Why structure and process are fundamental to ABM success

Account Based Marketing (ABM) has become an integral part of many organisations’ sales and marketing strategy. Recognising its ability to engage enterprise brands and deliver significant return on investment, it’s easy to understand why.

However… successful ABM programmes aren’t straightforward to deliver. Too many business stakeholders perceive any ABM-labelled approach to be a magic bullet. That’s not the case.

What does success look like?

In our minds, success means generating measurable and meaningful results. It means developing a plan, ratifying the key components and then following that process to the letter until you’ve achieved the strategic objective.

Sounds simple right?

So why do some ABM programmes fail?

Let’s think for a moment about building flat pack furniture (bear with me). What happens if you skip a seemingly pointless step in the instructions? When you leave all of the parts disorganised on the floor and then realise you used bolt ‘A’ by mistake 10 steps too early? We’ve all done it… and it prevents you from getting results. You either have to backtrack, give up or live with a compromised result that only partially works.

The importance of structure and process

My point is that successful ABM is all about planning. It’s about research, methodology, structure and a process. There’s a tendency to make assumptions, leverage part-baked propositions and to deviate from the plan as soon as things gets mildly tough. Once that happens however, you’re destined for ‘wonky furniture’ style results.

Let’s be under no illusions – as I said at the start, delivering successful ABM isn’t easy. It is however very possible, and almost guaranteed if you apply the right formula and implement suitable tactics.

Managing key stakeholders

The most common reason ABM projects fail is lack of stakeholder buy-in or understanding of the process. A lot of the time you’re relying on multiple people to make the programme work, so it’s crucial that everyone is up to the task and prepared to see it through. Trust the process.

As soon as you’re considering ABM as a strategy, it’s important to start taking everyone ‘on the journey.’ We work hard to help our clients educate their wider teams and leadership around the benefits of ABM, what the process looks like and why. We make absolutely everything measurable and involve all key players in the process design.

ABM programmes are typically quite long, so not only do you need to win support, but you also need to maintain it. By sharing regular progress updates, insights around findings and high-level engagement you can demonstrate that you’re moving in the right direction. If you can maintain key stakeholder support, then – when the time comes for others to participate – you’ve got a far better chance of success.

Looking forward to 2021

Now is a great time to plan your first meaningful ABM programme. For support developing your strategy, designing your campaign structure and devising the right process to meet your objectives, get in touch to book a session with our team today.

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