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Struggling With ABM Insights? Services Can Help

September 14, 2016 | By Bob Peterson

  • Third-party services can help refine the account selection process for ABM
  • Account insights drive smart marketing and sales activities
  • Contracting with third-party services is useful for gathering insights

More and more b-to-b organizations are realizing the value of adopting an account-based marketing (ABM) strategy. In fact, our research indicates that 87 percent of b-to-b organizations consider ABM extremely or very important to their overall marketing efforts in 2016.

We’re excited to see this high adoption rate for ABM and encouraged to see impressive results from our ABM clients. However, while we find that many organizations clearly have the desire to implement an ABM strategy, they often face a challenge when gathering the account and contact insights necessary to drive meaningful sales and marketing actions. These issues could be caused by suboptimal data quality, a lack of dedicated internal resources, or a lack of access to the  technologies used to help gather and distribute the necessary account insights. That’s where third-party services can help. In a recent blog post, my colleague Matt Senatore lists the categories of service providers we see playing an important role in the support of ABM. Here are three key use cases for third-party services:

  • Helping with the account selection process. A common challenge for organizations is identifying which accounts should be part of the defined universe for ABM treatment. Third-party services can provide the intelligence to help make smarter decisions about which accounts are the best possible candidates for the ABM program. They can provide information about accounts and contacts such as buying center needs and initiatives, key decisionmakers, pain points and technology landscape, and other insights that provide clues about what needs to be done within selected accounts. Often this level of detail is difficult for organizations to source on their own, particularly with a longer list of accounts.

  • Narrowing down a longer list of accounts. An increasingly relevant obstacle for organizations desiring to implement ABM is an extended account list that is much too long to be realistically supported by the sales and marketing team. Third-party services can help prioritize the items on the extended list by conducting further analysis about the market segments or specific accounts and contacts, with a goal of refining the target list into a much more manageable group of prioritized segments. This refinement process helps organizations achieve scalability in their ABM initiative through more thoughtful prioritization of ABM accounts.

  • Fast-tracking the account planning process. Account insights are the lifeblood of the planning process, but without the ability to source these insights, marketers are flying blind. Third-party services can deliver the required knowledge about selected accounts and help organizations understand how to incorporate these insights into their account plans. These insights are then used to drive smart sales and marketing activities mapped to what is known about the accounts and what sales needs to achieve.

The truly exciting part of ABM is the impact of the transition on the delivery of highly relevant content to the right contacts within accounts that are priorities for sales and marketing. If your organization sees the value of this approach (and let’s be honest, who doesn’t?) but is constrained by its ability to acquire these insights, consider the use of third-party services to help identify required account insights.

Bob Peterson

Bob Peterson is a sales and marketing thought leader with more than 20 years of experience working in mid- to large-sized global organizations, with emphasis on the financial services and software sectors. Bob has particularly focused on developing account-based marketing strategies to help sales and marketing organizations forge tighter alignment.
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