Account-Based Marketing (ABM) has been a powerful tool in the legal marketing world for a long time. So long, in fact, that we now understand some best practices and also things that tend to go wrong. Often, law firms start out with lofty goals for their ABM program and then aren’t sure of why their ABM strategy isn’t delivering the results they’d hoped for. Whether you’re at the beginning of your ABM journey or have been managing an account-focused strategy for years, it never hurts to learn from others’ mistakes. Read through this list of common issues and be sure to adjust your firm’s ABM strategy if you spot any in your own efforts.
1. Measuring the Wrong Things
ABM is very different from other funnel-based demand strategies and should be treated as such. Looking at the same KPIs you use for those programs will not give you a real picture of how ABM is working. For instance, early on in ABM campaigns, success is better measured by account awareness and engagement (whereas later in campaigns you might review meetings).
2. Expecting Account-Based Marketing to Move Too Quickly
Some people try to fit their ABM strategy into a 60-day window or another concrete timeframe. The fact is that ABM is better suited to firms that have a longer and more complex sales cycle, and those are not usually quick decisions. Make sure you’re thinking of ABM as a robust strategy and not a single campaign within your marketing function.
3. Not Properly Personalizing
One of the key features of a true ABM strategy is that it’s based on a one-to-one approach. That means it’s essential to personalize messaging, content, creative, and other methods of communication. Your goal is to maximize relevance with every touchpoint. Don’t make the mistake of simply recycling previous messaging or content (even if it was successful with another audience).
4. Moving Forward Without a Fully-Invested Sales Force
Marketing’s role in the sales cycle continues to grow, and simply “handing off” leads doesn’t cut it anymore. The most successful programs are based on collaboration and buy-in between an integrated sales and marketing team. You need the advice and action of business development professionals, including sales management, from early on in the process. Without this cooperation during the planning and execution phases, you’re unlikely to see success.
5. Churning Out Messaging and Creative
An advanced martech stack allows marketers to create campaign elements more quickly than ever before. However, just because we can make things faster, doesn’t mean we should. If you don’t have time to put real thought and effort into creative, then hold off on sending it.
6. Not Using the Correct Technology
Speaking of martech, technology is a critical part of navigating ABM. Can you really execute and measure the ABM strategy you’ve put together with the tools you have? Remember that many legacy systems aren’t built for ABM, so you need to take a close look at your platforms and make sure they are right for doing what you need them to.
7. Refusing to Invest in Account-Based Marketing
The bottom line is that ABM is most successful when firms invest in careful planning, obtaining sales buy-in, personalized content, and helpful technology. Obviously, there’s a cost and resource element involved in all of those areas, so ABM is not a small consideration. That being said, trying to “cheap out” on any of these elements will cost you in the long run.
8. Not Knowing Your Audience
As we mentioned in point number 3, personalization is crucial. But how can you personalize if you don’t really understand who you are communicating with? Make a point to define an ideal client profile and key personas. Do your research to pull together the real pain points and value propositions that matter to them. In order to be relevant, you need to make sure you’re speaking to the right person.
9. Thinking Account-Based Marketing Will Abbreviate the Decision-Making Cycle
Even the most effective account-based marketing strategy doesn’t make the sales cycle go away. Ideally, ABM will help to generate awareness and build relationships, and even secure meetings, but at the end of the day, there’s still a process that needs to take place. Many times an ABM strategy fails because there are misaligned expectations about what the strategy will accomplish. Make sure everyone is on the same page before you launch an ABM program.
10. Creating Your Account List Like a Wish List
An initial step in account-based marketing is usually asking the sales team for a list of accounts to target. However, that early step should involve finding organizations that are the best fit for your solution, not simply those companies that sales wants to penetrate most. A big part of this is reviewing client data and leveraging technologies like predictive analytics. You’re looking for companies that are statistically (and genuinely) more likely to do business with you.
You’ve probably heard the phrase “anything worth doing is worth doing right” – and Account-Based Marketing is no exception. Unfortunately in their eagerness to launch an account-based marketing strategy, many marketers make the common mistakes we shared, and it costs them in the end. If you need help evaluating or putting together your own ABM program, reach out to us. We can help you to generate awareness, engagement, and leads that will help generate more clients.