The Seven Worst ABM Mistakes

Some of our biggest mistakes can teach us some of our biggest lessons. This is as true in business as it is in life.

After working with hundreds of customers and talking to thousands of salespeople and marketers, my colleagues and I saw almost every invoice-based marketing mistake that can be made.

In this article, I will share some of the most common and costly mistakes marketers make when implementing and managing ABM. I will also tell you how to avoid these mistakes.

Mistake #1: Think about using ABM technology means making ABM

We often see companies buying ABM technology and thinking about doing ABM simply because they have the technology. They often buy because someone up there barked: “Go, ABM!”

ABM is a strategy. Tools and technology help you with that.

First, determine if ABM is the right basic strategy for your business. Next, determine what ABM means to your organization. So, first, look at the technique. To do the opposite, place the cart in front of the horse.

Also, not all ABM techniques are created in the same way. There is a lot of ABM technology available and it can be confusing. This article provides ideas on where to invest first.

Mistake #2: Run ABM ads and think that means ABM

Ad delivery can be part of your overall ABM strategy, but advertising alone is not a strategy.

If you follow ABM’s three-pronged approach, as many organizations do, ABM advertising would be a good third-tier tactic for maintaining “air coverage” in your target accounts.

Here, the goal is to create awareness among a larger group of people. The reason the ads are attractive is that they allow you to increase your ABM efforts. Ultimately, advertising remains a programmatic way of getting a message across to many people at the same time. And, as we all know, ads are not perfect (think about bots, ad blockers, and viewer fatigue).

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t say ABM ads. I say that if you are promoting ABM, you must be part of an organized campaign.

Mistake #3: Use only ABM to buy new logos and do not sell them to your existing customers

“Acquiring a new customer is five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing customer.” (HBR, 2014.)

When you look at real companies, most of the revenue comes from existing customers. Many of us have come from the generation of traditional demand and we are used to following new logos and acquiring these new names. But that is no longer the only purpose; we must also be aware of the possibilities after the sale.

Mistake #4: Replacement of demand generation by ABM

It is no secret that ABM offers results. Year after year, study after study, companies prove that ABM offers better ROI than any other strategy. It is normal to take action and start doing ABM as well.

However, the problem arises when strategies for generating ABM demand are abandoned altogether.

It is not even a choice. In fact, you must do ABM and request the generation of complaints. If you are one of the few to sell only to Fortune 100 companies, you are the exception. In that case, likely, you are already doing ABM. Otherwise, the rest of us can benefit greatly from the targeted marketing strategies that go into these accounts, as well as broad-entry marketing strategies to provide broad coverage in the air.

Mistake #5: Getting Rid of MQLs and Replacing Them with MQAs

In the past decade, marketers have been trained to seek qualified marketing guidelines (MQL) as if their lives depend on them. However, by focusing on accounts, many analysts, influencers, and opinion leaders have placed a new benchmark on the proverbial pedestal: Qualified marketing accounts (MQAs).

Now, as if to attract the siren song, Odysseus and his fleet of traders have left the MQL to pursue the MQAs.

All marketers who value themselves know how to monitor their own performance. However, a problem arises when marketers stop paying attention to MQLs and only monitor MQAs. As I mentioned before, you need ABM and the gene issue; therefore, it is necessary to measure MQL and MQA.

Save the funnel where you have spent countless hours and lost more sleep than you would like to admit. The trick is to add it to the account funnel.

Mistake # 6: lack of alignment between sales and marketing

In fact, marketing exists to support sales. And there is no sale without marketing. Your entire ABM strategy depends not only on alignment but also on coordination and action.

Account-based marketing is a little inappropriate. Although ‘marketing’ is in the name, its success depends on sales, marketing, and all players in the industry. If you want to close bigger deals, if you have more complicated sales cycles, if you really want to move forward, everyone has to be involved. This is your sales team, SDR, BDR. This is the success of your client, the account manager.

Everyone needs to be on the same page, searching for the same data at the account level and coordinating interactions to close larger transactions.

Mistake # 7: I find it very tiring to use ABM

ABM can seem daunting, of course. With all the new technologies, tactics, and processes this is a lot!

Keeping up with mature ABM organizations for years is indeed a difficult task, but that does not mean that you can start small now and win quickly and easily.

Start creating your primary campaign, target your audience, refine your message to address them more directly, determine your most effective channel for getting the message across, and get started! You do ABM. No additional tools are needed.


You may suffer defeat on your ABM journey, but you must not be defeated. Fortunately, this article provided some information on how to avoid the most expensive mistakes in ABM.

But when you face challenges, be sure to succeed with ABM. You can overcome them.