Blog >
What’s Missing from Account-Based Marketing


What’s Missing from Account-Based Marketing

Johannes Hoech tackles the hype in Account-Based Marketing(ABM) and suggests methods of reducing adoption barriers for the serious practitioner.

We have been doing Account-Based Marketing (ABM) implementations for several years, and in doing so have accumulated our share of battle scars. We’ve dealt with real boards and CEOs, complete with quarterly budgets, and revenue and lead generation targets breathing down our necks. Having thus learned how to temper overly optimistic expectations for time to revenue and costs per lead, we’ve realized that the hype around ABM can hurt as much as it can help.

ABM can be a brilliant system of maturing leads and producing high quality, closable pipeline. We still marvel at the farsightedness of its creators. It can truly be a work of art that’s a joy to watch, and which is more efficient in terms of cost per lead than all the other lead generation alternatives.

But here’s the rub: By having done so, we also know it’s not the correct answer for every sales and marketing situation. It’s a complicated system that few master and it takes time to spool up and scale. During that ramp-up time the internal, executive consensus needs to be generated to set aside the additional budget to ramp ABM. In the meantime, you must keep the executive team and the board patiently waiting as they watch the ABM pipeline build—perhaps more slowly than they hoped for.

Given these practical realities, one issue is that the ABM vision, justifiably encouraged by the punditry, is outpacing its supply lines, risking high abort rates by naïve and disappointed believers.

In a recent blog about what we call the “CRO Mindset” (which is what we call ABM as the term ABM implies a focus on marketing vs. the entire revenue generation continuum) we mentioned that as of January 2017, about 15% of SF Bay Area companies’ sales and marketing organization are headed by a CRO. The presence of a CRO being one surrogate measure of at least strategic awareness for the need for modern revenue management.

Compare that modest reality to the results from an April 2016 ITSMA survey that state that 84% of the surveyed companies say that ABM’s ROI is higher than other types of marketing, that it is a key aspect of their marketing strategy, and that more than 67% plan to increase spending on ABM. ITSMA goes on to cleverly classify three different categories of program implementations: Strategic ABM, ABM lite, and programmatic ABM.

Key points include:

  • Outpacing its supply lines

  • ABM’s ROI

  • Sacred cow marketing spend

Read the full article, Time to Get Real: Going Beyond the ABM Hype, on LinkedIn.