January 2019
Five account-based marketing mistakes you’re probably making

Five account-based marketing mistakes you’re probably making

One of the hot marketing topics that has carried over from last year is account-based marketing.

As if we needed another tactic to add to our growing set of marketing must-haves, the concept of account-based marketing continues to gain adherents among B2B marketers.

Whether account-based marketing is truly an innovative concept or just marketing’s latest shiny new toy, one thing is for sure. It won’t deliver results if you don’t do it right.

SiriusDecisions says 92 percent of the BtoB marketers they surveyed called account-based marketing a “marketing must-have” – and more than half are currently piloting an ABM project. Defined by Wiki as a “… strategic approach to business marketing in which an organization considers and communicates with individual prospect or customer accounts as markets of one,” it’s easy to see that the concept deserves at least serious consideration by marketers.

But if account-based marketing is such a no-brainer, why have only one in five BtoB firms in the SiriusDecisions study gone beyond a single pilot? The answer may be a deficiency in skill or sweat – or both.

A great deal of account planning and analysis typically precedes the launch of an ABM initiative, and these type of activities are seldom the “quick-hit,” low-hanging fruit type of win. The best run programs deploy a multi-activity approach, applying a mix of tactics, from retargeted ads to focused emails to even old-school direct mail.

To help you implement and execute a successful account-based marketing campaign, we’re sharing a few critical mistakes to avoid as you begin your journey.

Mistake #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 simple. 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.

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.

Mistake #2: One-dimensional 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, 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.

Mistake #3: Not monitoring 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.

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.

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.

Mistake #4: Not piloting 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.

Mistake #5: Not doing enough 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.



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