Sophisticated professionals fall into two traps. First, we try to show how smart we are. Second, we fail to recognize our industry jargon.
–Jay Sullivan, Simply Said: Communicating Better at Work and Beyond
Jargon doesn’t make you sound smarter, it makes everyone else numb. Your CEO wants results. Your CFO wants efficiency. ABM can deliver both, but nobody needs a lecture on intent, attribution and tiered campaign structures. (Marketers can be exhausting!) Those things are not real. Sales wants quality leads, but if you tell them you’re going to target fewer high-value accounts to drive efficiency, they’ll show you the door. They have a quota. Fewer leads? No thank you. You have to adopt a “what’s-in-it-for-them” mindset, avoid the rabbit hole of marketing jargon and tell a good story internally.
Here’s a grounded-in-business-reality way to think about ABM: ABM is not a technology. Don’t believe the hype. It’s about the big “A” accounts: Your customers! The value of your content marketing is not the content, it’s the audience. The marketer’s job is to understand how the customer wants to buy, then help them do it.
ABM is about your customers. First you find them, then you help them solve problems, then you earn the right to pitch your product.
Here’s how we recommend speaking to civilians (i.e. non-marketers): We’re going to create a list of our best potential customers. Understand the needs of customers on that list. Address their needs in marketing. As they lean into our new, helpful message, sales and marketing will work together to bring them over the finish line. That’s ABM. The rest is jargon, and a barrier to learning.
Break Principle #1 and people will assume you’re a marketing genius that’s lousy at business.