast talks about the benefits of ABM. But what few talk about is how to actually execute an ABM program.

In this post, I want to get tactical. I want to dive into how to begin executing Account Based Marketing.

There are three crucial things that you must do to set yourself up for success. Before you buy new ABM technology, start launching ABM ads, begin knocking on doors, you must align your entire organization, select the right accounts, and set up your data and infrastructure.

Aligning your org – Live as a team, die as a team

To ensure that your ABM efforts are successful, Sales, Marketing, and Customer Success must truly be aligned. It starts with the executive team and makes its way down through the entire organization. If you skip this step, you could be putting your program and even your entire organization at risk.

I know alignment is great in theory, but it’s much harder in practice. Here’s what you can do right now to get everyone aligned:

  • Hold an alignment workshop with Sales, Marketing, and Customer Success. Sit down with all three teams and discuss the account based strategy – everyone must be bought into this go-to-market strategy. If one team isn’t fully on board, it could derail your entire program and ultimately damage your business.
  • Next, orient your teams around a common objective. Agree on key metrics and Service Level Agreements (SLAs). Define your objectives, activities, what metrics you’ll track, and what commitments you’ll make to each other. Give everyone revenue responsibility, not just sales! A big part of this is coming up with clear and consistent definitions. You must make sure you’re all on the same page and there’s no confusion. Everyone should have a seat at the table when defining your target accounts. Yes, even Customer Success. They’re the ones who really know what a successful customer looks like – not just which accounts closed.
  • Now, it’s time to take a closer look at your pipeline metrics. All three departments can come to the table knowing exactly what is needed from a numbers perspective to hit their revenue goals.

Once you have this plan in place, it’s essential that you meet regularly. Review processes, the new Account Based Marketing metrics, and progress weekly. This helps you avoid silos. If marketing, sales, and customer success are using different tools to accomplish similar goals, you should be worried. Integrated systems help encourage aligned departments.

Here’s a handy ABM alignment checklist to get you started:

Engagio - ABM Alignment Checklist

Setting up your infrastructure to support Lead-to-Account Matching

A major factor to the success of your Account-Based-Everything strategy is your ability to find appropriate contacts for each of your target accounts and map them to their related account object in your CRM. But this is no easy feat.

Most CRM tools and Marketing Automation systems often fail to tie the right contacts to the right companies, causing organizational chaos and stunting the potential of any account-based strategy. It’s common to have hundreds or even thousands of people in your database that work at target accounts, but no way of tying their activity to the right company.

Engagio-Lead-to-Account-Chasm

The Lead-to-Account Matching process takes each lead and identifies which account they should be part of. You can do this manually using a simple match on email domain and website (domain-based matching), or automate it with technology like Engagio that uses more sophisticated “fuzzy logic” methods to match on multiple dimensions including company name, email domain, and any other fields that may contain company information.

In this model, HP, hp.com, and us.hp.com all match to the right company: Hewlett-Packard.

Once the match is made, you’re able to make the connection for the purposes of Account Based Marketing programs and metrics, while keeping the record as a lead (which maintains all your existing lead processes). That information is then used for analytics, routing, scoring, and so on. You can also explicitly convert the lead to a contact in the account.

Finding the accounts with a high chance of doing business with you

Data plays a pivotal role in selecting the right accounts to target. Here are the four types of data that you’ll need to consider when selecting your accounts:

  • Firmographics – what company characteristics best predict a successful sales process?
  • Technographics – what technologies do they currently use or are looking to invest in?
  • Intent Data – is the company showing signs that they’re in the market right now for solutions like yours?
  • Engagement Data – how engaged is your company with this account right now?

These four data sources are critical inputs whether you’re compiling your account list manually or using a more automated approach using predictive analytics. Combining multiple tactics gives you the balance you need to make this critical decision.

There’s one other thing that you could do to ensure you’re selecting accounts that have the highest likelihood to close – leverage predictive scoring. Taking a more predictive approach to building your target account list can outperform other methods due, in part, to the reality that many factors (more than the attributes you can identify with gut feel and manual data analysis) contribute to a successful sale. Much of this information is invisible to your teams.
Automated and predictive techniques can build models that better predict the propensity of a given account to buy. Just as Netflix can predict which movies you’ll like based on the ones you already liked, predictive analytics chooses the companies most likely to buy by analyzing the ones who have already bought (or become opportunities.)

Conclusion

After you have these elements in place, and only after, your team will have a good chance at winning with ABM. I’m not saying it’s going to be quick or easy, but it will be rewarding. The smart B2B organizations have already made the move to account based strategies. Are you ready?

Getting started with ABM? Learn how to build the right ABM tech stack for your needs by downloading the Account-Based Marketing Technology Stack Blueprint.

ABM Tech Stack eBook

  • Bart Thedinger

    Bart Thedinger

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