When’s the last time you bought a piece of technology to make your life easier, only to spend more time fixing it than you bargained for?
This is the same problem thousands of marketers deal with when they choose to adopt automation before strategy.
But it’s not just time that could be wasted when you do things out of order.
The 2019 State of Account Based Marketing study conducted by SiriusDecisions showed that the average ABM budget is around $350,000.
There’s no denying that creating a complete and connected account-based experience will require a mature investment.
But that investment should begin with a strategy that can be supplemented by the tools—not the other way around.
Here’s what happens when you invest in tools without a strategy:
#1: Expensive tools become underutilized
The hype about ABM is real.
When someone proposes a way to go after big, dreamy accounts, it’s hard for the best of us to say, “no, that’s not for me.” However, in most cases, the strategy gets lost in the excitement. Instead of creating a coherent, cross-functional plan with sales, marketing, customer success, and your CEO, the marketing team is handed a budget and sent off to gather all the tools they believe will help their efforts stay in front of their target account/s.
By initiating an onboarding meeting across teams, marketers can learn how to create a streamlined process with clear expectations of:
- Explicit ideal customer profiles
- Orchestration responsibilities
- Appropriate timing for outreach
- Specific messaging to carry throughout the pipeline
Only after these points are addressed should you invest in the tools you need to deliver your strategy at scale.
This way, you’re researching specific features you need from each tool—instead of immediately acquiring the most robust systems.
Let’s use the following example of a tech stack to determine how much you would need to invest for a lean, coherent, end-to-end strategy. Much of the pricing for marketing software is based on the number of users per month. So for the sake of this thought experiment, we’ll say our company has 10 employees.
💸 SALESFORCE: A best-in-class CRM platform that is most versatile when it comes to integrating with other tools in your tech stack. As one of the most utilised platforms for managing customer data, it’s likely that sales reps within your company already have some experience working with Salesforce and navigating its features. Remember the #1 rule of resourcefulness—capitalise on what you already have.
$300/user, per month = $38,000/annum
💸 TERMINUS: A powerful platform for account-based marketing that offers segmentation data, multi-channel campaigns, and reporting all in one. Terminus brings your marketing and sales team together to orchestrate a full-funnel strategy like never before.
$29/user, per month = $3,480/annum
💸 SENDOSO: A trusted, dynamic platform for personalised gifts and direct mail. Offering an “out of the box” way of connecting with target accounts.
Starting price $300/month =$3,600/annum
💸 LINKEDIN: For sales teams to engage a shared network, expand that network, and build client relationships, there’s no better place to invest than in the online communities your target customers hang out in.
(Team pricing) $103/month = $1,240/annum
💸 BOMBORA: A leading tool identifying which businesses are researching topics relevant to your solution, as well as the intensity of their efforts.
💸 ACTIVECAMPAIGN: The powerful pioneer of visually scripted customer journeys. ActiveCampaign enables you to experiment with personalised content and automations to engage with your target accounts.
$45/month = $540
*estimates based on company/Capterra competitor pricing*
Tools that, when put together, can fulfill an end-to-end strategy with room to grow.
Save yourself time—and money—by creating a cohesive strategy that reduces wasteful tools and makes the most out of intentional selection.
What’s the best tool for your marketing strategy in 2021?
#2: Inaccurate targeting damages brand reputation
Raise your hand if you’ve been targeted by an ABM campaign that has zero relevance to you or your company.
*presses lips, nods reluctantly*
When targeting goes wrong, it’s usually caused by one of three things:
- An ill-defined ICP
- The wrong platform is powering the campaign
- The message isn’t speaking to the right problem
This is why you can’t underestimate the power of social listening when searching for intent.
It’s one thing to monitor recent shares on social media, but it’s another to capture the sentiment of recent company announcements, developments, and industry changes.
ICYMI: Personalised content is now non-negotiable.
The B2B buying process is changing, and stakeholders who perceive your content to be tailored to their specific needs are 40% more willing to buy from you as a supplier.
The vetting process happens online, so marketing strategies need to be agile and flexible to cut through the noise and earn attention.
Utilise real-time intent data like that which Bombora offers to identify the depth of engagement users have with your brand, and make it a priority to reach out for further conversation at the right time.
These days, sniffing out disingenuous marketing messages has become second nature.
So choose to be authentic, transparent, and watch the level of organic traffic soar.
#3: Leads become the only metric to justify the tools
The problem with buying the biggest, baddest marketing software is that you become susceptible to the superhero effect: ample potential for impact with little return on investment.
Not all marketing activities can be clearly attributed.
When we don’t define the metrics with intention, the metrics get chosen for us.
We end up with default metrics that may or may not reflect our goals and our progress toward them.
Historically, sales and marketing leads have been the primary way to qualify interest across the web.
But that’s only if teams don’t come together at first to redefine the metrics that matter.
What about measuring touchpoint completion rates? That means not just how many people click through your ad, but how many actually complete the call-to-action.
What about measuring the number of new contacts generated each week?
How about defining customer success metrics?
Or measuring the length of your sales cycle to identify the average selling point?
We can do much better than stacking MQLs to justify the high-quality insights we’re gaining, which ultimately lead to increased understanding of who we’re speaking to and how they like to be engaged.
Pace vs. Speed
One of the reasons we love marketing here at Foundation is because of the opportunity it provides to create content that shapes culture.
But we’re well aware this isn’t accomplished in a few weeks, months, or heck, even a few years!
Big goals require long-term investment. Taking the time to map out a methodical, sustainable plan will get you much farther than rushing into action.
With the right planning and preparation, your assets are more likely to create the results you’re hoping for.