Account planning is one of the biggest challenge faced by ABM marketers. How to get account planning right? Find out more.

When we look at the list of challenges account-based marketers face, account planning is near the top.

Getting account planning right always requires a good amount of investment, even at the most aligned sales and marketing organizations, but as all successful account-based marketers know, it’s absolutely essential to the account-based marketing (ABM) process. Then, just when things seem all set with account planning, along comes a new offering.

Now what?

Such is the nature of B2B, of course, but the introduction of new offerings is particularly significant in the account-based setting. Incorporating new offerings into existing ABM plans requires careful consideration of where these new products and services fit.

account based marketersB2B organizations often struggle to find the best way to integrate new offerings as they balance pressure to secure early attachment of the new offerings with the need to execute an already established plan. Without a coordinated, carefully structured approach, disruption with the account team and – even worse, with customers – can result.

When assessing how to incorporate new offerings, account-based marketers should consider the following three-step process to ensure a seamless integration of new offerings into account plans:

  1. Review available account knowledge.

    Account insights are at the core of ABM efforts and likely played a significant role in providing the necessary background to drive construction of the existing account plan. Leveraging these account insights to understand lifetime value and growth potential provides clarity on where the new offering can supplement the current plan.

  2. Determine where new offerings fit.

    Work with the product teams to gain a deep understanding of the nuances of the new offering and the benefits it will deliver to customers. Map these benefits against known needs within the accounts, as articulated in the ABM plan. This will illuminate where the new offering can supplement (or perhaps replace) planned activities for the account. Also consider the nuances inherent to the ABM approach used. For example, with the large-account approach, where marketing is providing one-to-one account support, the new offering might be incorporated into specific plans based on deep insights into the selected account. In contrast, with the named-account approach, where marketing is supporting an expanded set of account in a one-to-many approach, the new offering will need to be more broadly incorporated, based on its relevance to a group of named accounts.

  3. Validate and communicate plan updates.

    Once account insights have been evaluated and the new offering fit is understood, the final step is to validate the plan with sales. The sales team should be presented with an updated version of the ABM plan to ensure it is aware of how the new offering has impacted the earlier plan. This ensures expectations between sales and marketing are kept in alignment.

New offerings are one of the primary drivers of B2B organizational growth. However, too often they are introduced in a haphazard fashion, resulting in less than stellar results. For account-based marketers, incorporating new offerings into established account plans requires particularly thoughtful consideration about how the new products and services support plans in place without disrupting other important account initiatives.