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Myths and Misconceptions About Account-Based Marketing

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With 80% of marketers reporting that Account-Based Marketing (ABM) provides a greater return on investment than other marketing measures, according to the Curata blog, there’s no question the strategy continues to find favor among B2B organizations.

But, while ABM may seem to be more commonplace these days — some 81% of B2B marketers in North America claim they use it — there are still misconceptions about how it works and what makes it successful.

Six Common Myths About ABM

Deconstructing the following myths about ABM can help organizations tailor and troubleshoot their efforts, especially if their ABM campaigns are not generating the results they expected.

1. ABM is more about marketing than sales.

This is one of the most important misconceptions that exists about ABM, probably because the decision to pursue ABM tends to begin with marketing. But without coordination and direction from sales, ABM efforts will not get very far. Sales teams are critical in helping to identify target accounts and engaging target contacts at those accounts. Marketing teams, meanwhile, need to contribute to the discussion, conceptualize outreach efforts, and track engagement and success. So while ABM does not replace a solid sales effort, it requires an equal level of commitment from both marketing and sales teams. The critical point is that these two teams need to coordinate efforts to pursue the same target accounts, rather than pursuing their own efforts in silo-fashion.

2. There’s only one type of ABM.

Just as there are many different types of accounts, there are many different types and permutations of ABM. ITSMA (formerly the Information Technology Services Marketing Association), the organization that coined ABM, identifies three distinct types of ABM: There’s strategic ABM: where marketing and sales create unique campaigns for individual accounts. Then there’s ABM lite, which ITSMA defines as creating lightly customized campaigns for groups of accounts with similar issues. And there’s programmatic ABM, the newest method that makes use of technology to target multiple contacts at multiple accounts with highly personalized communications. Marketers can select from these different options, or create a plan somewhere in between, depending on such things as the cost to implement, the market sector, the number of target accounts and the product itself.

3. ABM is right for all entities or situations.

While ABM is an outstanding marketing strategy, there are situations when it’s either not necessary or not as cost-effective as traditional marketing efforts. Some of these include products with a short sales cycle, products that already hold a large portion of the market, products with strong name recognition, and lower-complexity products that represent lower cost investments. ABM may not be necessary for these types of sales, where targets already are familiar with the brand or view the purchase as more of a commodity.

4. ABM is all about marketing technology.

Some organizations believe that technology tools like digital marketing and marketing automation can do most of the work when it comes to personalized approaches and campaigns. But the truth is, while technology certainly is a critical and valuable part of ABM and for marketing in general, technology can’t do it all. In the current environment, the attention span of the average person is shorter than ever, making engagement more difficult. That makes personalization even more important, followed by coordinated sales efforts that don’t always depend on technology to form a stronger connection with targets.

5. ABM isn’t that effective as a marketing approach.

There are those marketers who may have tried ABM and, when it didn’t achieve the results they were hoping for, may have walked away from ABM thinking it’s just hype. Perhaps these individuals fall into the small minority that feel the ROI just isn’t there. It’s also possible that one or more components of ABM were simply overlooked along the way. While ABM is effective when utilized properly, it’s also complicated. It’s worthwhile to have some experience in implementing a successful program, or choose a partner that does, since there are so many variables to consider and manage. For instance, leadership backing is essential, as is persistence and follow-through.

6. ABM and personalized marketing are one and the same.

A final myth to mention is the idea that ABM and personalized marketing are the same thing. While these two approaches are very similar and share some features, they are also two distinctly different things. We’ll uncover the differences in next week’s post.

In the meantime, if you’re interested in starting a new ABM campaign or dissecting an existing program that hasn’t met expectations, why not reach out?

Topics: General