Marketers are starting to open their eyes to the benefit ABM provides when coupled with other strategic initiatives.
First off, I like to think of the ABM list as a subset of the TAM, or total addressable market. There are lots of companies out there you can sell to, but when budgets are fixed and you don’t have enough money to go broad, you need to identify an addressable audience and go deep with them, essentially surrounding them with your content and messaging in an effort to maximize every dollar you have to work with.
Digital ABM is one tactic you can use, leveraging a platform like DemandBase or 6Sense, to identify, message to, and track engagement or visits with that addressable audience. You can also surround that audience with direct mail, customized events and content syndication to ensure your message is breaking through the clutter.
Sales and marketing need to be aligned and reaching out to the same audience in order to determine if they are interested or not.While ABM is an amazing tool to reach out to the audience you want to engage, you have to suspend your belief in attribution -- or at least the typical model of attribution you are used to. You can try to attribute value to each touch, but more importantly, you should be looking at the gross conversion from target audience to viable, qualified opportunity.
How many of your initially identified customers have become opportunities? Are there any that have been surrounded and simply disqualified? If the former, then you are on the right path. If the latter, then it is possible you may need to refine your list to remove those companies or find a different path to personalize an approach to them.
What I don’t see happen enough is this optimization of the ABM list given qualitative feedback from sales. I see quantitative feedback where Salesforce data is fed back into a targeting matrix, and that is certainly very helpful. What I don’t see is the direct feedback from sales that says whether that company is still viable or not. If a company says a hard “no,” and they have a viable reason why, maybe you should remove them from your targeting and replace them with someone who is still a potential opportunity.
ABM works great, but it is even greater when you treat it like a living, breathing organism. You should feed it and grow it over time, so it can become an ongoing piece of your go-to-market strategy.
Beyond ABM, I see things like content syndication, search, retargeting and even LinkedIn as supplementary tools that help drive engagement against a target audience. These are solutions you can pair up with ABM that become on-ramps to feed your ABM with new potential customers or contacts denoting new companies you should be engaging. ABM is not something to do in a silo. It should be a piece of your go-to-market strategy, one that coordinates openly with your other channels.