Marketers love to talk about best practices, but we’re susceptible to a lot of bias and obstructed view.
Sometimes we overemphasize our own experiences, and think that our own wins and losses are representative of more than they really are.
Sometimes we latch onto a particular book, or framework, or compelling conference keynote and make everything about that. Until the next one grabs our focus.
Few of us have the opportunity to tap deeply into the intimate details of the marketing work being done at hundreds of companies, and to develop a powerful and nuanced view of what best practices really entail.
Steve Casey and Matt Senatore do just that.
Learning from the experts
Steve is the Principal Analyst for B2B Marketing at Forrester. Matt is the Service Director for Account-Based Marketing at SiriusDecisions.
They are both wealths of insight and information, and it was my absolute pleasure to interview them for the #FlipMyFunnel podcast and to ask them all sorts of questions about the best of the best in account-based marketing.
Whatever your role and whatever the stage of your programs, if enterprise ABM is what you do, I urge you to check out the full, 40-minute podcast.
Eventually, most organizations will recognize that all B2B marketing is account-based
Some podcast highlights
For those too time-strapped to listen to the full conversation, here are a few highlights:
- Top-performing account-based companies do things measurably different from their lower-performing competitors. “High-performing companies absolutely make a real, concerted commitment to ABM, and that’s not just lip service,” says Senatore. They have achieved full executive and Sales alignment. Most have a dedicated ABM leader to oversee the program. They do much more content customization. They are also much more likely to adopt emerging technologies, including intent monitoring, web personalization and more.
- As they scale beyond initial pilots, many enterprises establish an ABM center of excellence or program office to establish governance and support the development of infrastructure, process and measurement.
- ABM roles are increasing in number now, and there are many career opportunities for those with the requisite skills and experience. It’s not so clear, however, that ABM-specific roles are here to stay. “Eventually, most organizations will recognize that all B2B marketing is account-based,” says Casey. Adds Senatore, “the term (ABM) should just go away. It’s just good B2B marketing.”
- A common (and dangerous) mistake is to pilot ABM by targeting a number of accounts where you have zero traction, and—even worse—where they’re firmly entrenched with competitors. “That’s not setting us up for success,” says Senatore. “That’s Sales saying, ‘Marketing, go try to make a miracle happen.’”
- A pilot program should include a variety of different objectives: Perhaps some greenfield accounts where you have no traction, some where there is traction, some stuck pipeline deals and also some existing clients where you’re aiming for cross-sell and upsell. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
- Many organizations run successful pilots, then struggle to scale. “Scaling, primarily on the content dimension, is a huge challenge,” says Casey. “Achieving the appropriate level of personalization is difficult.” Adds Senatore, “Another place we see companies often have to go back is where they don’t spend enough time up front setting the right objectives… and it’s not clear what success looks like, so they have mismatched expectations.”
Matt and Steve also teased some exciting “next best step” AI advancements, and shared a few examples of large enterprises doing some great things in account-based marketing. I’ll leave those stories for those who listen to the podcast.