What are the best practices in ABM marketing? Find out the three key themes that emerged in the SiriusDecisions recent roundtable.

One of the benefits of being a SiriusDecisions client is taking advantage of the numerous peer interaction opportunities available at our events, including Summit, our forums, and our live and virtual roundtables. These events provide a platform for B2B executives to share and learn from each other and build a professional network of marketing, sales or product-related peers.

In the past 12 months, SiriusDecisions has conducted more than 70 forums and 30 roundtables. Recently I facilitated an account-based marketing (ABM) roundtable in the Boston area. During the roundtable discussion, many salient points were raised by ABM practitioners and leaders from a variety of companies (e.g. Imprivata, Nuance, SAP, Siemens PLM Software, Veracode).  They weighed in on best practices, challenges and other observations across a variety of account-based marketing topics, including:

  • ABM organization
  • ABM skills
  • ABM execution in large complex accounts
  • Making ABM scale across multiple accounts
  • ABM measurement

Over the half-day ABM roundtable, three key themes emerged:

1)  ABM requires people resources.  To be done right, ABM takes a dedicated focus on the accounts that will make a difference to the business. Often, organizations take some of their best field marketers and staff them on ABM (full-time or split-time with other duties).  Marketers who are insightful, resourceful, consultative, communicative and adaptable are suitable for ABM roles. Marketers with a sales background are also highly desirable. 

2)  Some organizations have nailed the sales interlock; others still struggle. The single most important contributor to ABM success is commitment and cooperation between marketing and sales. While some account-based marketers are still looking for ways to gain a recurring seat at the customer table, others have entrenched themselves as a valuable part of strategic account planning and execution.  Some shared examples of best-in-class collaboration with sales include account segmentation and prioritization efforts, developing 30/60/90- day account plans and conducting weekly alignment communication meetings with sales leaders.

3)  Measurement needs to reflect the contributions of ABM.  ABM is not just about sourcing new demand. Our SiriusDecisions benchmark data reveals that marketing is sourcing less than 10 percent of new demand within large, strategic tier-one accounts. Because many marketing activities are in the sales enablement, reputation support and market intelligence program families, traditional demand waterfall metrics need to be supplemented, and alternative metrics (e.g. account profile insights/completeness, number of new contacts, C-level engagement, opportunity progression, relationship development) and KPIs (e.g. revenue, new logo wins, LTV, loyalty, customer satisfaction) need to be in place to reflect the value of ABM. Most participating companies still struggle with systematic reporting across all these measures and often have to perform manual work to complement any reporting within marketing automation platforms and sales force automation platforms.

Many other best practices and challenges emerged at the roundtable, with plenty of lively conversation among our participants. Facilitating these roundtables is one of my favorite parts of being a research director at SiriusDecisions because I get to spend a day with clients who are on the front lines, leading and executing these programs with their target accounts.

Thanks to everyone for taking time to share your experiences with each other, and special thanks to Dannielle Beaupre, marketing operations director at Siemens PLM Software, for hosting the latest ABM Roundtable. Hope to see you at the next one!  

** Registration for the SiriusDecisions 2015 Summit is now open! This year’s conference, themed Outperform: Strategies for Intelligent Growth, will focus on effective ways to grow and outperform in today’s competitive marketplace. Register today!