Hot out of the ABM Roundtable, hosted by Robert Norum, where there was some incredible discussion from companies in various stages of their ABM journey. So, let's try and pick out the key points of discussion.
I joined the ABM roundtable as a Martech expert. But as we quickly discovered, the hard work in ABM starts way upstream of technology. There are a significant and rapidly growing set of ABM tools, some that specialise in ABM and others that offer ABM functionality as part of a wider offering. Whilst it would be difficult (and not to mention very time-consuming) to discuss the functionality of every one of those tools, in our session, we discovered that a good ABM strategy is what will drive performance in your business and eventually point you in the direction of the right tool to support it.
ABM is a strategy and not a technology
I meet so many clients looking for the perfect ABM tool, often before they have even considered their ABM strategy or which tool could help them to make it effective.
A really interesting section of our meeting took us to talk about direct mail and how powerful it could be when used as part of a well-thought-out ABM strategy. Of course, there are tools that can be used to help personalise and track posted material, but your ABM software won't give you the ideas that fit your potential clients perfectly. That comes from you.
Before you even consider the need for ABM software, plan your strategy, who and how you are going to connect with potential clients, and what success looks like for you. There are now over 90 tools claiming to be ABM solutions, so to pick the one that fits you, you need to be very clear on where you are going.
ABM strategy leads to technology
Once you have a strategy, and maybe have tested a few of your hypotheses about how potential clients will respond to your marketing ideas, you can start to document the requirements for your system. This process will be the start of your RFP (request for proposal) where technology vendors can then showcase how their software fits your business needs - not just the cool things they want to show off.
One of the attendees mentioned a way to flow out the customer process, and even the existing tech stack, to understand where the gaps are. With so many tools now offering duplicated functionality, and more popping up every day, you may already have some ability to perform the tasks you need.
Your needs should match your budget
Some of the leading ABM tools are expensive. Designed for mature and experienced enterprises, the price tag is aligned. But part of your strategy and the requirements of your technology will match the budget you should have for technology. The biggest tool is not always the best for your business needs.
We heard from one company about how they are actually replacing the leading ABM tool in their business with a different (and slightly cheaper) one because its core functionality is more suited to their strategy. Another great lesson about choosing technology that fits, rather than is the market leader. It also helps the overall budget too.