Account-based marketing: How to drive success with a unified CRM

We covered the basics of account-based marketing (ABM) in our recent article on the topic. We discussed creating ideal customer profiles; researching target accounts; aligning sales and marketing around central goals and processes; and the benefits of account-based marketing.

Having covered the fundamentals, we now turn to key best practices for using a unified CRM to drive your ABM efforts. 

Eight best practices to drive ABM success with a unified CRM

Use the tactics below to maximize the ROI of your ABM initiatives.

1. Secure buy-in from internal stakeholders

Your account-based marketing program will only succeed if you obtain buy-in from your sales and marketing leaders. They allocate their teams’ respective budgets. If they aren’t fully committed to or convinced of the value of running an ABM program, your work is exponentially less likely to succeed. 

Both teams and their leaders must be involved in every step of the process. You don’t want to spend a month preparing your strategy and approach, only to later discover that there’s not enough available budget or time to implement the strategy.

2. Build your ABM team

Who will drive your ABM efforts? You don’t want to apply your account-based marketing methodology to all prospect and customer upsell accounts. You need to select the right individuals to engage in and drive the program to a select group of prospects.

A great way to kick things off is by starting with a pilot program to test the waters (more on that below). Select the individuals you feel are best suited for the job. This initial team should include one marketer and at least one sales rep. 

That sales rep should only own a few accounts due to the extensive research and outreach involved. We suggest you cap the accounts an individual rep owns/manages at eight or less in the beginning. If you spread a salesperson too thin, they won’t be able to devote the time and effort necessary to make your ABM program a success.

PRO TIP: Don’t forget to loop in important members of other teams, such as customer success, who will play a role in your program.  

3. Align sales & marketing

Sales and marketing alignment involves more than the two teams getting along well. It requires them to align their thought processes around multiple variables and goals. These include gaining consensus around how accounts are identified and targeted, how ABM plans are created, and the roles each team will play throughout the process. 

4. Account identification & selection

At this point, you’ll start using your unified CRM to help drive your program. All the data stored in your CRM will make it easy to identify the accounts with the greatest potential to generate the most revenue. 

It’s important that data is entered into your CRM according to your established process. That data will provide insight into each targeted account’s challenges, goals, and needs, allowing you to personalize your outreach and develop content that aligns with those variables.

Moreover, your CRM data will tell you which engagement channels a target account’s contacts use the most. You’ll also gain insight into the content they prefer and the outcomes of previous conversations they’ve had with sales. This knowledge will aid you in the planning stage.

PRO TIP: As you move forward, consider

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