5 Lessons from a Comprehensive ABE Implementation
1. Sales & marketing need to bring ABE into the organization together.
ABE is all about sales and marketing orchestrating coordinated “plays” to win an account. As has been pointed out many times before, ABE is not about re-inventing the sales and marketing wheel (going after named accounts has been around for decades). And there is nothing that is inherently rocket science about outreach to the people that make up your named accounts’ decision making units (DMU’s). The secret sauce of ABE is that modern platforms like Engagio and Triblio provide sales and marketing leaders with the tools to orchestrate, coordinate and measure named account outreach at scale.
2. Your organization needs good, clean account data. And lots of it!
I know that you have spent the last half-decade investing in acquiring, deduping and continuously scrubbing your lead and contact data. For ABE to work well, you will need to set your sights on your Account data. Just as new names were the fuel that powered your demand generation strategy, account data is the new fuel for ABE. You will not only need to acquire, dedupe and scrub all of the accounts that make up your organization’s target market, you will need clean contact data for every account’s DMU.
3. Ban the term marketing generated.
The concept of marketing generated (and marketing qualified) leads was invented during the 2008-2009 financial crisis when marketing organizations had to prove their value to the company by taking credit for revenue generation. A decade later, we need to move on! There’s no us or them anymore. Only we.
4. Get acquainted with new ABE-specific KPI’s.
Now that you have a new ABE growth engine in place, you will need ABE-specific KPI’s to help manage what is going on under the hood. Here are a just few KPI’s that I recommend:
a) No-Engagement to Aware Account Conversion: measures the number of unengaged accounts that become aware (or engaged) within a time period.
b) Aware to Open Opportunity Account Conversion: measures the number of Aware accounts that your organization successfully converts into pipeline within a time period.
c) Engagement — measures the overall amount of account engagement that your coordinated plays generate within a time period.
d) Aware Accounts — measures the number of accounts with recent engagement.
e) Number of New Accounts Added to the Database — measures the number of new target market accounts added to your database within a time period.
5. Don’t try to change everything at once.
Make sure that you carefully build out a change management process that gets everyone on board across the organization including your sales, marketing and senior leadership teams. ABE is a big cultural change that takes time. It is not a “switch” that can be turned on or off. It is a seismic shift in how sales and marketing partner to support revenue generation, and you need to phase the changes in over time so that your organization’s culture can adjust. I recommend a gradual implementation where you keep your existing demand generation process in place while you phase in the new ABE process over 3-6 months, on a stage-by-stage or account-by-account basis. Yes, that means you will need to run parallel processes, but it is simply not possible to lift and shift everything at once.
I strongly believe that the adoption of Account-Based Everything tools will empower business leaders to execute more effective growth strategies. If you’re considering ABE, it is incredibly important to carefully consider the company-wide cultural and process changes that are required to achieve success.