When talking ABM, we’re long past what and we all know why.
Most large B2B technology firms are in-market with account-based sales and marketing programs to some extent. Some are doing a solid job and producing results to match their growing proficiency.
In 2019, the challenge is taking it to the next level, going beyond table stakes. It’s about scaling. Enhancing impact. Making account-based strategies, metrics, tactics and tools central to the DNA of the organization.
It’s time, as Jim Collins famously put it many years ago, to go from good to great.
Someone who knows a lot about up-leveling account-based strategy and execution to true best-in-class performance is Quarry’s own Meredith Fuller, and I recently spoke with her on the #FlipMyFunnel podcast.
What does great look like?
A few areas Meredith highlighted:
Ideal account identification: Great ABM means going way beyond the table stakes firmographics and technographics that everyone starts with. When you layer in predictive data, behavioral data, account triggers and more—and when you understand the correct “order of operations” to apply the right filters in the right ways at the right times—you’re on the road to greatness.
Deep personalization: You need to pull this rich account intelligence all the way through into your message delivery. There are so many hot buttons, and so much available insight into challenges and needs that goes unrecognized and unactioned in many ABM programs. Deep personalization enables extremely timely and relevant communication at every stage of the journey. While this has been the norm in 1:1 ABM for some time, it’s now possible to do it at scale.
Tech stack optimization: Many large firms have a lot of great tools at their disposal, but they seldom leverage them to their full potential. Getting to great requires maximizing the capabilities of your existing tech stack and knitting everything together in the most effective ways so data flows seamlessly to where it’s needed. And as new ABM-specific tools are evaluated and added, integration often slows time-to-value, putting a drag on new initiatives. Top-performing teams are investing in upping their tech game.
In 2019, the challenge is taking it to the next level, going beyond table stakes.
An interesting opportunity for enterprise marketers
Elaborating on the topic of tech stack optimization, Meredith went on to say that sometimes large firms are handcuffed by procurement policies and red tape that make it very hard to trial new technology in an account-based pilot. It’s a bit of a chicken-and-egg scenario. You can’t prove ROI without the pilot, and you can’t run the pilot to its full potential without the technology.
Smart enterprise marketers are availing themselves of their agency’s tech stack to overcome this hurdle. Accessing new tools on the agency’s paper instead of their own lets them move much faster, prove value before buying, and ramp their people’s skills up more quickly.
Why great marketers hire agencies
SiriusDecisions data shows that high-growth B2B firms are significantly more likely to partner with agencies than their slower-growing (or non-growing) peers.
Meredith’s take on why: “Marketers in enterprises have day jobs. They have a lot of things on their plates. A lot of things they need to be doing and be responsible for. They don’t always have the luxury of time to dive deeply and become deep-seated experts.”
Agencies need to stay ahead of the curve, constantly cultivating their deep expertise with new and emerging best practices and technologies.
Choosing an agency partner
Meredith also has some sage advice for how to select an agency partner, and no, it isn’t just “hire Quarry!”
For an agency to accelerate your journey from good ABM to great ABM, they need to be experts in the entire scope, all the way from strategy through alignment, implementation, execution, measurement and optimization.
Even if you’re only looking for help in one or two areas, a partner who understands the big picture, and how everything needs to happen end to end, will be much better able to fuel your overall success. Look for tangible evidence of success in each area and you’ve likely found a solid partner.