If you’re like most marketers today, you’re probably pretty excited about Account-Based Marketing.
But as you’re starting to bridge the gap from theory to reality, you’re running into some new challenges. At most companies, the budgeting cycle for a new strategy takes place well in advance of the final goal setting and program planning. This leaves marketers, who are ready to execute on ABM, confused about how to finance the change, especially when they’ve previously committed budgets to a set of programs and technologies. While they don’t want to miss out on the benefits of ABM, they’re worried they won’t be able to fit it into their plans effectively.
The truth is, you don’t need an unlimited budget or a trust fund to get started with ABM. In fact, there are several ways to successfully finance your ABM initiative, from programs to technology—and none of them involve starting from scratch.
MARKETING PROGRAMS IN AN ABM WORLD
When it comes to ABM, one of the first questions marketers always ask is: “How will this impact the programs I’m already running?” While we’d like to say everything is going to stay the same and you’ll magically be doing ABM, the truth is, there will be some change to your existing programs.
Take a look at some of the programs you’re already running and see how they (and their designated budgets) will change with ABM.
THINKING ABOUT TECHNOLOGY
While it’s important to understand the changes to your programs at a strategic level, once you’ve done that, you’ll probably realize that you need additional resources to execute them. Technology is one of the resources that help support those programs, automate processes and scale your ABM strategy.
Technology isn’t a silver bullet, nor is it one-size-fits-all. You could have all the technology in the world, but if you don’t have a plan for each piece (or an understanding of how your entire stack fits together), you won’t be successful. A better way is to evaluate your current processes to identify problems and opportunities. That will give you a clear picture of your strategy and the technology that will help you execute on your plan.
GETTING THE BUDGET YOU NEED
The first step to moving budget around starts with taking an honest look at your current marketing performance. Answering these questions isn’t just a good starting point for ABM, it’s an important exercise your team should be doing on an ongoing basis. Once you’ve figured out what’s working and what isn’t, you can start to make bigger decisions around budget and use one of the following budgeting strategies to optimize your current marketing programs:
1. You’ll need to make a list of all your marketing programs and tactics to answer the following questions: What marketing programs are you currently running? How much are you spending on each program? What’s working? What’s not working? What’s falling behind? Where can you free up budget?
2. Another viable option is integrating ABM into existing categories of your marketing budget. For example, if your Director of Web Marketing is already working on a website relaunch, it might be a good time to walk up to his or her desk and recommend rolling a personalization solution into the existing proposal. Or, if your demand gen team is already investing in direct mail, you can work with them to make sure those campaigns go exclusively to the accounts on your target account list.
However you choose to approach the problem, the key takeaway is that you don’t need an unlimited budget to get started with ABM.
If you’d like to learn more about each of the strategies we’ve discussed and hear from marketers who have gone through the process themselves, then check out “ABM for every budget” session at IGNITE in London.