Account-based marketing (ABM) has been around for a long time, but it can be a challenging concept for businesses to grasp as it comes with its own, different set of challenges and practices. Whether it’s data quality, misalignment of goals or an insufficient budget, businesses new to ABM have to overcome several obstacles to achieve success.
Knowing what to avoid when switching to an account-based marketing model is just as important as knowing what to do – especially for companies that are not familiar with the concept. To this end, 12 contributors to Forbes Agency Council discuss some of the most common mistakes businesses make when implementing ABM and offer their thoughts on how an organization can avoid these pitfalls.
1. Not Thinking Outside The Box
One mistake a lot of organizations make when they create an ABM (account-based marketing) strategy is that they don't think outside the box. You're not the only one looking to attract market leaders as clients. You need to be creative. A simple and overdone email to the gatekeeper and/or higher-up is not going to suffice. Remember, an account worth having is worth the extra effort. Be creative. - Garrett Atkins, VIE Media
2. Targeting The Wrong Accounts
One common yet costly mistake some marketers make when setting up an account-based marketing strategy is selecting the wrong accounts to target. This can result in a significant waste of time and budget. Before you put your marketing dollars toward an ABM campaign, thoroughly research your targets to ensure they truly are a good fit for your solutions. - Keri Witman, Clever Lucy
3. Not Interviewing Customers
One big mistake we see quite often is businesses who are not interviewing their customers and look-alike non-customers when creating buyer personas. This is an imperative step to understand their key issues, which will drive your content strategy. You need to be sure you can create personalized relevant content for each persona, at each step of their buying journey, to drive sales. - Rich Cannava, The CSI Group
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4. Not Knowing Your Client Persona
Not knowing your client persona is a common mistake. It doesn’t matter if you use ABM, inbound marketing or outbound marketing. Know your persona. If I were to ask you who is your dream customer, you can't have a wishy-washy answer. You have to know their demographic, interests and personality traits. If you don’t, it would be difficult for any ABM strategy to succeed. - Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS
5. Failing To Identify Qualified Buyers
Those businesses just getting started with ABM shouldn't make the mistake of failing to do their homework upfront to identify qualified buyers. By putting in the time and using new ABM-aligned approaches such as intent monitoring/IP address monitoring, they can enable their sales teams to engage with the right decision-makers at the right time in their buying journey. - Paula Chiocchi, Outward Media, Inc.
6. Still Focusing On Volume
A common mistake is still focusing on volume. Often, account-based marketers use something like LinkedIn Sales Navigator to find a mass of industry-based contacts and blast out the same canned message to everyone. With ABM, you need to get more granular, provide deeper personalization and focus on the quality of the relationship you are building. The more targeted your approach, the more strategic you need to be. - Bernard May, National Positions
7. Making Too Many Assumptions
Don’t make too many assumptions when it comes to individual client needs. Some generalization is OK if you’re marketing to several organizations within the same industry, but for a truly tailored approach, analyze your target audience on an individual level, instead of assuming their needs are the same as their competitors. - Hannah Trivette, NUVEW Web Solutions
8. Poor Transition Of Contacts
One common mistake businesses make is that they don't properly transition contacts and make sure the way the transition is being handled makes sense. There will definitely be some bad experiences for your leads if not handled well. - Erik Huberman, Hawke Media
9. Forgetting To Align Sales And Marketing Goals
One mistake is forgetting to align the marketing goals with sales goals of the customers. In other words, do you understand what the potential buyer is looking for? Are you the solution for them? Another mistake is forgetting to test a small sample size to see if the ABM campaigns resonate with the target audience list. Split-testing your messaging and approach helps you understand where to put the most focus. - Terry Tateossian, Socialfix Media
10. A Breakdown In Communication
A common mistake we see is a breakdown in communication and alignment between marketing and sales teams. An ABM initiative might have started as a team effort, but over time the connection may have faltered. ABM is not just about the right targeting and messaging; it is about the activities conducted by both teams being tightly coordinated. Maintaining marketing and sales alignment is key. - Melissa Chang, PureB2B
11. Adopting A One-Size-Fits-All Mentality
Breaking out of the one-size-fits-all mentality is key. With ABM, you need to understand each and every potential market and treat them like individuals. Every company has different needs and objectives to fill, and if you approach them with a standard template solution, you'll be setting yourself up for failure from the beginning. - Adrian Falk, Believe Advertising & PR
12. Failing To Identify The Needs Of Each Segment
A mistake we often see is businesses failing to identify and truly understand the needs of each consumer segment. Not every consumer will purchase your product for the same reason — you need to have the infrastructure set up to accurately capture this data for all desired consumer segments. - Brian Meert, AdvertiseMint