The Top 5 ABM Mistakes

When a customer comes to us to discuss demand generation programs, and more specifically Account-Based Marketing (ABM) approaches, we usually start by asking key questions about the complex tech ecosystem and how they are approaching their content strategies and handoff to sales. Because IDG has 53 years of experience with influential technology decision-makers, we have a strong advantage to give tech marketers unmatched intelligence on users’ purchasing intent and access to a depth of market data that is precise, predictive and unique in the industry.

IDG’s insight on technology buyers allows segmentation capabilities that are deeper than any source, due to our premium brands and quality data. IDG offers full-funnel demand generation capabilities providing access to a database of 44M IT and business decision-makers and over 20,000 active IT projects identified monthly. With a presence in 147 countries in 47 languages, IDG demand generation programs give tech marketers access to large-scale global campaigns and individual in-country expertise for unmatched capabilities.

While we see more ABM strategies integrated into marketer’s overall programs, we still see some key mistakes that can reduce the opportunity for maximum success. We’ve outlined 5 key mistakes that we use to guide conversations with our customers to help sales and marketing teams to get more out of their ABM campaigns.

1. Vendors treat ABM like any other marketing campaign: ABM is a strategic approach to long-term revenue growth. Marketing to accounts is tactical lead generation. A customer that provides a target account list of 75 companies, but places demands on 100+ leads is running the risk of “brand spamming” that audience.

2. Lack of knowledge about the complex buying team: Partners still fail to grasp the importance of buying teams and insist on placing caps on the number of contacts they engage with or setting unrealistic seniority filters, thus excluding valuable stakeholders and future decision-makers. In fact, the 2017 IDG Role and Influence of the Technology Decision Maker study highlights an average of 16 influencers involved in tech purchase decision. Adding to that complexity is how these influencers cross the IT and Line of Business roles.

3. Setting the wrong expectations: Customers continue to set the same KPI’s for ABM that they do with traditional media campaigns with short-term sales need overriding long-term strategy. Successful ABM campaigns need their unique KPIs.

4. Content lacks customization: Many marketers still fail to critically evaluate their content strategies. Most content is pro-vendor, lacks authority and linkage. Making sure the content is relevant or personalized to your target accounts is necessary in this complex ecosystem.

5. Sales and marketing lack alignment: The lack of understanding and communication that exists between marketing and sales teams is astounding. Many sales teams appear to lack an important understanding of how an ABM strategy may be at play with their marketing teams, let alone have a defined process on how to follow-up or engage with the leads. The risk here is that they miss out on custom nurture discussions at a strategic level and keep the status quo process of direct customer-to-client engagements as a traditional sales conversation.

Applying traditional lead generation approaches to an ABM campaign is a route to failure and is lazy marketing. The buying team complexity and need for account level content with benefit-led engagement is key. More importantly, IT vendors need to accept that nobody gets married on their first date.

At IDG, our robust ABM360® suite of products such as ECHO and integrated display, social and data solutions with deep dive data analytics helps our customers avoid these 5 mistakes and expand ROI.


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