Is your ABM program delivering true ROI or just marketing stats?
One of the reasons I chose to work in the ABM space was because there is a relentless focus on helping clients transform their sales and marketing to develop and grow their most valuable customers. For me, marketing done well is impossible without the involvement, understanding of and buy in of the sales team. They are the people at the coal face, talking to customers every day and they have the best understanding of their client’s business. Where I see the most success in 1:1 ABM programs with clients, is where they are working with key stakeholders across both marketing and sales, and where both have a real drive and passion to create change and value for their customers.
In a recent webinar from Sirius Decisions, it was noted that 80% of respondents reported that ABM drove increased deal sizes, increased engagement in top accounts and improved win rates. (You can read our blog about the webinar here ).
However, a huge call out from the Sirius team was that about half of the companies that responded were not measuring one of these key metrics relating to their program success.
I think the problems here are three-fold:
1. Firstly, as the term ‘ABM’ has become more widely used, the definition is slipping. On more than one occasion I’ve seen clients who have been presented with an ‘ABM’ program which is really no more than a cool direct mail piece directed at the right person.
2. Second, it can be a struggle internally due to legacy systems to accurately capture and measure the right statistics.
3. And thirdly, programs that are marketing-led and don’t have the sales engagement struggle constantly with reporting and showing value back to the business. If sales don’t understand the ABM process and aren’t a key part of delivering the solution to the client, they can be disparaging and undermine internal confidence in the program.
But, looking forwards, I think the measurement issue goes even deeper – beyond marketing and sales and into customer success. Even if your ABM program creates pipeline, bigger deals and accelerates sales cycles, the process doesn’t stop there. When many large, enterprise organisations are using ABM to communicate complex propositions to complex clients, securing the deal is only the first part of the process. In our cloud focused, recurring revenue world, selling the software is part one. Successful implementation, uptake and an ongoing relationship with the customer is the long-term goal.
I believe this is where it is important to build in value at the very beginning of the process. It’s not about creating campaigns. You can use fantastic creative to create cut through at the sales interface, but more importantly, that creative must be built on insight, experience and understanding of the clients, and their customers.
The importance of this experience cannot be overstated when it comes to looking at your long-term goals for your ABM program. So many software companies are just interested in pushing their message out – they are not thinking about the client’s needs, let alone their client’s customers. It’s important to spend time understanding the industry at a macro level; your clients and their particular space, products, values and strategy and how all that fits into what their customers are looking for. Using insight, data, automation where appropriate, but also, critically, human judgement and experience, to craft propositions and messaging and develop sustained programs designed to move the needle across the key metrics but also around engagement and ongoing relationships.
When you’re starting out with an ABM program, it can often be possible deliver some of the execution in-house. As a specialist consultant I can help by bringing in deep understanding, experience and critical thinking to your program to take it from clever key account marketing to a truly valuable, integrated and transformational program. So, if you’re serious about your ABM program, get in touch.