Account-based marketing (ABM) seems mentioned at every marketing conference, webinar, and in many marketing strategy discussions. There’s also a wave of ABM software vendors flooding your inbox and vying for the attention of your marketing dollars.

Before you decide to purchase an ABM software solution (the “Cart“), consider our recommendations below on what needs to be in place (the “Horse“).

Here is a list of our prerequisites to deploying an ABM software solution:

  • ABM best applies to businesses that have a long sales cycle and large average deal size
  • Your marketing automation and CRM implementations should be tightly integrated
  • A stable and disciplined pipeline management process where all Opportunities are managed through a defined sales process
  • Sales and marketing must be aligned and able to collaborate effectively toward the shared goal of targeted revenue growth
  • An established and stable lead management waterfall and funnel attribution process, metrics, and reporting is a requirement.
  • Data governance processes, to ensure high-quality and contact data, must be in place — an ongoing daily operation with an owner
  • A well-defined and ADOPTED conversion criteria — e.g., rules for opening Opportunities when converting Leads to Contacts
  • If you have Salesforce CRM deployed, the adoption of adding Contact Roles for the Opportunity must be in place — if salespeople don’t enter Contact Roles, or enter only 1 or 2 typically, you will have a tough time measuring ROI.
  • You’ve developed buyer personas and mapped your buyer journeys
  • The marketing team (or partners) have the ability and skill to create integrated campaigns — a full-time effort that costs significantly more than the cost to purchase, configure and deploy ABM solutions — YOUR CONTENT CREATION MAY NEED TO DOUBLE OR TRIPLE WITH ABM.
  • An inside sales, lead development, or telesales team that can allocate resources to the ABM program
  • Ability to identify groups of prospect or customer accounts that rise above others for potential revenue, strategic importance, fit for our value proposition, profitability, or other considerations.

It’s unlikely that your organization has all our recommendations in place. However, if you are seriously considering an ABM software solution investment, recognize that demonstrating ROI from potential ABM investments may be difficult without many of them in place.

The good news is that by putting the “Horse” in front of the “Cart” and focusing time, money and resources on our recommendations before deploying ABM, you can improve sales and marketing execution, and achieve significant ROI.

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