Account-based marketing is having its heyday as B2B marketers are jumping at the idea of orchestrating awareness of their most valuable accounts. ABM enables marketers to focus their efforts on accounts with the greatest ROI potential through insightful and personalized marketing programs.
But how do you make sure you’re choosing the right platform for your organization?
To get started, once you’ve determined that ABM software is right for your business, spend some time researching individual vendors and their capabilities by doing the following:
- Make a list of all the ABM capabilities you currently have, the ones you wish you had, and the ones you can’t live without. This last category is essential and will help you avoid making a costly mistake. For example, if it’s important to enrich your KPIs with more in-depth technographic data, be sure to ask about this during vendor interviews and demos. If you find that a provider doesn’t offer this “must-have” feature, then obviously it’s not for you.
- Take your list of abilities, then do some research. Talk to your marketing peers to find out who is using which ABM tool and why.
- Narrow your list to vendors who meet your criteria. Submit your list of ABM capabilities you have identified and set a deadline for their response.
- Decide whether or not you should engage in a formal RFI/RFP process. This is an individual preference, but be sure to give each vendor the same list of features for easy comparison.
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Once you get past these steps, start asking for demos. You want to set up demos within a relatively short time of each other to help make relevant comparisons. Make sure all potential internal users are on the demo call and pay attention to how easy the platform is to use, whether the vendor seems to understand our business and marketing needs and demonstrate your “must have” features “?
To help you further, here is a list of 24 questions you can ask.
- Is the tool easy to use?
- Does the supplier seem to understand our business and our marketing needs?
- Do they show us our “must have” features?
Account targeting and interaction management/orchestration:
- Does the tool help identify target accounts?
- What type of machine learning and/or artificial intelligence does the tool use?
- Can we segment and visualize the accounts according to several criteria?
- Can the tool match existing and new prospects to their correct accounts?
- Can the tool identify anonymous prospects and associate them with their correct accounts?
- Does the tool show where visitors are coming from (channel or campaign)?
- Does the tool track website visitor actions (i.e. clicks and content views)?
- Can the tool track visitor actions across all visits?
- Can we manage cross-channel campaigns (in all our relevant channels) via the tool?
- Does the tool help us comply with applicable privacy regulations?
Reporting and integration:
- Does the tool provide real-time analytics?
- Does the tool provide summary and/or detailed views of account data and information?
- Does the tool measure account engagement? How? ‘Or’ What?
- Are native integrations with our CRM and/or marketing automation platform available, so we can use historical data?
- If not, is an API available for custom system integrations?
Training and customer support:
- How much training will we need to use the software and what type of training is available?
- What level of customer support is offered and when is it available (i.e. 24/7 vs. 8/5)?
- What is the turnaround time for support requests/tickets?
- Are professional services or support available for our transition to ABM?
- What new features are being considered?
- What is the long-term product roadmap and launch dates?