What’s the difference between a good ABM strategy and just flushing marketing dollars down the toilet? Well, there’s a lot.

And that’s the point.

ABM, or account-based marketing, is a marketing strategy that’s being adopted across B2B industries at an incredibly rapid pace. And with good reason as a study by Demand Metric found that 97% of ABM practice leaders said that ABM offered a higher ROI than other marketing methods, with 38% calling it ‘much higher.’

But marketing metrics like this can be misleading.

A key word that we should point out above is “practice leaders.” That means that those who are leading the way in account-based marketing and executing on it at a high level are seeing great returns. But what about those who aren’t “practice leaders?” Many times what separates the leaders from everyone else is how well they measure their progress. As Peter Drucker so eloquently puts it, “what gets measured, gets managed.”

ABM: Proceed with caution

Account-based marketing is a great marketing strategy. If it wasn’t, we wouldn’t have built an entire ABM platform to support it. However, it’s important to approach it with a degree of caution.

ABM is great for addressing the long B2B sales cycles where it can take 6-12 months (even 2 years at an enterprise level) to close a B2B deal. According to the CEB, B2B deals also now require an average of 5.4 people to sign off on each purchase. If your job is to close those long and complex deals, you need to be sure you’re tracking for success along the way. If you’d like to learn more about the metrics that matter for an ABM program we recommend checking out this ebook: How to Measure ABM from Start to Success.

The gist of the ebook is that ABM metrics differ from traditional inbound metrics and if you don’t know these differences you could be measuring success completely wrong. For instance, if your ABM vendor doesn’t allow you to see your metrics at both the account level and the contact level then there’s a high chance you’re not getting the full picture of how your ABM campaign is performing.

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ABM: Get the process right

ABM is a long process that involves many steps. Most marketers end up doing these steps without even knowing it, but this can become a problem when your ABM campaigns aren’t performing as expected.

How do you know which levers to pull? How do you know what to adjust?

In the interest of managing our own ABM campaigns better, we decided to put all these steps down on paper. Working with Econsultancy, we created a checklist of every step that B2B marketers could take along the way. From aligning your sales and marketing teams to mapping your customer’s needs, we condensed everything down into the checklist below.

Before you look through the list and get overwhelmed, keep in mind that this is an exhaustive list. You can definitely run a successful ABM program without completing every step below, but using this list can help you troubleshoot your ABM campaign in case it’s not going as well as intended or if you just want to make it even better.

So, where in the ABM process are you? See how much of this list you can check off and you’ll quickly see where there might be gaps that are keeping you from becoming a practice leader.


Best ABM checklist


Next Steps

This checklist is part of a larger ebook that we wrote with Econsultancy to help marketers better set up their ABM strategy. If you’d like more context on any of the steps in the checklist above, the ebook has the answers you’re looking for.

Inside the ebook there are 5 more actionable worksheets that can show you how to get started with account-based marketing plus advice from practice leaders. Or, if you prefer, you can schedule a free demo with an ABM specialist who can answer your questions directly.