Account-Based Marketing: 5 Big Mistakes to Avoid

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1) Failing to set expectations

Connecting the dots between marketing and sales around the account list, contact names, titles and overall approach in an account-based marketing strategy should be a no-brainer.  But the effort impacts other parts of the organization too,  as it may produce a disruption in the “standard” activity set and performance metrics of the marketing and sales organizations.  Which brings finance into the picture.

If the initiative is aimed at existing customers, the support organization needs to be involved.  And above all, the entire executive team should be aware of the initiative and timeframe it takes to generate results.  Failing to ensure buy-in across the company can place substantial roadblocks in the way of any level of success.

2) Being one-dimensional in execution

Since today’s prospects are multi-dimensional in their consumption of information, it stands to reason that your account-based marketing strategy must deploy a variety of tactics to effectively engage these key targets.  By combining varied approaches like retargeted ads, select webinars, phone follow ups, social outreach and live events, you create a broad-based engagement platform that works to reinforce each contact with strong messages that drive engagement and finally sales.

3) Failing to establish and monitor the right metrics

Work with the Sales team to create a universal set of metrics for the effort that is shared between marketing and sales.

Work with the Sales team to develop metrics for the effort shared between Marketing and Sales.

True account-based marketing demands a different set of metrics than standard demand gen indicators. Given that the overall number of prospects in a typical account-based marketing campaign is much lower than other demand gen efforts, measuring high-level response won’t be as valuable as say measuring the level of engagement of prospects throughout the campaign.

One of the advantages of an account-based set of activities is that it gives you the chance to really leverage A/B testing to optimize your campaign during its run rather than waiting for a post-campaign analysis to identify gaps and shortfalls.  Work with the Sales team to create a universal set of metrics for the effort that is shared between marketing and sales.  And plan to test early and often to fully optimize the effort throughout the campaign.

4) Not piloting the initiative before full deployment.

Account-based marketing involves many moving parts, any one of which can have a significant impact on outcomes.  It’s best to identify a subset of the potential target list and pilot the activities before making a dramatic shift in marketing activities or sales commitments.  What is learned in a smaller short-duration pilot can usually be applied to ensure a more effective larger scale initiative.

5) Not doing enough custom research

Let’s be clear – identifying the industry group or vertical market of your target list of prospects and targeting messages that appeal to that industry might be a starting point but by itself it isn’t account-based marketing.  Identifying the specific attributes of a group of companies within an industry group, understanding their unique challenges, identifying the unique things that concern the company executives will get you closer to the ultimate target of true one-to-one marketing.  Not spending the proper amount of time at this stage is one of the biggest potential failure points of any account-based strategy.


By Micky Long – November 3, 2015

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Posted in : Account Based Marketing

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