Avoiding Common ABM Roadblocks

Implementing and leveraging an account-based marketing (ABM) motion can pay off with a larger, healthier pipeline, increased account engagement and bigger deals, closed more quickly. However, the path to success is fraught with a great number of roadblocks that can absolutely derail even the best-laid plans. 

This post covers four components to overcome the biggest obstacles B2B Sales and Marketing teams face when deploying an ABM strategy. 

Align Sales & Marketing

Account-based marketing is sometimes thought of as a “marketing thing,” and perhaps its name has something to do with that. But, make no mistake, an ABM motion requires a concerted, collaborative effort between the two functions – at a minimum. Depending on how your organization is structured, there might be other functions that need to be involved in developing and driving your ABM strategy.

Your Sales and Marketing teams will need to come together to first establish the goals for your ABM motion, and no, “growth” is not enough. The more specific you can be, the more success you’re likely to achieve. Your goals might include one or more of the following:

    • Introduce a new product, solution or service
    • Increase share in an established market
    • Break into new markets, industry verticals and/or segments
    • Earn business away from a particular competitor
    • Upsell/cross-sell a segment of your existing customer base

Once aligned on goals, your ABM team can then develop its key performance indicators (KPIs) and determine how measurement will be conducted. Be certain to define how the team will collect and measure engagement analytics across all outreach efforts, from both Sales and Marketing, including reach, paid media/advertising, and form/landing page conversions. Additional metrics might include influenced or sourced revenue attribution, as well as pipeline influence, like velocity, conversion and closed/won opportunities. 

For more information on engagement analytics, download the eBook, “Know More: How to Use Engagement Data to Unlock ABM Growth.” 

By having Sales and Marketing aligned from the very beginning, you will ensure you go to market with consistent messaging and efficient lead and contact handoffs internally. Furthermore, you will avoid having any data living in silos, and thereby be best equipped to deliver holistic, comprehensive views of accounts – a necessity for an effective ABM motion. 

Target the right accounts

Selecting the right accounts for your ABM motion is a process that will eventually determine the success of your motion. The single biggest problem identified in ABM after-action reviews is the selection of targeted accounts that either didn’t align with the overarching goals, or that were aspirational accounts where the organization had failed to gain traction previously. 

Ensure your targeted accounts directly map to your ABM goals before leaping into tactical execution and wasting precious GTM resources. Scour your targeted list for suspect accounts, and use your best existing customer accounts to create an ideal customer profile (ICP) for your motion, and a benchmark against which to compare your target accounts. 


Additionally, take care to not select too many targeted accounts. The pressure to grow never ceases, but the last thing you want is to haphazardly push a huge number of targeted accounts into your ABM motion in a desperate attempt to close as many deals as possible. With ABM motions being so resource-intensive, what’s more likely to occur is that you’ll deliver half-baked, half-hearted campaigns and, ultimately, fall far short of your ambitious goals. 

Personalize experiences at every touchpoint

Alongside the development of a targeted list of accounts to pursue, customizable, tailored content is a hallmark of ABM motions. However, with pressure to achieve results and a go to market excitement ratcheted up throughout an aligned team, too often marketers and sellers resort to their previously created generic, mass market content. 

Creating personalized experiences across all channels and touchpoints requires a content strategy pinned to the specific accounts you have targeted. Content should be focused on specific pain points readily recognizable by the persona you’re reaching at a target account, and don’t ever forget that different personas at the same account are likely to have very different pain points. Ensure your content is persona- and account-specific!

While your outreach into an account will involve many individuals, either on the buying committee or influencing the buying committee, you will be delivering messaging in a one-to-one manner. Be certain your messaging addresses pain points with tangible solutions, and conduct A:B tests whenever possible to identify the language, messaging and solution set that engages and resonates most effectively. Once again, engagement metrics are vital to a continuous improvement process. 

For more information on how LeanData’s Engagement solution works within your organization’s instance of Salesforce, download the Engagement Datasheet.

Build a platform for scalability

At its core, ABM is targeted and personalized, and as such, it takes an enormous amount of GTM resources. You want your team focused – you need your team focused – on personalized content messaging, account-specific strategies, and ongoing performance analysis. Your ABM motion will die on the vine, however, if your team is sucked into time-consuming and error-prone activities like manual analyses and the requisite exporting, cleaning, compiling, verifying, importing, reporting and sharing of data.

There’s a better way through technology platforms.


Create an ABM platform that first serves as a foundation for your aligned Sales and Marketing teams to have accessibility and clear, immediate visibility into all lead, contact and account data, as well as all metrics mapped to KPIs. Then, build your stack to support your ability to engage with your prospects the way they want to be engaged with, on their terms, and include capabilities to personalize outreach based on personas, stages in the buying cycle, campaigns and more. 

Explore opportunities to automate repetitive, manual tasks and processes. Your GTM revenue teams add value when they actively market and sell, engaging with leads, contacts and accounts, whereas they add much less value when they spend their precious time preparing and equipping themselves to go to market. 

Spur growth with ABM

Your ABM motion will ultimately succeed when your Sales and Marketing teams buy into a new paradigm of quality of contacts and accounts over quantity of leads. Take care to align your teams, establish common goals and performance metrics, curate the right list of target accounts, approach content from a fresh and personalized perspective, and build the right stack of empowering technologies. 

With that, your ABM motion will be off and running toward success!

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About the Author
Ray Hartjen

Ray Hartjen is an experienced writer for the tech industry and published author. You can connect with Ray on both LinkedIn & Twitter.