Change management, when starting account-based marketing (ABM) in your organization, is not just about adopting a different set of strategies. It’s about developing a whole new mindset for your employees, assigning roles and responsibilities, initiating a training program, monitoring change, and managing resistance. So if you had assumed that the change management process is actually easy, you need to reassess your approach.
75 per cent of the organizational change efforts do not yield results as per expectations. One of the reasons is that the change-makers are so engrossed in changing the old rather than building the new. They are more comfortable with managing crises instead of pioneering new initiatives. If you are adamant about introducing ABM in your organization, you must put in organized efforts.
On average, it takes around 66 days to build a habit. Some of you may need around 18 days and some may need around 254 days to build it. But one aspect is common amongst everyone – a chance. You have to determine your goal, develop a roadmap, implement decisions, ensure persistence, and analyze performance for successful adaption to the change.
And this is exactly what you are supposed to do when switching over to ABM from traditional demand generation strategies. Check out the procedure you should follow in order to commission a successful change in your organization.
Gather & Evaluate Customer Insights
ABM is a lot different from traditional demand generation strategies like inbound marketing. While you target a large set of audiences in the latter, ABM is about targeting specific accounts, narrowed down after careful analysis. You have to create personalized & relevant content for the key decision-makers in the company. The change comes in the way you identify, collect, and evaluate data related to the target accounts.
You have to understand their requirements so that you can align your strategy with their agenda. In the process, you will develop relationships, gain access to valuable internal insights, increase awareness, and ultimately position yourself for the perfect pitch. As you can see, your approach changes completely when you switch over to ABM. Moreover, sales and marketing wings need to collaborate effectively to produce the desired results.
Create Awareness amongst Employees & Team Members
Change is a process that takes place over a period of time. You cannot expect an overnight change. So if you plan to surprise your employees with the change at the last moment, you will face resistance, hampering the process of change. The key is to create awareness amongst your employees and team members right from the moment you have the notion of bringing a change.
In fact, you should perform a preliminary analysis wherein, you will consult employees and ask for their opinions about the forthcoming change. This will assist you in determining employee willingness to change, developing training programs, creating change management strategies, and so on. After all, the employees are the ones executing ABM marketing strategies. Therefore, you should consult them before beginning the change process.
Create a Seamless Communication Framework
Have you played Chinese Whispers, also known as Telephone in the USA? You whisper a message to the ear of a participant and wait for the exact message to come back to you. On the contrary, what you hear is completely different! Miscommunication is acceptable until it is confined to Chinese Whispers. In your organization, there is no room for Chinese Whispers. You must have a foolproof communication framework.
When switching over to ABM, you need to ensure that communication is seamless. With the change, you will have a new vision. Communicate the vision to your employees and motivate them to achieve it within the timeframe. Setting up milestones is highly recommendable and to accomplish these, you should have a communication strategy in place. Identifying communication channels, setting up roles & responsibilities, and specifying accountability are some of the measures that you must take when pioneering the change.
Integrate & Deploy the Right Tools & Technology
Software and technology have influence over each and everything, and ABM is no different. Since your targeting and engagement strategies change when you adopt ABM, you need the right tools that can assist you to accomplish tasks in the most efficient manner.
For example, for target account acquisition, use Datanyze; for connecting with the target accounts, you can use Terminus. Similarly, there are tools for content marketing, prospect engagement, and so on.
It doesn’t end with integrating ABM tools and technology. You must ensure that your employees are comfortable using these. For this purpose, arrange training programs and set up a knowledge base. Moreover, schedule regular meetups to discuss technology and its use in ABM campaigns.
Keep an Eye on the Metrics
There is a reason why you are switching over to ABM – because you need to maximize revenue. But how do you know if you are on the right track? Here comes the need to measure results and various other parameters. You have to analyze and report metrics to prove whether the change is successful or not.
If successful, you should expand further and scale your ABM efforts. If not, you must roll back, identify the loopholes, take corrective measures, and align your marketing efforts with the customer’s agenda.
You can’t rely on previous metric parameters to gauge the success of ABM campaigns. The new parameters comprise account engagements, employee performance, company growth, sales & revenue, and a lot of others.
Celebrate Success to Boost Morale
Your team needs the motivation to keep the momentum going. How do you motivate your employees? Appreciate their efforts and celebrate their achievements, no matter how small or big. You can simply pat their back in front of everyone or arrange a small get-together during lunch. It is important to let them know that they are responding well to the change and should keep up the good work.
When you have a long-term vision, you don’t need to wait for the big moment to arrive. The completion of each phase, or milestone, of a project, should be celebrated. This will further encourage employees to learn new things and get familiar with the change.
Meet & Consult Regularly
Accept the fact that change is a process, a journey with multiple stopovers and detours. In the change management process, you will face threats and discover opportunities. As a leader, you are responsible to facilitate the complete process. Schedule meetings with your teams, consult analysts, communicate with key decision-makers, and determine the future course of action for the best results.
Keep in mind that ABM is a collaboration between sales and marketing wings. You have to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Thus, it is important to arrange meetings and keep everyone in the loop. This will facilitate the attainment of short-term goals, ultimately aiding in fulfilling your vision.
Are you ready for the change?
When you accept the fact that change is necessary, you leave no stone unturned to make things happen. However, keep in mind that initiating and adapting to change takes time. Be steady and proceed step-by-step until you are accustomed to the ways. Eliminate blocks, assist your employees, and keep the morale high. Gradually, the change will transform into an institutionalized approach, making ABM a core aspect of marketing operations.