Get ABM program buy-in and adoption across departments from your C-suite to your end users with these tips.
“We have an ABM platform but our team doesn’t even use it anymore.” This is a terrifying sentence, but you’d be surprised how true it can be for many sales and marketing teams. This is a costly problem, especially when you consider that many ABM platforms lock buyers into multi-year contracts. In the current economic climate, marketers simply can’t afford to put budget towards software that isn’t fully adopted or driving results.
Lack of adoption can doom your ABM program to fail before it ever gets off the ground.
So what causes a lack of adoption, and how can you ensure your thoughtfully designed ABM programs and carefully selected ABM tools won’t collect dust on the shelf?
Factors preventing ABM program adoption
- Siloed Systems & Workflows
- Sales and Marketing Don’t Talk
- You’re Still Focused On Leads, Leads, Leads
Siloed systems & workflows
Your account-based marketing cannot work in a vacuum. If you can’t attribute ROI, if you can’t track customer journeys, if you can’t reference the same data between sales and marketing, you can’t succeed.
“The holy grail of succeeding is following the integration strategy where it’s a holistic ecosystem of every tool integrating with everything else that is around it (think solar system). This is like 90% of your success.”
– Nadia Davis
Director of Revenue Marketing, PayIt
To hear more, watch: What do you need in your ABM tech stack to make sales successful?
For starters, your ABM platform needs to sync with your CRM- if not, how will you tie your account-based marketing efforts to revenue?
Next, consider where your marketing and sales teams work most on a day-to-day basis. If your sales team works primarily out of the CRM, what data is available at their fingertips?
If you expect your sales team to use intent data to prioritize accounts or to use account-based landing pages, to improve your likelihood of adoption, you need to make these tools available to your team where they already work. For example, Sales Acceleration brings these two account-based marketing platform features into the CRM so that sales team members can make use of them without disrupting their existing workflows.
Sales and marketing don’t talk
Ever heard of this scenario? “Yeah, marketing’s going to start doing ABM and then maybe sales will get in on it too if we think it’s worth our time”. This is not a good position for sales or marketing to be in when trying to launch successful ABM programs. Marketing is doomed to fail in their attempt to succeed in an ABM program with no sales involvement.
Much like account-based marketing can’t succeed in a vacuum from a data and platform perspective, account-based marketing can’t succeed without sales team involvement.
To learn more, watch: What do you recommend to maximize sales adoption?
You’re still focused on leads, leads, leads
If you’ve transitioned from lead generation to an account-based strategy but haven’t changed your reporting to reflect that… you’re going to have a bad time.
In account-based marketing, you need to take a broader, longer term view of your marketing’s impact than you would in lead gen.
You need to remember why you chose ABM in the first place: if you focus marketing efforts on your top best-fit accounts rather than ‘spray and pray’ methods, you’ll achieve higher ACV, shorter sales cycle lengths, better LTV, etc. But this premise requires that you actually focus your resources around those top accounts, which will result in your metrics shifting. If you focus on a smaller target list of accounts, you’ll likely have a lower quantity of leads. If your goals demand that you reach a certain number of leads above all else, you might lose focus on the core focus of ABM, and hinder your performance.
For this reason, it’s important to align your metrics around ABM to ensure you’re incentivized to achieve ABM success. Learn more about account-based KPIs.
Tips to ensure ABM program adoption
1. Integrate your ABM, CRM, and MAP systems
To ensure that your teams can reference the same data, and that you can track activities through the entire buyer’s journey, you should ensure your systems all talk to each other. One way or another, your ABM, CRM, and MAP platforms should be connected. For instance, we have Salesforce as our CRM, HubSpot as our MAP, and Foundry as our ABM. So for us, Salesforce is our single source of truth, syncing data to Foundry and HubSpot. This way, I can leverage Salesforce data on accounts and opportunities within Foundry for use in advertising, targeting, sales activation, and orchestration triggers. At the same time, I can push or pull data to and from Foundry and HubSpot to trigger email campaigns and list building.
By integrating these three systems together, I’m able to reference the same data as my sales team even though they work primarily in Salesforce and I work primarily in HubSpot. I’m also able to create efficiencies by using these integrations to automate processes.
2. Choose some sales & SDR team guinea pigs
One of the most effective ways to ensure adoption of any new program, is to pick the right people to spearhead it. Our Chief Customer Officer Andrew shares some great advice on this point that ABM program leaders should pick a couple of champions internally to pilot new programs.
One advantage to picking a few people to pilot your program is that they allow you to create a tight feedback loop and optimize your processes while you’re still figuring them out. Then, once they’ve started to see success with the program they’re piloting, they will be happy to share their success with the broader team, ensuring buy-in and enthusiasm for your program.
To learn more, watch: What do you recommend to maximize sales adoption?
3. Create a dialogue around your ABM program
Create feedback loops for
- Outreach cadences
- Aircover ads
- Content needs
- Account / lead qualification criteria
Unfortunately, go-to-market programs don’t simply launch and succeed. A successful program requires tooling, optimizing, and troubleshooting. But you can’t anticipate all possible needs at the outset of your program. For this reason, it helps to create feedback loops to continuously improve your account-based marketing.
At a minimum, sales and marketing leaders should meet routinely to maintain alignment on goals, reporting, and tactics. This might also include evaluating target account lists periodically.
Other areas where sales and marketing should create feedback loops are content needs, cadences, and air cover. It helps to have meetings on the books to connect on these items, and even to foster a collaborative environment where your sales team can freely tell marketing the content their prospects would benefit from. Larger teams might want to create more formal feedback loops with content request forms and libraries in systems such as Seismic to get a sense of what assets are most useful to your sales team.
Above all else, your sales and marketing alignment should go beyond yearly events liks Sales Kick Off, since without follow up, any ideas and insights from larger meetings like SKO will fall off everyone’s radar.
4. Ensure everyone’s goals incentivize ABM program success
ABM strategies need to have the right KPIs associated with them. That means don’t maintain the same lead-gen goals while expecting your team to run an account-based program. Do use your current and historic performance as a benchmark, while setting goals based on the metrics account-based marketing should improve if you’re adopting an account-based marketing approach for the first time. For example – if part of the reason you are switching to an ABM strategy is to increase conversion to qualified pipeline, you want to create metrics that incentivize your team to center efforts on the most qualified accounts – leading you to reference metrics such as target accounts reached, target accounts engaged, or marketing qualified accounts. Following these higher funnel level metrics, you would measure conversion rates by stages, sales cycle length, pipeline generated from your ABM program, and revenue generated from your ABM program.
5. Create personalized content
Personalization is key to ABM, the whole point of narrowing your marketing’s focus is because your products best fit the narrow audience you select, and that by narrowing your focus, you can personalize and tailor the experience for your top accounts.
Your personalization strategy should start with content, not merge fields. If you’re just starting out with ABM, or don’t have a clear personalization strategy in place yet, you should index your existing sales and marketing materials such as ebooks, pdfs, blogs, guides, etc. and categorize them. For instance, you might categorize each piece of content by the vertical or persona within your target that the content resonates most with. Then, identify gaps or areas of opportunity where you should dedicate resources to creating relevant content. You should also create feedback loops for this content. What content is resonating the most? Who is it resonating with? Were any sales cycles influenced by content touchpoints? Starting by asking these questions and referencing the data will help you create a strong account-based content strategy.
There you have it, some reasons why so many teams struggle with ABM adoption, and some ways you can further ensure adoption of your ABM programs. Like we covered above, one key factor in adoption of ABM programs is how your sales and marketing tools talk to one another, whether they integrate and which programs your teams need to access everyday in order to do their job. This factor is highly tied to which platforms you choose for your ABM, CRM, Sales Engagement Tools, and MAP. Foundry ABM integrates with top tools across these categories, and makes it easy to ensure adoption across teams. In fact, G2 highlighted Foundry ABM as Highest User Adoption for Enterprise, Mid-Market and Small Business teams, and a G2 Grid Leader across categories. Check out our customer reviews to see how the Foundry ABM platform and success team ensure client ABM success.