• Rebecca Jones

Four Challenges of Account-Based Marketing



Account Based Marketing (ABM) is a key marketing technique that is becoming more and more mainstream. (Read more on this in our ABM – have we really reached a tipping point?’ blog). However, many companies are still sitting on the fence and that is primarily due to the prospect of overcoming the obstacles they face.


When reviewing ABM for our clients, we have found that there are 4 overarching hurdles that tech companies face in their ABM strategies:


1. Clean data is key!


Your data is key throughout the whole process. All too often at FLUME we hear of great ABM initiatives that fall short because the data used isn’t up to date. Good data is the foundation for any ABM program. And purchasing or cleaning data doesn’t have to be such a big headache. We regularly conduct Contact Discovery exercises for our clients as part of an ABM campaign where you give us your Target Account list, we agree target job titles and we will find out the stakeholder details for you. Read more on the importance of Data Driven Marketing in another of our blog articles.


2. Marketing and Sales Misalignment


Getting the buy-in from internal teams outside of the marketing departments is crucial to the success of an ABM campaign. When campaigns are run from a Marketing team with no involvement from Sales, it usually leads to disjointed efforts and poor results. Marketing and sales are no longer separate departments, and whilst it has been talked about before, this is relevant now more than ever before.


For ABM to truly work, you need everyone who has direct contact with your accounts to be fully aligned and bought into the campaign. Sales and Marketing teams must agree on and understand the goals, KPIs and metrics they are working towards together. They must collaborate and communicate to share insight into key accounts and on how to formulate the best approach. This will drive the greatest impact and results.


3. Creating the Target Account List


ABM can only be effective if you have a clear idea of who you want to target. Sounds simple but it can often be an overwhelming task for many companies. However, it is a crucial stage that must be a joint effort between Marketing and Sales.


The key is to focus on the accounts you have the most chance of closing so that together you can meet your KPIs. It must be a manageable list and the accounts must all be a good fit for your proposition. But how do you achieve this?


We find that it’s usually best to look at this from a few different angles, gather your information and then have a roundtable discussion with key stakeholders from your Marketing and Sales teams to use your data to eliminate and agree on your final targets.

The information you gather will depend on the data your company already has but we find using information from inbound campaigns you have run, the attributes you can identify from the leads or customers you already have, along with data from your CRM or lead scoring programmes is a good place to start. There will often be a sales-soured list of potential accounts. You may need to run an account discovery exercise to expand the information you have on these accounts, but once you have all of this, together you can discuss, eliminate and agree.


We can’t stress enough how important that conversation is. Not only from the perspective of achieving buy in from all, but also due to the fact that there are often valuable insights that only individuals can provide that can’t always be conveyed in a CRM!


4. Personalising and tailoring marketing to key contacts in each account


More often than not, this is the challenge that stops companies from testing the waters with an ABM campaign. They may see this as a hurdle too big to overcome and believe it’s something they should put off until they are able to dedicate enough resource to tailoring their content. However, it is possible to deliver a content experience that keeps individuals in your target accounts engaged by using what you already have.


If you start with a broader reach at the start of your programme, you can put together a collection of content that you already have by persona. Packaged up by that persona, you can then direct the individual you’re targeting to the content that will be appropriate to them in a structured journey. If you don’t already have personas defined, you will need to do this, but this can be as broad as job role as a starting point.


You can then start to update your content by industry vertical or buyer persona to get more personalised as your programme develops. You will need to go beyond the job title to build a better picture of who they are as they continue through the buyer journey. Consider for example, expertise, responsibilities and seniority as well as the technology their company uses. By the time your inside sales or sales teams are making one-to-one contact you will know more about the individual and by clearly labelling content pieces by persona or vertical you can ensure that your teams are sharing the best materials with them.


At the end of the day, every company is focused on ROI for their marketing initiatives and with ABM driving the highest returns, we encourage all companies to look at an ABM strategy. Any of your challenges can be overcome with the right focus and strategies!