Top 7 Signs Your ABM Strategy Might Be in Trouble

When was the last time you checked in on your Account-Based Marketing (ABM) strategy? Specifically, when was the last time you took a great big bird’s-eye view of its performance? Or spent time understanding its impact on your business objectives?

It isn’t enough to invest time, money and resources into your ABM strategy if you’re not regularly checking in and readjusting to get the most out of it. Having spent the better half of my career advising and helping B2B companies build and execute ABM programs, I’ve been through this process enough times to realize that there are several red flags that have to be addressed in order to move forward. Below, I’ll outline seven of the most common ones and share proactive tips to help address them.

1. Sales Leadership Stops Coming to Your Meetings
Given the investment your company has made on its ABM strategy, it should be a high priority for leadership from both sides of the coin to be engaged in regularly scheduled conversations to assess performance. If your sales leaders were initially involved but have taken a step back, ask yourself why. Ask THEM why. Are they less invested? Less interested? Get them involved again. Whether that includes 1:1 conversations or more formal meetings, talking is an important first step. Providing success stories and data to prove the model also helps with their motivation.

2. Sales Keeps Changing the Target Account List
Oh, Sales. We love you, we really do. But it’s hard to hit a moving target. You can’t keep changing your lineup on us. Set your target account list for a quarter and let us flex our ABM muscles. Don’t rotate players in and out. Add someone new here and there or reconfigure the whole list but just for a quarter, stay consistent with your identified target accounts and let Marketing work its magic.

3. Sales Isn’t Supporting or Participating in Your Programs
When was the last time you asked Sales if a marketing campaign helped them? What about, if Sales could name a campaign you ran last quarter? As marketers, we spin our wheels and produce brilliant messaging around creative offers but none of it matters without the buy-in of the sales team. Marketing objectives and sales objectives need to be aligned. Therefore, it’s important you make Sales your new BFF.

4. Someone is Still Focused on Quantity Based Metrics
We all like quantity based metrics. I get it. But with ABM it’s about the metrics that matter. You don’t hear runners talking about how many steps they ran. Instead, they talk about sport-specific measurements like miles per hour and heart rate. These are metrics that move the needle to improve performance. ABM is the same way. It’s quality over quantity. It’s about hitting your best 10k pace, and it requires agreement from both Inside Sales and Marketing to succeed. Work towards “pipeline” and “revenue” vs. “connects” and “hand raises.”

5. You Don’t Have a Healthy (or Increasing) Number of Target Accounts on Your Website
As we know, more than half of the buying process happens on your website. While you may have an amazing site, if your marketing programs aren’t driving your target accounts there, then something isn’t working according to plan. Check your messaging, your outreach or your targeting strategy and adjust. Use the ecosystem of your channels, list segmentation and messaging to bring your targeted accounts to your website.

6. A Large Percentage of Leads are Coming From Outside Your Target Account List
Repeat after me. Everyone in Marketing needs to focus on the Target Account List. I will focus on the Target Account List. I will segment the Target Account list by size, by contacts, by steps in the buying process and anything else I can do to dial in my marketing efforts. I am one with the Target Account List. Successful ABM requires laser like focus on knowing – and marketing to – your targets.

7. The Percent of Revenue Coming from Your Target Account List is Dropping Quarterly
While there may be ebbs and flows, most B2B companies typically see 70 – 80% of revenue coming from the Target Account list. If you see it dropping significantly below that, step back and assess. There may be an issue with your list. Or maybe your sales team has disengaged. Or [insert problem here]. Don’t ignore it if your numbers drop for multiple quarters. Take action! You won’t know what’s going on unless you ask…so talk to Sales to figure out what’s going on!

*Bonus sign! Because we like round numbers.

8. You Can’t Prove the ROI on Your ABM Specific Technology*
Did you buy technology in advance of a full ABM strategy? Oops. You did, didn’t you? Take a step back and fully build out your ABM strategy separate from whatever technology you purchased. Then compare the two and see how they can be implemented to work together. If they can’t, then find the right technology that can, ditch the ones that can’t (because budget doesn’t grow on trees!) and keep moving.

The good news is that none of these are insurmountable. They require some oversight to make sure your strategy doesn’t fall victim to them, but regular check-ins with your Sales and Marketing colleagues will allow you to spot any issues early on and make minor adjustments to correct for them. And that oversight should decline over time as the success of your ABM strategy takes hold within your organization. Success will beget compliance, cooperation and support!