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ABM: The Leading Lady, Not The Supporting Actress

Account Based Marketing

Megan West

If this year’s B2B Marketing Global ABM Conference taught us anything, it’s that it’s a really exciting time to be an ABMer. With ABM now sitting at the centre of many B2B marketing strategies, it’s starting to play the role of the leading lady rather than the supporting actress. I’ve been reflecting on what this means for ABM and how we should be adapting our programmes to ensure we maximise this opportunity.

1. ABM is a growth strategy, not a sales tactic

Many organisations are starting to take an account-based marketing approach to their entire B2B marketing strategy, making a conscious decision to target those who matter most across all marketing programmes. However, often programmes are badged ABM that aren’t ABM in its truest sense. It’s therefore important to define what ABM means for your business and communicate this clearly and consistently throughout the organisation. Developing an entitlement plan will help to provide clarity and focus on what it means to be a 1:1 account versus 1:Few and keep your organisation aligned to the business and marketing strategy.

2. Think big. Start small

The number of accounts you could pursue will always be larger than the amount you can pursue. Most companies pick too many, so be realistic about the resources you have available. Remember quality over quantity leads to ABM success. Control growth to sustain the quality of the programme by not scaling too quickly and being clear on what you’re doing versus not doing and why. Whilst sales and marketing alignment is critical, and often still a challenge, ABM requires leadership team buy-in and organisation wide support and involvement, so identify your stakeholders upfront and engage them early.

3. Counting the uncountable

A comprehensive measurement dashboard will support with stakeholder engagement. To future proof your programme, be clear about your scorecard and vocal about what you’ve achieved. Speak the language of your stakeholders. ABM takes time to deliver so have clearly defined, realistic metrics. Measure everything, the quantitative and the qualitative. Anecdotal feedback and stories are key. Be persistent, don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo, create a test and learn culture and fine tune your programme as you go. Build an ABM community by taking your stakeholders on the journey with you and encourage open channels of communication to share and champion success.

4. Create micro moments of delight

ABX (Account Based Experiences) has become interchangeable with ABM in recent years and there are clear benefits to creating unique and immersive experiences for our strategic customers. However, what’s arguably more important is consistent experiences. Meeting your customers where they, knowing what their big moments are and being present to create micro moments of delight. After all, it’s the small things that count. Use emotion, humour and bold creative to bring a human connection to all your ABM activities.

5. Make Gen AI your co-pilot

There’s no doubt AI is a disrupter and it will change the future of work. The developments being made in AI technology in the next 2-3 years will impact us for the next 2-3 decades in the same way that the internet, email and social media has changed the world of work. So how do we avoid becoming an AI laggard and instead embrace AI technology by learning how to use it effectively and responsibly. The key thing to remember is that AI is only as good as the person using it. To ensure accuracy and authenticity you must still be the editor, (we’ve all seen some of the entertaining Chat GPT outputs), and work in partnership with the technology, like you would a co-pilot. Generative AI (or Gen AI) can support with the efficiency and scalability of ABM, yet according to Forrester <10% of marketers have already adopted Gen AI within their ABM programmes. In a world where we all need to try to do more with less, Gen AI provides a huge opportunity for ABMers to optimise their programmes and deliver a greater return.