ABM is great, but not for everything

23 April 2019
By: Zoe Hominick
Head of business marketing

B2B marketers are at peak-ABM hype. But they could be setting themselves up for a fall, says O2 head of business marketing Zoe Hominick


ABM is often promised as the most effective way to generate ROI, so it’s easy to see why you would want to apply ABM to as many accounts as possible. But that’s the wrong approach. ABM is about investing your budget where it will generate the biggest return – and that means, counterintuitively, you can’t apply it to every account or your ROI will suffer.

 Running ABM at O2, being tough on account selection is critically important. We started in 2015 with one account. That pilot delivered ROI of 1000:1. As you can imagine, we had a lot of salespeople who wanted their accounts opted into the ABM programme. The reason we were so successful was because we made sure everything about the approach was right: the stakeholder buy-in, the tailored value proposition, the research, even the timings of the communications (for us and the customer). If we wanted to replicate the same results at scale, we needed to stick to our guns.

 Four years later, we’re still applying the same rigorous selection criteria. We go through an in-depth workshop process with salespeople to ensure we don’t compromise on accounts that simply aren’t ready for it. ‘Unripe’ accounts are benched to revisit in the future. This approach has created our most successful ROI for a B2B marketing programme. I’ll be speaking about this and other realistic, actionable advice on how to run a large ABM programme at B2B Ignite in July.

The only way to build sustained commercial results from ABM is to do it practically, and not get carried away with the hype.

What to hear more from Zoe in the flesh? Then don’t miss Ignite 2019 where she will be sharing O2’s ABM journey, how they achieved some incredible results and the hurdles she faced on the way.