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Avoid these first campaign mistakes

Avoid these first campaign mistakes

Do you want to increase your digital marketing strategy with account-based marketing (ABM)?

The main goal in launching your first ABM campaign is to show that the alignment between your marketing and sales team helps generate revenue.

If you do not communicate these customization gains to your team, you will be in an upward battle to get budget, buy-in from stakeholders, and the confidence to run subsequent campaigns.

To give you the best match chance to see success in your first campaign, there are seven mistakes to avoid when planning your first account-based marketing campaign.

1. Overall your first campaign with too many deliveries

The biggest mistake I see marketing and sales organizations making is to include too many content assets, tactics, or channels in their first campaign.

Just because you have access to countless ABM ad platforms, best practices, and channels you can reach your target accounts on, does not mean you have to include them in your first attempt.


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Start simple. Start small. You will see more success by applying one or two tactics versus trying to weave in every outbound marketing and sales tactic or tool you have access to.

Here is an example of a simple campaign you can run:

Meet with sales to identify 5-15 accounts or sales opportunities that have gone dark. ABM can be used to help revive these accounts by doing some basic ad targeting on LinkedIn or AdRoll. Complete this with a simple direct mail piece to the prospect of these accounts with a URL to your campaign page.

Our measure of success for this campaign would be the ability to see engagement from these accounts and if the sales team is able to revive the conversation again with the prospect.

2. Delayed progress due to lack of tools

There are dozens of ABM targeting and advertising platforms with many bells and whistles on the market. However, you do not necessarily need a dedicated ABM platform to test basic ABM tactics in your organization.

At the most basic level, you only need a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platform that can report on the commitment and progress of accounts that progress in the sales process.


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Once you’ve tracked these metrics, you can use LinkedIn, Facebook, and AdRoll for account-based ad targeting, or you can test gift apps like Postalytics or Rybbon for your first campaign.

None of these tools require six-digit annual investments or contracts to run a simple pilot.

Once you have successfully demonstrated that an ABM approach will work for your organization, it’s time to start exploring adding more horsepower to your toolkit.

3. Choosing the right playbook

Account-based marketing can be used for dozens of applications, including:

Identification of new target accounts. Commitment of existing accounts and faster time for closing. Increasing upsells and cross-selling from existing customers. Restoring accounts that have gone cold.

And the list goes on. These ABM tactics or goals are sometimes called play or playbooks.

In most cases, your sales team buys into ABM if it helps them close more, close faster, or close larger deals. If this sounds like your sales team, choose the piece that helps get existing opportunities across the finish line.

Do not try to run every game in your first campaign, otherwise you will struggle with inertia, create confusion with too much complexity and spread your team’s focus too thinly.

Stay focused on a single goal for your first campaign.

4. Lack of profit of Clear Buy-In from sales and marketing

ABM should not be planned with only marketers around the table. Your sales team needs to be there from day one to ensure that account-based marketing efforts clearly complement sales activities.

For your first campaign, you do not necessarily have to bring every single marketing and sales interest into the space for planning. However, you must have leadership acquisitions to ensure visibility and alignment with existing marketing and sales programs.

5. Do not schedule weekly meetings to discuss victories and needs

The success of your ABM campaign depends on your sales team’s ability to increase revenue. Your team needs to hold a weekly ABM meeting to talk through:

Which accounts are participating in the campaign. What tactics marketing implements to support sales. What sales need in the form of additional advertising or support from the marketing team.


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6. Underinvestment in the ABM program

Getting an early win will be crucial in securing buy-ins for future ABM promotions.

If you only have one chance to run an ABM campaign, make sure you have the budget to create targeted content assets (ie ads, mailers, etc.), you have time to devote further sales collaboration, and you get the media to run the required amount of paid media to reach your ABM goals.

Although you should show a quick win in your first campaign, ABM should not be considered a single campaign bet.

The biggest mistake organizations make here is not seeing enough traction on their first campaign and quickly pulling the plug on paid media – or other ABM levers in a campaign – that are critical to subsequent ABM campaigns.

You must be willing to commit to ABM over a multi-year period to see success.

Organizations wishing to pursue ABM should plan to initially see marketing and sales costs increase in the short term, as there is a significant amount of planning, experimentation and collaboration that needs to happen to develop momentum.


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7. Measuring the wrong KPIs

Choose 1-2 goals for success – or key performance indicators (KPIs) – for your first ABM campaign. As discussed earlier, there are several different ABM games you can make, depending on your goals, and your KPIs need to be based on them.

The biggest analytical mistake that organizations make here is trying to measure a KPI that is not affected by the ABM campaign.

If your goal is to increase account engagement (via ad or email clicks), and your game is to use ads to drive target accounts to your site or landing page, don’t measure revenue growth as the success metric for that campaign.


Finally, there are a number of landmines you should avoid when starting your first ABM campaign.

You have the best chance of seeing success in your first campaign by avoiding over-orchestration, developing customization for your marketing and sales teams, and using the right tactics to help your campaign succeed.


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