How to effectively personalize your ABM strategy How account-based marketing can improve personalization

7 ABM challenges and how to solve them

Navigating through account-based marketing program headwinds in team collaboration, budgeting, resource allocation, scalability, and tool selection requires a unique approach.

Account-based marketing (ABM) has emerged as an extremely effective strategy for businesses aiming to achieve highly personalized and targeted engagements with high-value accounts. By focusing on specific target accounts, businesses can deliver tailored content and experiences, resulting in stronger relationships and higher conversion rates. ABM also promotes alignment between a business's sales, marketing and customer service teams.

With all the benefits ABM can offer come challenges in implementing this B2B marketing strategy. Though similar to the challenges that threaten the success of other business strategies, ABM's hurdles may require a more unique approach.

Common ABM challenges and ways to address them

ABM challenges can typically arise in the program development process or when marketing campaigns go live. Businesses need to recognize these common ABM challenges early and often and take the proper steps to resolve them.

1. Unifying goal-setting for marketing and sales teams

ABM success depends on close collaboration and alignment between sales and marketing teams. Unified goals include jointly defining target account criteria, developing personalized outreach strategies and coordinating efforts throughout the customer journey. Marketing and sales teams often have different goals, so achieving total alignment can be challenging -- especially when corporate culture fosters siloed departments.

Therefore, it's important to establish shared goals through regular communication and joint planning sessions. And make sure the end game benefits both teams when new customers are won and revenue is increased. Shared dashboards or CRM systems can facilitate seamless information exchanges.

chart showing the customer journey

2. Budgeting allocation for ABM initiatives

ABM often requires a dedicated budget for personalized campaigns, account research, technology investments and data analytics. Allocating the necessary resources can be a challenge for businesses, especially when there's competition for marketing budgets across various initiatives. Convincing stakeholders of the long-term benefits of ABM and demonstrating its potential ROI are necessary to secure adequate funding and require a strong business case.

Align ABM initiatives with organizational goals and objectives. With organizational support, consider reallocating budgets from less effective marketing channels to fund ABM efforts. Explore cost-effective ABM strategies, such as initially focusing on a subset of high-potential target accounts or using existing tools.

3. Implementing the right tools and technologies

ABM features built into many popular CRM and marketing automation tools enable teams to get programs up and running, but they can be limiting and might instead require exploring specific ABM-dedicated tools. ABM platforms must often integrate with existing marketing and sales systems, data management platforms and other software, which can create complexity, require data mapping and potentially cause disruptions to existing workflows.

Before implementing ABM tools and technologies, companies should conduct a thorough assessment of the software's integration capabilities with existing systems and evaluate the overall cost of adding new tools. Collaborate with IT teams and choose technologies that can be seamlessly integrated or have compatible APIs to ensure the smooth flow of data and minimal disruption to workflows.

4. Consistent measurements and reporting results

ABM can require a shift in measurement and reporting practices. Traditional marketing metrics may not align with ABM objectives, so new metrics and attribution models need to be defined to accurately measure success. ABM also relies heavily on accurate and comprehensive data about target accounts and their engagement. Gathering, integrating and analyzing the required data can be complex, particularly if organizations lack the necessary infrastructure, data management practices or access to quality data sources. Insufficient data can hinder the effectiveness of ABM campaigns and personalized account experiences.

Align account-level metrics with ABM objectives and define them in terms of account engagement, pipeline velocity and the revenue influenced. Implement analytics tools and reporting systems that track and measure the impact of ABM initiatives. Also, establish clear attribution models to accurately tie revenue and success to ABM efforts, which can, in turn, assist with building a case for more budget in the future.

5. Scalable ABM strategies

Scaling ABM across a larger number of target accounts can be challenging. Personalization efforts and tailored experiences get more complex as the number of accounts increases. To scale ABM strategies, create a comprehensive plan that addresses all the needs of the target accounts and the necessary internal resources.

When doing the technology assessment, organizations need to account for the role automation can play in streamlining the process and ensuring scalability without compromising the quality of personalized engagements. Marketing automation platforms integrated with ABM technologies enable automated execution and distribution of personalized content and marketing campaigns. Marketing and sales teams can also use the software for dynamic content generation and personalization techniques based on account-level insights. Also, implement workflows and triggers for timely and relevant interactions.

6. Resource allocation

Successful ABM implementation often requires dedicated resources, including skilled personnel, technology platforms and data analytics capabilities. Allocating the necessary budget and resources can be challenging, especially if organizations need to invest in new tools, hire or train staff, or establish partnerships to support ABM initiatives.

Allocate dedicated resources once a strong business case is built to proceed with ABM initiatives. Consider hiring or training staff with ABM expertise, explore partnerships or outsourcing options to supplement in-house resources, and assess the technologies needed to support the implementation and reporting of the ABM programs.

7. Connecting with key decision-makers in target accounts

Once target accounts are identified and all the content is created for a highly personalized ABM program, identify the right decision-makers and connect with them. Many companies often have many people involved in the buying process, yet key purchasing decisions generally come down to one person or group.

To successfully identify the key purchasing decision-makers within target accounts, conduct research on their companies and their buying process. It's essential to identify the specific contacts associated with the purchase-decision unit. Explore social media platforms to better understand them and observe their interests and preferences through their online presence. This kind of information will help businesses deliver exceptional experiences and build stronger relationships with target accounts.

Editor's note: TechTarget offers ABM and project intelligence data, tools and services.

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