Where Is ABM Succeeding, And Where Is It Falling Short?

ABM has caused a complete shift in how marketing teams approach their audience, but how effective has its implementation been?


You’ll have heard this one before: ABM is just good marketing. In many ways it’s true, but, actually, there’s more to it than that.

Since its emergence onto the scene, ABM has enabled B2B organizations to focus their efforts, design better customer journeys, deliver greater ROI, and close larger deals faster.

The practice has risen in tandem with the growing focus on customer experience. ABM challenged practitioners who slipped into the status quo of warming up leads to a standard deemed acceptable before throwing them over the fence for sales to outreach – rinse and repeat. Those days are gone, thankfully.

From the minute you first encounter a prospect, to the time they become a customer and beyond, good account-based strategies create joined up, compelling customer experiences that, with honest toil and a sprinkling of luck, result in recurring revenue. And we all live happily ever after, right? Not so fast.

Putting the buyer back into B2B

In comes Gartner and its latest deep dive into the ever-growing buying groups (latest count is somewhere between six and 10 on average), along with a new digital-first hybrid working world where buyer behavior and content consumption habits are changing, and customers are expecting more relevant experiences than ever. Add to the mix the fact that, as ABM became more popular, it also became broader. Many say that these scaled up approaches ultimately diluted their once hyper-targeted strategy.

All this calls for a more person-based approach. We need to recognize that, while ABM is undoubtedly a great strategy, when not executed right, it has its pitfalls too. For instance, select three accounts in any industry – let’s say tech. You create zinger positioning and validation statements, cases studies and thought leadership content all specific to the industry – and start targeting the accounts.

Sounds good? Well, not quite. Without taking into account the diverse needs, challenges and aspirations of each member of the decision-making units within each of those three accounts, at best you’re missing an opportunity to build more meaningful relationships. At worst, you risk landing an irrelevant message, and ultimately jeopardizing the deal.

ABM starts with accounts, which is great. But without knowing the buying group and the people influencing them like the back of your hand, your communications can only go so far. Sure, you know your ideal customer profile, and you can go after those personas with some confidence, but targeting the person or people solely on job title or responsibility overlooks who else is influencing them – is it their team? Their manager?

BGM is a new concept that serves to evolve the approach to ABM by finding and engaging buying groups and key decision makers inside target accounts. Let’s explore how.

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