• This deep-dive roundtable discussion included topics that ranged from sales and marketing interlock to ABM measurement
  • We heard from participants about how they were implementing core ABM principles at their organizations
  • Our discussion ended up touching on four common challenges, reinforcing the value of sharing best practices and war stories

Matt Senatore and I recently met with some of Europe’s leading B2B marketers to talk about the state of their account-based marketing programs and gain their insights on how ABM is evolving as a discipline. This deep-dive roundtable discussion took place with participants from 15 leading B2B organizations and included topics that ranged from sales and marketing interlock to ABM measurement. 

During the course of the half-day discussion, we heard from participants about how they were implementing core ABM principles at their own organizations. Here are a few key takeaways from the discussion:

  • Interlock with sales is often easier for ABM than interlock with marketing. Participants told us that alignment with sales was not without its challenges and that internally, there was a degree of “selling” ABM required; however, for the most part, sellers understood the value of ABM. Key challenges included getting data from sales and managing demand for ABM with a limited team. Interestingly, it was felt that interlock was harder with marketing peers. Participants observed that many marketers often talk a different (less commercial) language than ABM leaders, and that ABM is sometimes viewed as a threat by other marketers – particularly where it challenges lead attribution and content quality.
  • Clear roles and responsibilities are needed for both sales and marketing. Participants felt that many of the interlock challenges mentioned during our roundtable could be overcome with clearer expectation management among key stakeholders. For sales teams, this means setting expectations around what will happen and when, what is needed from them and why, lead handoffs and rules of engagement. With regard to marketers, this means understanding where ABM sits in the marketing ecosystem and some of the functions and process workflows that need to occur for ABM to be successful (e.g. how to work better with content and campaigns teams, marketing operations and field marketers).
  • Participants are becoming more data-driven in their ABM – from prioritization right through to measurement. However, beneath this good news lay a couple of challenges -– namely, getting the right data in the first place. Then, how to move from data to actionable intelligence, and how to avoid data lakes – where reams of data get collated but not acted upon. Participants are increasingly making use of BI tools and analytics to surface their metrics in ABM dashboards for reporting. One takeaway recommendation was to set a benchmark early in the ABM program to compare progress in ABM-supported accounts against those that are not supported.

As I recently observed about some challenges commonly encountered in ABM, creating the conditions to maximize your success can be tricky to perfect. The fact that our roundtable discussion ended up touching on four of these common challenges reinforces the value of sharing best practices and war stories. If you’re at the stage of aligning with sales and agreeing on shared goals and how to measure them (see the brief Preparing Sales for Account-Based Marketing: a Presentation Checklist), preparing consider inviting your key audiences around a table for joint planning as one of our clients did
to help pave your path to ABM success.