Aligning tech investments for ABM 2.0

It’s year two of your ABM effort, and after several solid pilots – the leadership has recognized your success. Congratulations: the company has bought in. Now, you’re feeling the pressure to scale. You need to level up.

If this sounds familiar, then it’s time to strap in. You’re ready for ABM 2.0. You’re about to take a trip way out of your comfort zone, but if you pack a few tools and make a few investments – you’ll be ready.

ABM tech investments can be broken into four (unofficial) categories: target account data, omnichannel swarm, marketing and sales orchestration, and account-level measurement. Your ABM pilots may have invested in some of these areas, but to break into ABM 2.0, you’re going to need to line up some partners or point tools to get repeatable results from all four. Let’s break them down:

Category 1: Target Account Data

  • Baseline: Most likely, your ABM pilot required you to incremental coverage only. That is, ensuring you had the right contacts at each account, and maybe information like their location and job title. That was probably hard enough, right?
  • The ABM 2.0 Investment: Line up a point tool that will not only append the data of your current, target accounts – but can also provide lookalikes for you to pursue. It’s also helpful to know whether or not they’re in market for a purchase, so a regular dump of intent data on each account will give some welcome insight to your team on where they should be spending their time. (You should also work with a partner who can provide a detailed dossier on your larger opportunities, but we’ll save that for 3.0.)

Category 2: Omnichannel Swarm (Never heard this term before? It’s the action of surrounding accounts with marketing and sales, like a swarm of bees around the honey pot.)

  • Baseline: Your ABM pilot had you utilizing a lot of different tactics in concert with one and other, promoting a flagship asset or event. Hopefully you were using account-specific display, content syndication, dimensional mail, and outbound email to name a few.
  • The ABM 2.0 Investment: Instead of your tactics running in relationship to one and other (for example: my display advertising supplements my outbound nurture), the tactics need to swarm the accounts when the accounts show engagement. This means a throttling of different tactics at different times on an account-by-account basis (for example: the frequency of impressions and outbound email for Account A has increased and another direct mail for Account A has dropped, because members of Account A are demonstrating engagement. Account B remains the same). Invest in point tools or partner agencies that use changes in account-activity as the triggering action to determine the frequency and intensity of the tactics. Resist the need to architect a lot of frequency and timing upfront.

Category 3: Marketing and Sales Orchestration

  • Baseline: Your ABM pilots probably had you meeting weekly or biweekly with sales to check the status of your company’s relationship with certain accounts. As a marketer, you enabled your sales team with phone and personal email scripts, ensuring they knew what content and offers were hitting when, etc.
  • The ABM 2.0 Investment: Much of ABM 2.0 is about scale, and you’ll need to invest in a point tool for marketing and sales orchestration that delivers real-time visibility into all the marketing and sales touchpoints into an account. Then, you’ll want to develop short collections of activities that can be deployed in real time when certain account behaviors are recognized. Essentially, you need the actions taken as a result of the decisions made in your weekly meetings to be happening minute-by-minute in real time.

Category 4: Account-level Measurement

  • Baseline: You diligently identified short, medium, and long-term metrics to gauge the effectiveness of your pilot. Your long term KPIs were probably closed deals. Depending on the accuracy of your baseline conversion rate calculation, and your ability to differentiate and attribute ABM programs vs. traditional programs to closed deals – you may have taken some liberties. There may have been some broad strokes. It’s okay, we’re all friends here.
  • The ABM 2.0 Investment: Are you breaking into a new market? Have you garnered a reputation among a segment of accounts that you’d like to change? Did you lose a logo that you’d like to win back again? ABM is nuanced. While closed vs. not closed is binary – things like changing sentiment and boosting reputation have some gray area. While these objectives can take a while to move the needle, you need to invest in tools that can help you gauge changes in sentiment, reputation, and awareness. Web visits, and even an initial closed deal, is not a leading indicator of a healthy, fruitful relationship between your company and its customers the way that things like net promoter score or share of wallet might be.

If you’re gearing up for ABM 2.0 and you want some more advice on who or what to bring in, Kathy Macchi, VP of Consulting Services at Inverta, will be hosting a Birds of a Feather lunch topic on Aligning Tech Investments for ABM 2.0 and delivering a session on “How to Prove ABM Success in 6 months or Less” at this year’s ABM Innovation Summit. Tickets are still available by clicking here!