In military operations, just like in marketing or sales operations, a force multiplier refers to a factor that dramatically increases (hence “multiplies”) the effectiveness of an item or group.  For example, if key intel or certain technology like GPS enables a force to accomplish the same results of a force five times as large but without GPS, then the multiplier is five.

The same applies to data in an ABM campaign.  Just like a general would never go to war with subpar intel, a smart ABM marketer would never consider launching an ABM strategy with subpar data. Successful ABM marketers deploying “data as a strategy”, routinely enable sales to be multitudes more effective than when data is not properly invested in.

However, now that ABM has become mainstream for many B2B marketers, we are beginning to hear more examples of why the strategy stalled.  The most common reason… a lack of quality, actionable data.

With an ABM strategy, you’re playing the long game to win the war vs a few quick wins.  So when you factor in data points that have a limited shelf life, it’s critical to look at data as an ongoing strategy vs a component of ABM.  

Why exactly is data the most important part of an ABM strategy?

Think about all the budget and resources that go into a well thought out strategy:

Time spent:

  • Gaining interdepartmental and executive support
  • Performing a data audit and gap analysis on existing data
  • Conducting a TAM analysis, selecting and tiering targeted accounts
  • Agreeing on tiered ABM plans, campaigns, workflows, playbooks and goals
  • Implementing engagement scoring, and measurement of account penetration success metrics
  • Training stakeholders, choosing and educating supporting vendors
  • Researching target accounts and contacts to ID the compelling angles needed for response
  • Jumpstarting the ABM strategy if your internal ABM champions leave

Budget spent:

  • Producing tiered assets (direct mail, tailored scripts, events etc.)
  • Onboarding any new martech or sales-tech tools supporting your ABM strategy
  • Enriching accounts with firmographic, technographic, persona, intent and engagement data

What is the smart way to scale “actionable” data?

With such an intense investment in a successful ABM strategy, marketing and sales operations teams are now seeing the value in investing in quality data – and from multiple data sources.    

There are many bulk subscription providers offering firmographic, technographic, intent and engagement data.  But when the truly actionable data is missing, dated, or wrong from those data subscriptions, too many ABM marketers simply accept that intel gap and still launch their ABM strategy expecting success.  This is a risky plan.

Some have enlisted the help of the sales team to secure the actionable data.  This is a costly ask, and not scalable. Others have attempted to use freelance or outsourced services like UpWork or Mechanical Turk which often produces spotty results and is difficult to manage.

Accomplished ABM practitioners who have successfully secured executive support and a long-term commitment to ABM, are augmenting their subscriptions with consultative partners capable of delivering a steady flow of precise and actionable data.  

How do I cost justify the force multiplier?

ABM as a strategy is clearly paying dividends for those who do it right.  And for those who do it right, view “data as a strategy” as the key to success.  

By delivering a steady flow and measuring the effectiveness of fresh, quality data:

  • Marketing and sales teams become more aligned
  • Upsells, cross-sells, and overall customer LTV increases
  • Sales cycles and close rates accelerate
  • Contract values and retention rates increase

Here’s what some other thought leaders revealed:

According to FlipMyFunnel, companies using ABM generate 200% more revenue for their marketing efforts compared to those that don’t.

According to TOPO research, the Average Contract Value (ACV) for companies post-ABM was 171% larger than the pre-ABM ACV ($195,294 vs. $71,941).

The SiriusDecisions Command Center™ reported that 91% of respondents say that deal size is larger for ABM accounts and 1 in 4 say it is over 50% larger.

In a report developed by ITSMA and the ABM Leadership Alliance, 45% of firms polled reported achieving more than double the ROI on their ABM investment.

With so many benefits, it becomes much easier to ROI justify the investment in the actionable data needed to ensure your ABM success.   Even if the data you need cost two, three or even five times as much as the data you don’t need, it’s a smart investment in light of the other investments you’ve made in your ABM strategy.   

Whether in combat or marketing, actionable intel is a force multiplier that must be invested in, methodically gathered, precise, and delivered on time.  Don’t send your sales troops into battle with poor intel. You’ll sink their morale, and risk losing not just the battle for accounts, but potentially the ABM war you are waging against the competition.