What to Do When Your ABM Strategy Isn’t Working

February 13, 2018 | Kim Para Allen | No Comments |

With all the content surrounding ABM, you’d think we’d see more articles on the true fact that when it comes to ABM, the struggle is real. When executed correctly, ABM can be one of the best strategies your company has ever implemented.

But what happens when it’s not?

You’ve checked the boxes you’ve implemented an account-centric approach. All of your efforts were (hopefully) well thought through in the beginning, and make sense for your business. You may also have executive buy-in, convinced the teams of the results, aligned strategy, and got everything up and running (in pilot form or fully adopted). Unfortunately, even with your best efforts, you’re not seeing the expected results.

What do you do when your account based strategy isn’t working?

Look at key performance indicators.

Here are the KPIs you should be looking for when measuring ABM success. Keep in mind that these vary from those of a traditional model. Some expectations may include:

  • Increased value in target accounts
  • Increased engagement with target accounts
  • Faster sales cycles / deal velocity
  • Increased win rates
  • Better relationship building with customers (retention)

Face Palm… But I’m actually seeing…

  • Gaps in reporting
  • Miscommunication to target accounts
  • Disinterest from target accounts
  • Closed lost deals

Now what?

Here are overlooked issues that will cause an account-based strategy to flop, or simply be less successful than you were hoping:

  • Logistics
    • Time: think of how far out you are starting plays and the length of your typical sales cycle – it may be a patience game
    • Sample size: if this is a pilot you need to arm it with realistic target accounts
    • Technology: Do you have the tech stack to make the touches and plays you need to?
  • Coverage
    • Do you have the data needed? This includes all of the account data necessary for ABM plays (leads, contacts, activity, account history, etc.), and it needs to be accurate.
    • Did you identify your Total Addressable Market (TAM) and target accounts? How about building out your Ideal Customer Profiles (ICP) and personas? Maybe you did identify these things but they need a few tweaks in criteria.

This strategy is very customized in touching specific leads, related to specific accounts, with specific messages, at specific times. If you don’t have the data needed to personalize these touches, that will cause a problem.

  • Awareness
    • Do people know about your company and the product offerings? If education is lacking you should look for gaps in plays and in your content library. Maybe this is an indicator that you need to build up your TOFU educational (not-at-all-salesy) content. You should also think about clear messaging and website presentation.
  • Engagement
    • Is there a lack of engagement? The solution is PLAYS! Make sure your plays make sense. You should have a playbook that provides play options, tactics (many channels), and tools for you to be successful in engaging target accounts!
    • Is everyone on the same page? Another important piece of engagement is making sure you have that internal alignment amongst teams. There shouldn’t be siloed processes; instead, there should be consistent messaging and cooperative playmakers and play participants.

*Plays need to vary – content, players, length of time, etc. And they will sometimes target one persona vs. multiple. If you don’t have one already, you need a playbook!

Listen, just don’t give up on this account based everything world just yet, ok?

There are many moving pieces that need to be implemented, brainstormed, and optimized that it is easy to call it a day if you don’t see the results immediately. However, all of those aspects CAN be inspected and turned into something great.

Have questions? Don’t hesitate to reach out!

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