How Much Tech Do You Really Need For Account-Based Marketing?

If you’re in the market for ABM software, you’re in luck … or not, depending on how you look at it!

According to sources such as Scott Brinker at chiefmartec.com, there are more than 200 SaaS vendors who would love to tell you about their ABM solutions. There are literally thousands more vendors that would offer to help your company improve its account data, identify unknown prospects, predict intent to buy, automate targeted advertising, visualize attribution reports and even personalize content delivery.

Few of these are “full funnel” solutions (one-stop ABM shops), though many may claim to be.

So, how does a company choose an ABM platform?

Or maybe the question is: When do you need to pick?

The answer is, of course, that it depends. Consider starting with the tools you’ve got, pick some spot solutions as your program matures, and go full-funnel when your MarTech can’t keep up.

You should start low-tech if you haven’t met full ABM readiness:

These account-based marketing requirements are not optional - you truly need all of this infrastructure, ranging from a bi-directional sync to executive buy-in, to be successful

Related: Three powerful (and simple) secrets for ABM success

Even if your company nails these requirements, you may be able to ramp up an ABM program using just your core MarTech stack. The major Marketing Automation Platforms, combined with Salesforce, provide much of the functionality you’ll need.

Adoption

Take a look at TPG’s Adoption Timeline (which also includes a must-have checklist) to understand a typical “order of approach” most enterprises take towards ABM.  “Tackling Your Technology” may only be necessary after you’ve conquered other fundamentals.

However, you should consider additional tools if use cases like the following stand out:

  • Your customer data is so fragmented or incomplete that you can’t identify a robust Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) or accounts like it.
  • Many of your potential targets are unknown or coming through social media channels – and you need to identify them and understand their intent.
  • Automated advertising and content syndication have proved to be a strong source of prospects from your target companies.

Software Capabilities

Finding the best solution for your organization’s needs requires due diligence. Consider the capabilities listed on TPG’s Optimal ABM list. Several of the leading solutions, such as Forrester New Wave 2020 Leader 6Sense , contain all or most of this functionality.

As we have already noted, there are many software choices, each of which will claim to have the exact functionality your company needs. That’s up to you to determine – so make sure your purchase criteria are specific!

You may be ready for a full-funnel ABM solution if…

…your existing MarTech is stretched to the limit in these key areas:

  • Account and Contact Selection
  • Account Insights / Intent Tracking
  • Content Management / Personalization
  • Programmatic Advertising
  • Sales/Marketing Engagement Orchestration
  • Performance / Attribution Assessment

Related: Build a harmonious tech stack with our consulting services

Be deliberate in selecting a full-funnel solution.

Each solution which will claim to have the exact functionality your company needs. That’s up to you to determine – and make sure your purchase criteria are specific!

Also, be sure to involve stakeholders from Marketing, Sales Development, and Field Sales so that everyone will buy into the decision. Otherwise, you’ll have an expensive subscription without broad adoption.

The Pedowitz Group's slide on ABM providers

Grab this free checklist to make sure you get any major investment right!

Consider a phased approach

If you need to start quickly, consider a phased approach:

A good phase one is to build your ICPs, BCPs, and CXPs (read our blog for help with marketing acronyms if needed). In other words, identify your ideal customer profile and accounts like it, understand the buying center personas within those ICPs, and create orchestrated journeys for each.

This will maximize the customer experience for key clients while you work on more advanced ABM tactics and techniques.

To optimize your approach and returns, consider working with a strategic consulting team like The Pedowitz Group to design and implement a phased roadmap.

Like most things in life, ABM isn’t an “all or nothing” proposition. Your path to increased key-account revenue will be different than the next enterprise. Just remember: there is no ABM software silver bullet (yet). Success comes from a strategic roadmap and disciplined rollout, no matter how the available tech evolves.

How’s Your ABM?

Can it be improved? Are you missing some of the key structures outlined in this article? Do something about it with the following options:

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