As I made my way from NYC to Boston to California (and back) this month, I couldn’t help but think about the different ABM journeys that CMO Huddlers shared in a month’s worth of Peer Huddles.
No two journeys look the same. Some CMOs drove different makes and models, others used different GPS systems to plan their routes. In this edition of Huddle Up, we explore 4 of the top takeaways from these conversations no matter where you are in your ABM journey.
1. ABM - The GPS of B2B Marketing
Reaching the destination effectively requires both navigation and the right vehicle. An innovative Huddler renamed their ABM to ABCS (Account-Based Commercial Strategy) “to showcase the close connection between Sales and Marketing.” This encapsulates the essence of ABM: bridging the divide between these two pillars.
They emphasized, “This is a joint effort—we need the sales account managers to figure out the needs of a targeted account and what that account is trying to accomplish.” Piloting this new approach on just three accounts, they are finding the quickest routes to winning: identifying key decision makers, understanding project priorities, and brainstorming uniquely tailored content.
2. Starting Your ABM Journey without Advanced Tech
Though advanced GPS-like tools like DemandBase or 6Sense can help inform the journey, one can still navigate using an old-fashioned map. As some have pointed out: “If you want to start implementing ABM, you should do it without a system. Get a pilot going and then you’ll be able to make the case for the software tools.” The essence lies in collaboration with sales teams, segmenting the market, and identifying potential-laden accounts.
3. ABM in Different Use Cases
- The Long Route: Just as some trips can be longer than anticipated, so can certain sales cycles. ABSM (Account-based Sales & Marketing), yet another name for the same journey, can be a godsend in scenarios with extended buying cycles. As a Huddler noted, “ABSM was really helpful since we were able to do targeted messaging to solve the buyer’s pain points,” emphasizing the improved trust and synergy between sales and marketing.
- Partner Programs: Transitioning from a volume-driven model to a more customized experience is key. By segmenting partners based on revenue potential and their progression status, companies can create more tailored strategies.
- The Fast Track—Existing Customers: Investing in existing customers can yield significant dividends. The integration of customer data, however, remains pivotal. “Delivering an account-based experience is totally dependent on having the data accessible,” says a Huddler. Moreover, it’s crucial to ensure alignment across teams, including Marketing, Sales, and Customer Success.
4. Key Pit Stops on the ABM Highway
- Data is King: Ensure you have clean and reliable data. One Huddler boasted, “Our Salesforce data was really good so we could trust the data and that was a huge head start.”
- Patience Pays: ABM isn’t an overnight success. “It takes a while to get the flywheel rolling – at least 6 months,” a seasoned expert shared.
- Sales Collaboration: Aligning closely with Sales is non-negotiable. Remember, “We started with a subset of accounts and came up with tactical initiatives together with Sales, combined outreach, started measuring and proving it worked.”
- Tech Adoption: While starting without specialized tools is possible, embracing technology is essential as your ABM matures. As aptly described, “We took a crawl, walk, run approach, and pretty soon, people were asking for more automation.”
- Choose the Right Sales Partners: Engaging with progressive salespeople who are open to experimentation can be a game-changer.
While the name might vary—be it ABM, ABSM, or ABCS—the crux remains the same: a highly targeted and integrated approach that requires closer ties between Sales and Marketing. As B2B CMOs, embracing the ethos of Account-Based strategies will not only refine your targeting but also force a mutually dependent relationship with your Sales counterparts.
Have any other thoughts about ABM? Feel free to reach out.