Many of those who think they’re doing ABM are simply delivering the same ads to a list of target accounts. There’s little attempt to identify needs and strategize on how those needs can be met as each account goes through differing stages of engagement. Think of it this way, your company has a tier 1 prospect but your sales person delivers the same deck to them week over week. Do you think that account would be any more likely to buy from you? Then, why would you think that delivering the same display ad to them week over week would do anything different?
If your ABM program has succeeded at engaging a prospect from an Awareness issue to a Consideration issue, what happens then? Obviously, you need to change your content / media to talk to the needs they have now – not the needs they had a month ago. If you keep delivering the same content but paying no mind to what stage they’re in, then you’re tone-deaf. You’re just doing list-based marketing. That’s not ABM.
This is a really critical point. Most self-identified ABM programs aren't actually doing ABM at all. Our recent ABM research, covering 500 programs from around the globe, identified that approximately 70% of programs are not doing the necessary planning to achieve the promised objectives of ABM - specifically, will never achieve Funnel Velocity.
Selecting accounts is a requirement of ABM, but it's like your first steps in a marathon.
As the quote above highlights, much of ABM can be compared to what you see in sales interaction. In the excerpt from the MRP article, I told a hypothetical story of a top salesperson delivering the same presentation to a top prospect each week, week after week. Is your ABM program doing this? What if that salesperson also used that same deck with each account, regardless of industry, product sold and need of the prospect? Is your ABM program doing this?
Look, to create anything beyond a first stage of engagement, a lead, your ABM program needs to adjust in order to speak to the new needs that account has. Only when you can continue to do this for each account, speaking to their next stage, will you ever achieve funnel velocity. And, if all you're focused on is general advertising to generate leads at particular account, you're doing List-Based marketing and not ABM at all. Leads aren't a bad thing and this isn't about splitting hairs over semantics, this is really the foundational issue that is causing the majority of ABM programs to not produce the results they were promised.
At best, ABM funnel velocity will never occur if you delver the same message / media to an account regardless of their stage of engagement or buying cycle. Their needs change. Initially, they may have a lack of awareness for your solution. Assuming your ABM program solves that, what do you do next? Well, it's probably some next stage of engagement need, like consideration. Would the same message and media that solved the awareness issue also work to solve the consideration issue? No! How about a research need? No! Look, to form velocity in engagement through the funnel, your message and media need to work like a magnet to pull people from stage to stage.
Realistically, the next impact of from this example is that marketers will deliver a sense of tone-deafness. Not just that velocity won't occur, rather, that the program itself will fail to achieve a positive revenue impact. If your ABM program is following the essence of this example, not only will you not get velocity in your funnel, I believe you'll actually prove to each target account that you're irrelevant. That you don't understand their needs. Having patience and spending more on media will simply exacerbate the issue, not solve it.
Doing ABM isn't the same thing as selecting accounts and delivering ads. That's really List-Based Marketing. You can check out this piece at ZenIQ to get more of the flavor of ABM Marketing Maturity. This blog entry is hopefully a warning sign, "a sobering glass of ice water", on the cacophony of non-sense we hear in the market everyday.