• Account insights are the foundation of account-centric marketing
  • Account-centric marketing is a team sport, not an individual pursuit
  • Existing technology can go a long way toward supporting a move to account-centric marketing

I recently had the pleasure of going on the road with Nicky Briggs to present two forums (in Dublin and Stockholm) on the SiriusDecisions Demand Spectrum, which offers a method organizations can use to determine the most appropriate single or combined account-centric approach and an overlay that describes the degree of available account-specific customization.

group of colleagues

It’s always fun to host forums, and we love getting the chance to hear from attendees about what things are and aren’t working for them. Another benefit of forums is the gift of time – time to focus on one topic in depth, to really wallow in it and uncover the tips and tricks we share with clients daily during one-to-one inquiries but rarely write down for lack of – you guessed it – time.

As I flew back home with the concepts of marketing to accounts and account-based marketing (ABM) still fresh in my mind, I thought I would use the gift of time to capture some of the soundbites we shared with attendees. I hope you find at least one golden nugget here to help you prepare for, plan or execute your account-centric marketing efforts.

  • ABM is not an all-or-nothing proposition. Many people think of ABM and broad-based demand as polar opposites with nothing in between. In reality, organizations have a range of options they can choose from to help them progress gradually from generic marketing efforts to fully tailored large-account marketing. Two examples are a focused demand approach, which tailors activities at the sub-vertical level, and named-account marketing, which supports the grouping of accounts to drive scale.
  • Three key ingredients are needed to support account-centric marketing. If you’re thinking about adopting an account-centric approach, start by asking yourself some tough questions. What level of account insights is available to you? Is there regular account-level engagement between sales and marketing? Do you have the capability to resource and fund account-specific customized content, activities and metrics? If the answer to any of these questions is “no” or “sort of,” use the SiriusDecisions Demand Spectrum to identify which approach best suits you today, then enhance the program over time.
  • Account insights are the foundation of everything. Account insights are the currency marketing and sales teams can use to build trust and collaboration. Take the time early on to define the types of account insights that can transform your understanding, approach and success rate with must-win accounts. Brainstorm how and where you can obtain these insights, and start collecting data points with your current in-house technology. Even if you start small, what you learn will kick-start a journey of exploration.
  • Pilots are the way to go. When implementing account-centric marketing, always start with a pilot – and be sure to call it that. Plan to run the pilot for approximately nine months; if the sales cycle is longer than the pilot period, define short-, medium- and long-term metrics that can provide early indicators of progress.
  • Leverage your existing tech stack. My mother always said that “it’s amazing what you find when you look,” and this also applies to account-centric marketing. Before investing in anything new, look inside your organization to see what in-house technologies can be applied and optimized to support an account focus. Tools such as finance’s enterprise resource planning system and sales’ customer intelligence management platform are two good examples. Once you’ve leveraged what you can, develop clear use cases for any gaps before identifying potential vendors.
  • Account-centric marketing is a team sport. Account marketing teams don’t have to be big to make an impact. Focused demand teams are often set up using part-time resources; in fact, according to SiriusDecisions’ 2016 State of Account-Based Marketing Study, an average of just above three full-time equivalents are assigned to a named-account marketing program. These teams punch above their weight by relying on the support of other functions such as demand centers, product management, content operations, customer support and even finance.

Let me leave you with this observation: Although ABM is a hot topic in B2B, it isn’t a marketing cure-all. We urge you to invest time in assessing your organization’s readiness before launching the program, and prepare for potential blind spots. To learn more about how to conduct an ABM readiness assessment, stand by for an upcoming webinar on this topic from our ABM service team.