ABM Does Not Mean "Absolute Bloody Mess".....
Account Based Marketing (ABM) is a bit like teenage sex. Everyone talks about it, nobody really knows how to do it, everyone thinks everyone else is doing it, so everyone claims they are doing it...... ABM is a great idea in principle right? The key tenets being:
Highly targeted prospecting for improved chances of a sale
Focus on specific accounts and roles/titles in an account
Don't waste time and resources chasing low probability leads
Score viable leads to prioritize the effort spent on them
Route leads to the most appropriate salesperson or team for quick and efficient follow up
Nurture prospects using segmentation in Marketing systems to improve the chance to generating Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL)
There are in fact many excellent tools out there that do predictive lead scoring, intelligent lead routing etc. However their ultimate effectiveness will always be hostage to one inescapable fact: They need complete and clean data to be truly effective and that's where your ABM initiative will end up dashed on the rocks. Modern lead scoring and routing tools are vulnerable to one of the oldest truisms in IT: Garbage in = Garbage Out. If your category data is lousy then so will your predictive and routing decision output. Here's an example: Your lead scoring tool identifies prospect John Smith at ACME co as being a viable prospect because the lead tool classified the company as fitting your ABM criteria which might look something like:
US based company
At least 1000 employees
At least $100M in annual revenue
Looks good so far right? Checks all the boxes?
So you score and route the lead to your Pharma team who starts reaching out until they get to John Smith. That's when everything starts to unravel. You find out that:
John Smith is an IT manager not an SVP which is what his title said in that list you bought from that bottom-feeding list data vendor. John Smith has no influence
And no budget authority to buy what you are selling and it isn't even his department.
The Pharma company has 500 employees not 1000 which puts them below your ABM target criteria. Worse still, their employees have been trending down over 3 years indicating contraction and even less likely to buy new stuff but your profile data didn't pick up on that because it's old and out of date
Subsequent due diligence identifies that the company's HQ is in fact based in Canada and thus the jurisdiction of another team. This sets off a territorial pissing contest for the lead.
All of those factors in 1-3 were identified after valuable time and effort was expended by the sales team chasing down the recommendation of the ABM tool. All this is mostly avoidable with a little thought and effort around lead data quality What are the lessons learned here?
Don't build a second floor (ABM, Lead tools) on a house with a shaky foundation (bad sales and lead data).
Your ABM vendor won't tell you that their tools are fundamentally affected by poor core sales data so we are doing it for them
Before you explore and invest big bucks on ABM enablement tools: FIX YOUR DATA FIRST!
There are two areas you will need to address for truly effective ABM tools usage:
Clean your inbound leads as they arrive and not after they've gone through your ABM tools. Digital Persona fixes this issue with our Lead processing engine ContactPERSONA
Clean your Contact and Company profile data in your Sales or CRM system. This will require a lot more effort than #1 but it's longer term value to your sales and marketing efforts will be almost priceless.
When it comes to more effective ABM remember what we said earlier: Garbage In Garbage Out