Is your ABM approach disconnected from your lead gen goal? The parade for account-based marketing seems to be a never-ending celebration, often leading to misguided trust in whatever strategy most people are doing. Sticking with the herd, not bothering to ask the necessary questions to understand what’s best for your company, is a mistake you don’t want to make.
It’s time to speak frankly about ABM. These five myths could be getting in the way of a successful lead gen strategy.
Myth: Company activity and buyer intent are the same things.
The reliability of company-level insights is flimsy. When company-level intent data is handed to you, ask yourself this, “Is it first-party data or third-party intent inferred signals?” Knowing a company is browsing topics related to a product or service you align with is better than not knowing anything at all, of course. But having observed behavior as the backbone of your campaign is choosing vague, potential interest over legitimate, conscious engagement.
Given the nature of ABM, your lead is most likely someone from a larger company, possibly 10k or more employees. Through traditional CPM models, a delivered “signal” brings the guesswork back into the conversation. You don’t have confirmation that the person you’re contacting was the one actually browsing something related to your company or your solution set.
Adding further insult to injury, if you’ve built your ABM engine around ingesting “Surging” company level-data from one of the major providers then your immediate group of competitors also just received the exact same commoditized insights. On the other hand, knowing the exact person, at the exact company, their job title, job level, and most importantly, that they knowingly consumed your content is a buyer intent multiplier.
Think about it this way to put yourself in your prospects shoes: would you rather receive outreach communications from a company that anonymously tracked you without your knowledge, or from a company that hosted a webinar you attended which relates directly to your strategic goals? Exactly.
Myth: It expedites the sales process.
We’re going to let you in on a secret. The ABM martech landscape is littered with players reliant on funneling budgets through display advertising and retargeting on the basis of getting brands to spend more money, more effort, and more impressions to generate activity that is largely anonymous in nature aside from company-level values. However, these efforts are promoted as giving marketers and salespeople actionable information. The praise of giving actionable information becomes burdened by the next step of needing to discern value from vapor.
You still need to figure out who the contact actually is and what’s the best approach. Isn’t it ironic that the very ABM vendors selling you so-called “ABM Leads” are never comfortable working on a cost-per-lead (CPL) basis? Surely something is amiss if they’re not willing to incur the conversion risk only to pass that on to the end-customer.
An ABM execution heavily rooted in CPM buying strategies relies heavily on third-party data, inevitably making a direct relationship more challenging to cultivate since the data collected is not only from an external source but something the user didn’t knowingly agree to. If the goal is to shorten sales cycles and get SDR’s talking with the POC inside a targeted account, leveraging a personalized approach that combines the power of content strategy and fully permissioned first-party data is the superior contender.
To put it simply, during a presentation in a room of 10,000 people, would you feel more confident calling on a person who was checking their phone in the back row or someone in the front row who raised their hand? That’s how it works with sales, too.
Myth: ABM is personalized.
Many marketers are sourcing data on specific company-level activity to then tailor outbound efforts to that group. If you fall into that category, ask yourself this: why not tailor content to the particular people instead of blanketing an email or display ads to non-specific players at a company? The biggest pain-point marketers should have with ABM through display ads is you’re not answering your prospects’ pain-point. Personalization should not be ignored, and the deployment practices have no choice but to evolve.
Adding the necessary level of personalization and buyer intent, ABM through a content-first channel (vs. ad unit first) shines bright. Through hyper-targeting capabilities, content syndication brings a more sophisticated deployment strategy for reaching your desired accounts and most importantly, the desired people within those key accounts.
Myth: Display oriented ABM protects your brand, is a steward of class-leading data security and is user-centric.
Let’s just address the elephant in the room. Apple, Google, and Firefox are all making significant moves to disrupt the programmatic space as it relates to the industry’s reliance on third-party cookie tracking. Marketers are now facing the reality that many of their existing ABM vendors are those who source and deliver against third-party cookies for their ABM activated audiences. As you might recall, these changes in the industry aren’t occurring by happenstance. On the contrary, the market is aggressively moving away from third-party cookie data due to abuse of user rights and political blowback from the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica debacle.
What are you doing to protect your brand from this continued recalibration of the market being driven by your customers, visitors, and prospects?
Myth: ABM helps you identify only the most relevant leads.
There’s a high chance you’re leaving opportunities on the table. Having the direction of a list of targeted accounts that are top priority is great. But the other accounts, accounts that can equally impact the growth of your business and are showing active engagement and interest in you, could be just as much of an opportunity. It’s highly likely that your known targeted universe isn’t nearly as comprehensive or as exhaustive as you hope/aspire. Let’s agree to not ignore those that are actively attempting to get your attention all while you are focused on delivering unique experiences to your targeted accounts.
Having insight into the companies who match your criteria and are a perfect prospect, but aren’t on your list, is underacknowledged importance in the game of lead gen. ABM is not an all-new saving grace for quality lead generation. The overall approach for generating leads is marketing; ABM is a strategy, and if done well, a core philosophy.
Imagine the salespeople of yesterday saying “we want to land this big logo, let’s get our reps knocking on their door.” The difference now is determining what matters more – who opens the door or simply being able to knock on it?
ABM isn’t the Holy Grail
Not to beat a dead horse but ABM isn’t the holy grail for your lead gen efforts. Remove the rose-colored glasses and see it for what it really is: A strategic approach to tackle targeted accounts, when done successfully and alongside existing other efforts, to make sure you’re not leaving opportunities on the table.
Here’s the last question, and arguably the most important: instead of chasing your targeted account across the web-universe, why not promote your B2B content in an environment where your prospects are actively researching technical and business-related topics and only pay for the leads that explicitly meet your criteria?
Content-powered ABM is the solution. You can run performance-based lead gen, targeting in-market professionals in your target accounts who are actively researching the exact topic you’re discussing, all while assessing buyer intent and having the opportunity to investigate leads who weren’t on your list. Our technology supports ABM to achieve this. However, we’re proponents of setting your sights a little higher and tapping into the greater opportunities available across the B2B web.
Interested? Check out the NetLine Portal to launch your ABM campaign today or drop us a line and one of our ABM experts will guide you through the process. It puts you in control to manage and optimize your campaigns whenever you want.