“Demand generation [via marketing automation] is a highly efficient model for certain kinds of businesses.”
Honestly, I never thought I would hear those words—much less hear them during a webinar featuring Jon Miller, founder of Marketo and the new account based marketing automation company, Engagio.
Miller compares marketing automation to fishing with a net and account based marketing (ABM) to fishing with a spear. In his opinion, funnels should not exist when the target market is finite because you cannot afford to lose ANY prospects. Bravo! I couldn’t agree more.
An Allbound Approach
Account based marketing is already hot. However, there are some red lights blinking on the dashboard that should be monitored and not ignored:
- There are already a host of new solutions that use phrases such as “IP-based targeting” (ClickZ) and “can reach more stakeholders than ever, because you don’t have to have buyers’ telephone numbers or email addresses to expose them to your marketing message” (Sangram Vajre, Terminus).
- SimplyCast states that “ABM gives marketers the ability to target accounts with real-time ads so you don’t have to be placing ads on hundreds of pages.”
- According to Megan Heuer, SiriusDecisions: ABM is a “sensible evolution for the next phase of marketing alignment and it works well with the reality of the buyer’s journey.”
What I like about the broad concept of ABM is that it is taking us back to a more balanced, allbound approach rather than the recent heavy focus on inbound marketing (which I call “inbounditis”).
The Best Process for ABM
The process for ABM that I like best is discussed by Jon Miller, Craig Rosenberg and Maria Pergolino on June 12, 2015 in this webinar by eCornell Presents and is summarized as:
- Identify the best target accounts and contacts in those accounts.
- Create an outreach strategy (that includes proactive outbound).
- Run campaigns.
- Review results.
However, I’m concerned that ABM could turn into the same money-hole that marketing automation investments have ended up as—and lead to marketing providing more poor-quality leads to sales faster than ever before.
Keys to Success with ABM
In order to have the most success with ABM keep in mind that ABM requires careful identification of key targets and multiple touches within each target. ABM is, or at least should be:
- A top down commitment
- Coordinated (between marketing and sales)
- There is no Holy Grail and there are no easy solutions.
- Don’t be blinded by the hype.
- Test in the shallow end of the pool before jumping right into the deep end when looking at ABM options.