Mistakes and Pitfalls of Account-Based Marketing (ABM)

May 5, 2023 |

Mistakes and Pitfalls of Account-Based Marketing (ABM)

Account-based marketing (ABM) has gained significant traction in recent years as a strategy for achieving success in B2B sales. However, many early adopters have found that their ambitious goals for ABM have not been fully realized. To help businesses better achieve ABM success, we’ve listed the most common pitfalls and mistakes that organizations make in their ABM efforts.

  1. Measuring the wrong thing:

ABM success cannot be measured by the same metrics that are used in inbound, funnel-based demand generation. The key performance indicators (KPIs) for ABM will vary depending on the stage of the campaign. For example, in the early stages of an ABM campaign, success should be measured by account-based awareness and account engagement, while later stages should be measured by sales-qualified accounts, meetings, or pipeline.

  1. Thinking that ABM is a short-term initiative:

One of the most common misconceptions about ABM is that it is a quick fix for sales. However, ABM is best suited for companies selling complex solutions to buying committees at large enterprises, and these are not impulse purchases. ABM can be a highly effective way to navigate a long, complex sales cycle, but marketers who think that an ABM program can convert cold names to pipeline opportunities in a few short weeks will be disappointed. ABM should be viewed as a strategy, not a campaign.

  1. Lack of personalization:

ABM is a one-to-one approach rather than a one-to-many approach, and personalization is crucial to maximize relevance and engagement with a particular account, buying group, or individual decision-maker. Personalization should be reflected in messaging, content, and creative.

  1. Failing to involve sales:

ABM is not solely a marketing initiative, and without the buy-in, advice, and active involvement of sales and sales management, the performance of any ABM initiative will be greatly compromised. Sales should be involved in planning and engagement from the beginning.

  1. Short-changing message, offer, and creative:

B2B marketing is increasingly technology-driven, but technology without the right message, offer, and creative will not generate the desired results. ABM technologies can lend efficiency, accountability, and scalability to the process, but they are only one part of the total investment.

  1. Not having the right technology:

While technology is not the only essential part of the ABM puzzle, it is still necessary for success. ABM can be executed effectively without technology, but the lack of appropriate technology or forcing legacy systems to do things they aren’t built for can jeopardize success.

  1. Attempting ABM on the cheap:

ABM is an investment, and shortcuts in planning, content, and other processes and resources will have a proportionate effect on results.

  1. Not knowing your audience:

Personalization relies first on understanding your audience, defining an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), defining key personas within the buying committees at your target accounts, and doing the research it takes to develop and document these profiles. Without a clear understanding of your audience, personalization will not be effective.


achieving success with ABM requires a clear understanding of the strategy and the potential pitfalls and mistakes to avoid. Businesses should be aware that ABM is not a short-term initiative, and that success requires a combination of the right message, offer, creative, technology, and audience understanding. Additionally, it is crucial to involve sales and sales management in the planning and engagement process from the beginning.

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