What ABM Isn’t
February 3, 2021
Your executive team wants it. It’s the absolute rage at all of the virtual events. It seems every speaker or blog writer is pasting it every three words in their content. However, there’s a high probability if you asked 100 marketers “what is ABM?”, you’d likely get 100 different responses. For example:
- Is it a strategy to align sales and marketing?
- Is it a software or platform?
- Is it a tactic like targeted display or direct mail?
- Is it buzzword bingo for what great B2B marketers have been doing for decades?
The best way to examine what ABM is, is to take a hard look at what ABM isn’t. Let’s dive in.
ABM Isn’t a Product
There are about 400 different vendors in the space who would like to tell you otherwise, but ABM can’t and shouldn’t be solved by a single vendor. You can’t make a call, buy some software and “have ABM.” Again, ABM isn’t something you can just “turn on” by signing an IO with a vendor. ABM is a strategy, one that should be employed across a variety of marketing tactics. Display, email, syndication, direct mail, social—ABM is about aligning all of these tactics strategically to move the needle on your target account book. It’s a lot of moving pieces organized into a cohesive attack plan, designed to drive engagement and revenue from what you’ve identified as your best and brightest account opportunities. Every vendor has its place in the ABM ecosystem, but you should never be putting all of your ABM eggs in one basket.
ABM Isn’t New
While it may have a fancy new acronym, account-based marketing has been around for decades, it was commonly referred to as sales. The difference isn’t in the strategy (hyper-targeting a focus group of accounts with a custom messaging approach) but in the execution. Instead of relying on sales, which is the most expensive business unit in the company; marketing has stepped up to employ these strategies at scale, resulting in a lower overall cost! A successful ABM strategy includes both sales and marketing outreach, but the heavy lifting is now being done by the marketing side.
ABM Isn’t the End All, Be All
Account-based marketing is an awesome strategy to drive customer acquisition, but it’s not the ONLY strategy that works. Too often it becomes a singular focus on the “target account list.” The result? Marketers are now missing out on significant revenue opportunities. At DemandScience we call this “the green field,” the revenue opportunity that is there, that you haven’t identified or discovered yet. As the saying goes, too much of a good thing is usually a bad thing, and the same can be said for ABM programs. ABM should absolutely be a key strategy in your customer acquisition plan, but it shouldn’t be the only one.
Account-based marketing is a strategy that needs to be part of every B2B marketing organization’s battle plan. The difference between big wins and big challenges is in how your team attacks the ABM monster. By focusing on target accounts across multiple tactics, and not putting your eggs into any one “basket” you can drive a ton of ROI for your sales and marketing organization. Don’t buy into the hype, no one vendor or “platform” is going to check all of your ABM boxes.