The Top ABM Misconceptions

Kevin Joyce

My name is Kevin, and I am a Customer Success Manager at Metadata. After having launched thousands of paid social campaigns for a hundred or so B2B companies, I’ve come across a common misconception — that the most effective advertising starts with a small and loosely defined “target” account list. I’ve come to report that this strategy is missing a few key details.

Most companies approach account-based marketing the way most sellers of ABM solutions write about it: they pick a small list of companies, tailor messaging specific to their profiles, and close revenue. In theory, it’s very logical. Personalized ads catch attention. Messaging specifically related to your business will always close more business than broad generalizations.

The problem most companies face, however, is where to begin that hyper-targeted messaging. Marketers oftentimes approach their sales team with a simple request to provide a list of companies they think would be a good fit. “A good fit” can be defined in many ways — firmographic, technographic, location-based, or they just have a lot of money to spend (think Fortune 500 list).

What happens next? Sales teams provide marketers with a list of their dream accounts, the white whales with infinite budget and sexy logos to boot. That’s all fine and dandy until it comes time to actually generate leads from this list. The problem we see with many customers and their ABM strategy is that it looks a lot like a child’s Christmas list turned disillusioned teen’s dating profile. They want to go out with the best looking, most out-of-their-league companies in the market without even asking if they’re single. Sometimes, no matter how good your pick-up line is, no matter how many roses you sent to their front doorstep, they might be dating someone else!

You may be saying to yourself, that’s not what I read on a blog of a company that sells ad personalization software! I wonder why.

The best account-based marketing strategy does include personalized outreach, but that is after a very wide net is cast and intent is understood. To assume Deloitte is interested in your startup because you managed to fit their name in a line of copy is delusional. But to generate eight leads from a smaller, more interested company, research those eight people, and send them personalized messages and sometimes even gifts makes far more sense. After all, “A guy don’t walk on the lot lest he wants to buy.” Stop trying to flag down cars on the freeway and start dealing with the people that have their hand raised.

CPMs, CPCs, CPLs — these are all scary acronyms that eat budgets like PacMan. Marketing could spend hundreds of dollars to ensure your ads target the biggest companies in the world. But do those companies really need your product? To me, it makes far more sense investing those top-of-funnel dollars on campaigns that allow you to at least sift through trends of interest. From there, your willing and able sales team can do what they do best — create highly targeted messaging to close business, otherwise known as account-based marketing.

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