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How to scale ‘true’ ABM: lessons from the leaders

ABM is Agent3’s heartland.  It’s what we do best.  And if you’re a regular reader of our website, you’ll be in no doubt about how strongly we feel about our commitment to ‘true’ ABM, ie, an approach that treats key accounts as markets of one.  

Why? Because it works: according to ITSMA, almost 85% of marketers measuring ROI say that ABM outperforms other marketing investments and research by Alterra Group backs this statistic, revealing ABM had higher ROI than other marketing activities.  

So when marketers come to us asking for pilot ABM programs on, say, 8-10 accounts it’s little wonder that the results we achieve soon means they’re asking us to ramp up that ABM activity to 50-100 accounts as interest in ABM within their organization is suddenly piqued.  

And therein lies the challenge for many. 

To scale a ‘true’ ABM program effectively without compromising on the key fundamentals it encompasses involves the alignment of many moveable parts: technology and resourcing are fundamental considerations, but then there’s also the decision about which accounts to include and why, and establishing clear objectives for the program.  

It’s not straightforward, but if this is a challenge you’re grappling with currently, be reassured by the multiple survey results available online that you’re certainly not alone. 

And it’s for this reason we chose to discuss the topic at last week’s B2B Marketing Ignite USA event with a panel of esteemed marketers: Carrie Feord – Global Head of ABM Industry Clusters, Servicenow, Giovanni Di Natale, senior manager, enterprise and ABM Marketing, Pure Storage and Vera Tatro, strategic account-based marketing, AMER, Splunk.  It was great to sit down with these ABM leaders to explore some of these challenges and provide some perspective on how best to successfully navigate them.

In the session, we covered:

1)    How people define ABM at scale and where the line is drawn in terms of defining the difference between 1:few/1:many ‘ABM’ and good account-centric demand generation from Product, Solutions and Industry Marketing teams.  We also discussed whether certain compromises need to be made as you pursue scale.

2)    How to enable teams in the field to scale with ABM: the panel shared successes they have had as well as highlighting ‘banana skins’ teams need to avoid in terms of developing ABM resources/playbooks/templates/toolkits which can then be activated by a growing team of ABMers and Field Marketers.  We also discussed ways to embed a ‘build once, use again’ mindset while still being true to the ideals of ABM. 

3)    Clarification of roles within ABM organisations across marketing when it comes to scaling and succeeding within ABM – the panel discussed what skillsets and roles they see as being important as organizations shift from being small-scale ABM pilots to broader programs.

As you can probably imagine, it was a lively session and audience feedback would suggest we hit upon some very real challenges, so it was great to hear first-hand from the panel about their own experiences, successes and learnings.

If you missed it, I highly recommend carving 30 minutes out of your day to watch, and if you have any feedback or comments, we’d love to hear! 

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