3 Steps to Setting B2B ABM Objectives

As with any marketing initiative, the first step in building your ABM plan is to set objectives that will enable you to gain backing and ensure you deliver measurable success.

Plan how to engage each of your stakeholders in these objectives – in particular, the sales team. Make sure your marketing objectives align with your business ones. The objectives of your ABM programme are likely to be multiple.

They may depend on the target account’s position in the customer journey. For example, some of your ABM activity may be directed at creating new pipeline, while other efforts may be designed to help move existing leads over the line, up-sell or cross-sell existing client accounts.

Three considerations when developing ABM objectives

  1. Link objectives: Make the link between business, marketing and ABM objectives explicit. They should not be standalone but all build towards the development of an effective plan.
  2. Align with teams and a B2B copywriter beyond marketing: Every successful ABM programme works across sales and marketing functions and, in some organisations, the customer team should also be involved. Work with relevant teams beyond marketing to map out what you each need to achieve – both independently and together. Make sure any objectives related to ABM are identical or, at least, complementary. If your organisation is new to ABM, during these initial objective-setting meetings, you may need to champion a move from lead-based demand generation to account-based insight.
  3. Set timelines: To create momentum and be pragmatic, your timelines for achieving objectives need to be achievable. Set them based on your previous experience within the organisation and what is required in order to achieve success.

Examples of ABM Objectives

  • Deliver X number of new business face-to-face meetings
  • Deliver X number of account management face-to-face meetings per account manager
  • Deliver X number of pitches
  • Deliver X number of product trials
  • Convert X number of trials to sales
  • Deliver X number of proposals
  • Deliver X value of new pipeline
  • Convert X% of existing pipeline
  • Deliver X value of up-sell/cross-sell revenue
  • Increase average order value by X%
  • Increase average revenue per customer to X
  • Reduce enterprise client attrition rate by X%.

Creating an ABM Team

Making ABM work in your business may require a restructure of your marketing team. Existing roles may need to be re-purposed to incorporate ABM activities and new recruits may also be required. You may want to create a flat team structure for your ABM, or a hierarchical one.

Once you’ve worked through this guide you’ll be clear about the level of resource needed to achieve the desired results. At this stage, focus on auditing your current structure: the people in your marketing team and the potential roles they could play in delivering your ABM plan.

Team skills

The majority of your skill requirements will be specific to your company, products and market. However, ABM does necessitate some specific attributes. These include:

  • Content marketing – planning and delivery with a B2B copywriter
  • Social media marketing – earned and paid
  • Social listening
  • Social selling
  • Personal branding.

Additionally, you’ll be calling on your team to provide creative solutions for achieving cut-through with your target accounts, so look for members who are: Creative thinkers & Creative visualisers.

The skills radar map

This map, originally used in sport to chart players’ strengths and weaknesses, is a useful way to assess key skills gaps in your team. It allows you to map the skills of individual team members against what they could and should be, thus emphasising where further development (or recruitment) should take place.

The employee is then given a numerical score (with 0 sitting at the very centre and the highest score – say, 10 – on the edge). The bigger the overall shape created through the scores, the more skilled the marketer.

Team capacity

In addition to the structure and skillset of your team, there’s a bottom line that needs to be indentified: capacity. Do you have enough bandwidth in your existing marketing team to deliver your ABM plan?

What’s the team’s available and spare capacity? Which objectives and activities could be shelved in order to free up space? Should additional workload be recruited or outsourced? Define capacity before you go ahead with building your tactical plan.