Are you planning for account based marketing? Then it’s likely that one of your first questions will be around budget.

ABM challenges traditional budgeting. It demands you calculate spend at an account level and work out what the likely return will be.

Find the money to start

With ABM rising in popularity, the pressure is on to devote sizable budgets.

In reality, if you have ring-fenced budget to start ABM then you’re one of the lucky few. For most it’s a case of scraping together money from other areas. Once you have solid evidence of success you can build an argument for a bigger budget.

Experience tells us that it’s better to walk before you can run. Piloting ABM with a smaller start-up budget lets you understand what’s working, what’s not, optimize and tweak – then invest more.

Allocating budget to accounts

It can be tempting to take your annual spend and divide that up across your account list. But look first at your accounts and how best to prioritize. Not all accounts are created equal.

You might discover that just five, high-potential accounts warrant 50% of your budget. Some accounts can be eliminated immediately, for example if sales teams are not engaged. And economies of scale can be found by grouping accounts with a shared challenge, sector or proposition theme.

Remember that allocating more budget than you can reap will sabotage your ABM successes. Calculate expenditure based on what the likely return will be.

It can be unnerving to award a few accounts with a hefty serving of your budget. But if this leads to multi-million deal opportunities then you need to hold your nerve. Remember that ABM is about value – not volume.

Have patience
As the classic saying goes: ‘time is money’. And if you know anything about ABM you’ll recognize that it is not a five-minute job.

Your team will have to spend time nurturing relationships with sales, digging deep into customer insight, and creating meaningful content and engagement tactics.

But in many organizations, time is of the essence. Markets evolve quickly, competitors win mindshare and annual sales targets loom.

The trick is to balance your time investment for the long game with shorter-term impact. In fact, over the last 6 months we’ve developed a set of ‘quick start’ activities for this very purpose. These move ABM out of theory and into practice – motivating stakeholders, mobilizing teams and igniting interest in ABM to drive further investment.