The ultimate guide to ABM project management

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Businesses trust their marketing agencies to help them find, engage with, persuade, and close the accounts they need to maintain success and sustainability. 

Instead of the “spaghetti against the wall” approach of gathering as many prospects as possible then narrowing in on the highest-quality ones, it makes sense to proactively target a client's ideal customer and create a personalized marketing strategy. This idea is the premise for account-based marketing (ABM).

Agencies help create, execute, and review ABM campaigns for their clients. Well-managed strategies produce powerful results, making it imperative to manage the project wisely at every stage.

Let’s look at ABM project management, why it’s crucial, and how it benefits from project management processes.

What is account-based marketing (ABM)?

ABM is a focused method of B2B marketing. The ideas driving an ABM strategy are sales and marketing alignment, ideal account targeting, and personalized campaigns. By drilling down to what the targeted audience wants, figuring out how to give it to them, and doling out consistent, highly tailored information, companies can close more business faster than the traditional, sales-funnel marketing approach.

Marketing agencies experienced in ABM can coach their clients on how to implement campaigns that connect with their targeted buyers, build trust, and forge long-term, profitable relationships.

What is ABM project management?

ABM is, in a nutshell, a project that your client embarks on to land more business and create stronger relationships with their key accounts. Just like every other project that team members tackle, it has a beginning, middle, and end, complete with tasks, milestones, and, inevitably, obstacles. 

ABM project management is the process of managing the project (ABM) proactively and thoroughly. There will be planning, assigning accountability, collaboration, hard work, problem-solving, delivering the finished product, and measuring results within the AMB project management process.

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Why project management is crucial for account-based marketing

Project managers, client account managers, and every other project participant should understand how vital a cohesive, transparent project management process is for ABM campaigns.

ABM projects without strong management may be ill-executed, get stuck on the first bottleneck, and cause conflict among team members who aren’t sure of their roles. Regardless of a client's size or location, consistent ABM project management is one of the biggest factors in its success.

7 ABM strategies that benefit from project management processes (and how to implement them)

Planning and executing a marketing campaign is rarely one-dimensional. ABM strategies are specifically challenging, with their many moving parts. Proactively implementing a project management process is a cost-effective plan that will make everyone’s life easier, keep the project on track, and help avoid delays. We’ve identified seven proven strategies for managing ABM project management processes.

1) Identifying and prioritizing target accounts

Creating a high-performing ABM campaign starts with figuring out which accounts will be the center of the operation. Which accounts fit your client’s business the best? What pain points are keeping them up at night that your client could alleviate? Why can your client serve these customers better than the competition?

Project management processes optimize the research needed to identify the most valuable prospects for your client. Project management software that offers file storage can house research and other information about the company (contacts, job titles, preferences, etc.) that serve as a single source of truth for everyone working on the campaign.

2) Creating personalized marketing campaigns

This strategy leans heavily on the previous point, using information gathered about the account to build a compelling, personalized campaign. Who are the players? What are their main pain points? Where are they on the buying journey? Do they have relationships with any competitors? Do you know their pricing? 

Factors like their industries and their work environment are necessary data, too. For example, a campaign customized for an HVAC client would differ vastly from one targeting a healthcare institution.

Project management processes, specifically software platforms, make the ABM planning stage seamless. Lay out projects on Kanban boards to help every stakeholder see them. Tools that allow agencies to add company stakeholders are the most valuable during this stage, as they may offer valuable input.

3) Tracking and measuring the success of campaigns

ABM projects that are executed but never analyzed do little to power up the company’s long-term success. What elements worked? Which ones could have been omitted? Were there any that decreased its success? Who would know if nobody is measuring key performance indicators (KPIs)?

Pouring over a campaign’s analytics is usually the most-dreaded job on the list, even though it’s one of the most vital tasks. The good news is an intuitive project management tool can alleviate spending full-time hours trying to make sense of yards' worth of numbers. Using project management software makes wrangling a campaign’s metrics easy. Easy-to-digest dashboards and access to custom reports help stakeholders gain a granular view of the initiative’s performance.

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4) Synergizing marketing and sales teams

Aligning sales and marketing is required for ABM campaigns to perform well. This strategy is another component that benefits from a well-implemented project management process.

A tool that provides a way for sales and marketing to collaborate, work through problems, check progress, and keep track of their tasks makes it easier for everyone to stay on the same page. This is true whether the team members work on site, in a hybrid role, or are remote. Instead of working against each other (which frequently happens with these two teams), they can present a united front of effort that will bring on accounts faster.

5) Coordinating social media and influencer marketing tasks

An ABM strategy is usually multichannel, which is where it can go wrong and fall apart if there’s not a strong process for managing it. Social media posts across several platforms, paid advertising, and managing paid influencers are tasks that can be managed inside a project management software platform. Pre-planning the posts and managing the influencer within the project platform keeps these tasks aligned with the overall ABM campaign message.

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6) Developing targeted content and messaging

Whoever said “content is king” knew what they were talking about. The message, tone, and information inside the content are the biggest catalysts of the target engaging with a company or chalking the attempt at contact up to junk.

A project management platform eliminates irrelevant content through transparent communication. Gantt charts help plan topics, chat features boost collaboration on the subject material, and easy file sharing promotes quick editing. Creating contacts within a project management platform helps it turn out to be valuable to the contact being targeted.

7) Organizing events and webinars

This strategy is one of the most successful and personalized in the ABM toolbox. When done well, events and webinars can forge bonds and facilitate conversations with the ideal customer.

However, events take extensive planning. Project management software allows project managers to plan every facet of an event or webinar down to the last detail. They also have a birds-eye view of how it’s progressing. Well-planned events usually achieve better results than those that are haphazardly thrown together or inconsistently managed.

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Benefits of effective ABM project management

Agencies should understand the extensive benefits of ABM project management and be able to explain them thoroughly and succinctly to their clients. The top four most lucrative advantages it offers are:

Alignment of marketing and sales teams

Project management may not be on either team’s job description, but it’s a vital aspect of ABM’s success. Getting marketing and sales to agree on objective key results (OKRs) and the most attractive accounts can be difficult, but the effort is worth it. Finite research and data can get them on the same page, which helps the company reap monstrously good rewards.

Increased productivity and efficiency

ABM project management keeps stakeholders focused, allows managers to see the big picture, pinpoints obstacles earlier in the process, and produces rich metrics that explain why the initiative worked or fell short. Agencies can further increase productivity and efficiency by implementing automation tools into the process. When everyone knows what they should be doing when to do it, and how to do it, projects cause less stress, experience fewer delays, and achieve better results.

Stronger customer relationship management

Hit-and-miss messaging and inconsistent storytelling can make the targets feel misled and confused. Staying focused on the client’s targeted accounts provides a way to feed them a steady diet of relevant information they need to make informed decisions. An ABM campaign depends on consistency, or the customer experience will suffer.

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Streamline your ABM project management with Teamwork

Effective ABM campaigns should be handled just like any other high-priority project. Managing the strategy takes a strong project manager, committed teams, and a robust project management software platform. With these resources, agencies can help their clients research, plan, create content, collaborate, execute, and measure their ABM campaigns seamlessly and efficiently.

If your agency is looking for a powerful solution to manage client ABM campaigns productively, Teamwork is your answer. Our platform, designed with agencies in mind, offers planning, managing, and reviewing features that keep teams informed and accountable throughout the process. Sign up today to get started for free!

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