Account-based marketing should be a carefully planned dance routine. Patrice Greene, President of Inverta, a B2B marketing consultancy, recently shared her perspective on how both dance partners (sales and marketing) need to have chemistry and that the choreography must be planned. Here, Greene shares her insights on how she is working with clients to make sure both teams are in step as they engage target accounts.
ABMIA: How can organizations assess whether or not ABM is for them? What are some criteria to follow when figuring this out?
PG: They should consider a few key drivers that make ABM a good fit and worthwhile growth strategy: What’s your application service provider (ASP)? If it’s a low price/ highly transactional sale aimed at SMBs— not a good fit. How long are your sales cycles? The longer the cycle, the higher the ASP—the more financial sense it makes to invest in an ABM strategy. Other considerations involve strategic “wins.” For instance, if landing a coveted logo for a new product line to create a customer success story is a critical initiative, then investing in an account-based approach for those accounts may make sense. Just remember that just because everyone is talking about ABM doesn’t mean it’s the right strategy.
ABMIA: What do you advise your clients when they ask how to either start an ABM program or scale their existing strategies?
PG: Keep it simple and don’t boil the ocean. Don’t try to use every channel and tactic that exists. Identify a small segment of accounts, work through the kinks of the process to select accounts, develop messaging, create the plays and then manage the activation of those plays. Then learn, adjust and rinse/repeat with another segment. For those that have been doing it, I find there’s not a lot of process and it emulates organized chaos. It’s typically proven to be successful so they continue to invest time and resources, but bandwidth is an issue because there isn’t a streamlined, well-communicated approach to scale. Taking a step back and creating a process for bringing new ABM plays to life is critical to that scale.
There’s a shift in mindset that needs to happen away from alignment and more towards choreography. If sales and marketing agree, people think they are aligned. Patrice Greene
ABMIA: In terms of alignment across departments, how can marketers make sure everything is aligned and nothing is left in the gaps?
PG: There’s a shift in mindset that needs to happen away from alignment and more towards choreography. If sales and marketing agree, people think they are aligned! That’s not the case. It’s not about agreeing, SLAs or hand-offs…it’s about a highly choreographed approach between not only sales and marketing, but additional resources to truly penetrate a set of accounts with a specific message and goal in mind. If approached with a mindset of a highly choreographed approach and following a predefined process for bringing plays to life, gaps won’t exist and plays will be launched successfully.
ABMIA: What tools/tactics do you prioritize for your clients in terms of an ABM tech stack?
PG: There is no silver bullet or “one-size-fits-all” tool or even set of tools. Every organization is different—your sales model, existing technology, resource pool and talent of resources, the audience you target—these are all factors in figuring out the right tech stack. Rather than suggest a specific solution, I advocate for an approach and process to identifying, evaluating and onboarding new technology. If every organization tightened up their approach to evaluating and buying martech, the entire ecosystem would benefit: less wasted sales cycle time, lower attrition, higher customer satisfaction, better application of technology.
ABMIA: You said that taking a “highly choreographed” approach to ABM and breaking it down into chunks will allow for easier adoption. Can you expand on that and how it can be done?
PG: You need a defined process/approach/framework (insert whatever buzz term you want there). Assuming organizational alignment has happened and everyone is on the same page as to why they are investing in A/B strategies, what that investment looks like from a resource and budget perspective and where they are going to start.