10 Common Account-Based Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

Every business relies heavily on its marketing strategies, especially for B2B models. An increasingly 70% of marketers use account-based marketing (ABM), up from 15% in 2020. ABM is growing on B2B marketers; this is not surprising given the high returns it brings if executed correctly. 

However, many common ABM pitfalls cause its success rate to suffer. As such, knowing these downfalls will help you to steer clear of the problems. Here are the most common ABM mistakes and how you can avoid them to help you maximize your campaign results. 

What Is Account-Based Marketing?

Account-based marketing (ABM) is a marketing strategy that focuses on key accounts. B2B companies invest time and effort to take a more personalized approach to woo, nurture, and engage each account. This business marketing model can be applied to existing accounts or getting new business from specific accounts.     

Simply put, you first identify several strategic accounts, do your due diligence, and gain a more in-depth understanding of them. Then, you craft your marketing proposition and strategies accordingly to help resolve their pain points and increase conversion rates.

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10 Account-Based Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

ABM is known to give you high returns if done correctly. However, businesses that adopt ABM can find it challenging, as many obstacles prevent success. Marketers find themselves trapped by several common ABM errors.

Knowing what to do with ABM is as crucial as knowing what to avoid. If you fail in both, you will find ABM an uphill battle. Here is a list of common account-based marketing mistakes you need to avoid to give your business a fighting chance:

1. Not knowing your customer

The whole point of ABM is to remove the scattered approach and retain focus on the selected few strategic accounts. However, to identify those selected few key accounts, you first must know your ideal customer profile (ICP). Whether you intend to venture into new markets or stick to the existing ones, you must have a customer profile based on solid facts, never based on assumptions.

You need to know who your dream customer is—their interests, who they are, their attributes, their pain points, what they want, and others. If you do not spend enough time on this, you can kiss goodbye to a successful ABM strategy.  

account-based-marketing-mistakes-to-avoid 012. No defined targeted account list

Perhaps the most common mistake among marketers is no workable targeted account list. Many dive head down into marketing efforts without properly confirming who their key targets are. Remember, when you start wrong, chances are, you will end up wrong. And, you end up wasting a lot of time, effort, resources, and money.   

The purpose of ABM is to zoom your efforts into several key accounts; having no targeted account list defeats this purpose altogether. As such, it’s important to research your account lists and pick those that fit the ABM profile. 

You can start by looking into their business types and whether they match your company’s business roadmap. Also, consider those that are already in need of your products. Then, prioritize them accordingly; start from the warmest. The amount you invest for these identified accounts depends on their individually perceived value.  


Image: WebRevenue

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3. No clearly defined strategy

Assuming that you now have a targeted account list in place, the next step is to define your B2B marketing strategy. Unfortunately, many keep whamming away, hoping to see some light at the end of the tunnel. Please do not do this. Your customers will see you as an irritating pest and close their doors shut tight.  

Sit down and think things through. ABM is a long-term investment plan. Do not do things on impulse. Instead, research, plan, design, execute, tweak, and recycle your ABM strategy. Identify the correct channels and use only valuable content. ABM is hard work, but you can unleash its power by thoroughly prioritizing the high-yield targets through an effective ABM strategy. 

Once you have your confirmed sales strategy in place, you can draft appropriate communications with your customers to see positive returns.

4. Communication breakdown between teams

Perhaps the most common issue in many companies is having both the sales and marketing teams at loggerheads. Unfortunately, this problem extends to ABM as well. The sales team usually wants the targeted account list filled with tough nuts to crack (they want higher revenue). However, the marketing team looks at the bigger picture, creating awareness to generate as many high-quality leads as possible. 

ABM will never work as long as the sales and marketing teams are not in sync. Both teams must be coordinated tightly from the get-go for your company to succeed at ABM. The best is to get the much-needed buy-in from both teams. 

You can do so by trying out a few recommended accounts by the sales team. Run this as your pilot for ABM. Cohesive communication and seamless coordination between the sales and marketing teams from start to end are essential for a successful ABM. 

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5. Lack of effective personalization

Bear in mind that the purpose of ABM is to get down on personal “conversations” with your chosen accounts. It is a one-to-one conversation with your customer where you never use vague references and talk only about your company. Instead, use pivotal pressure points that pique their interests so that you remain relevant to them. You do not get that many opportunities, so do not waste them.

Once you “know” them inside out, gather their information and create a specific profile for each of them. Then, plan and craft a content strategy around your customers. You have to cater to each of their pain points and tailor them to suit the customer’s point in the sales funnel

Remember, these are strategic accounts that give you the highest returns. Hence, invest in them by becoming more granular, adopting a deep personalization approach to build a meaningful relationship with them. 

6. Using the wrong key performance indicators

Like in any marketing campaign (no matter its nature), you need to keep tabs on it at all times. The same applies to your ABM campaigns. You have to consistently monitor and measure your ABM programs to see if they are working or not. To do so, put in place relevant key performance indicators (KPIs) that you can track. 

Remember to change your KPIs with the various campaign stages. There is no point in measuring against KPIs that are wrong in the first place. So, be on the alert to not track wrong KPIs. Audit your ABM campaigns and tweak as and when necessary so you always stay on top of your game.

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7. Making too many assumptions

Making assumptions is easy. As such, many give in to the temptation of making assumptions just about anywhere they can. For ABM to work, you have to be precise to design an accurate and tailored approach for each key account. Never assume that since the customers are in the same industry, they automatically have the same needs and pain points. 

8. Using a one-size-fits-all approach

Making assumptions is one thing, but adopting a one-size-fits-all mentality when approaching your targeted lists is downright ridiculous. For ABM to work, you have to have a customized marketing strategy for each account. Remember, each to their own. They must be treated as separate individuals with different likes and dislikes. So, if you approach all your customers with a canned message, you are shooting yourself in the foot.

9. Ignoring the importance of data technology

Deploying ABM is not straightforward. Infrastructure and a data management strategy must be in place to support you throughout the whole journey. This infrastructure consists of various relevant and useful Martech tools that supplement your short and long-term marketing goals. These tools play essential roles in helping you formulate your whole ABM strategy. 

For example, utilizing a reliable customer relationship management (CRM) system can help you select your key accounts list. Many CRM tools help automate tasks for your teams:

  • Email tools help when it comes to customizing emails which are crucial in ABM. 
  • Digital analytic tools give you valuable insight into your campaign's performances
  • Adtech tools help to push more personalized ads directly to your recipients.  

Take note that any ABM software you end up with must integrate with your other existing systems for top-notch tracking and reporting purposes. 


Image: WebRevenue

10. Too many key accounts selected

It is normal to be excited and want to target loads of accounts at one go. Unfortunately, this does not work when it comes to ABM. Having too many accounts is as bad as having a few unsuitable ones. The purpose of ABM is to have a more focused approach, but if you bite off more than you can chew, you will soon find yourself in a dark pit of trouble.

Do not forget that when you mess up in all these accounts, that is a whole chunk of customers off your potential list. Your conversion rate will suffer. A good figure to start would be five. Anything above spells trouble. 

Build Account-Based Marketing Skills

ABM is not straightforward and much commitment is needed to avoid account-based marketing mistakes. That said, ABM has a strong potential to help you leverage high-valued accounts. Once you have successfully used ABM to reel in your key customers, you will enjoy a long-term and fruitful business relationship with them. 

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