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Account-based marketing is teamwork between multiple marketing teams and their sales counterparts. Shared goals and handshakes are essential in driving a strategic marketing agenda. Here some tips on how to get to executable plans all can access and trust.
Common starting point
At the start of each year, you need an execution plan. Building on the customer priorities shaping your accounts sales priorities at the front. Combined with the business priorities set by business units coming from behind. Broken down into crucial opportunities and activities. With a varying degree of clarity in customer insights for each business opportunity. These are necessary ingredients, documented yearly plans for affected operating units.
Successful execution requires you to take planning one step further. The alignment of yearly unit plans takes place in one integrated marketing execution plan with a shorter timeframe. In these execution plans, you benefit from breaking down topics into a set of crisp content asset deliverables.
One integrated plan for all marketing teams
A powerful account-based marketing program affects many, if not all, sales supporting marketing units. The account-based marketing responsible/s embedded in account teams. Your content creation team, responsible for curating, creating, and customizing content. Your digital team is driving activation in social channels. The event team is executing digital and face-to-face events. And last, but not least, the PR team driving engagement through third-party communication channels.
Great plans from these participating units are required but not enough — the integrated marketing plan bridge across all contributing teams. The essential handshake happens between both contributing and receiving stakeholders. This plan serves as the golden execution priority. Using a crisp template, all team members can understand.
Build handshakes around crisp content assets
Successful marketing execution requires plans broken down into key deliverables. Building from previous experiences for ingredients needed in a business pursuit, a targeted campaign, or a repositioning program.
Aim for a portfolio of a handful of proven assets for each marketing initiative. Each asset is serving a clear purpose in the customer decision journey.
Handshakes around assets rather than activities increase predictability in outcomes, by reducing risks for significant changes late in the execution cycle. Late changes cost valuable lead-time and waste resources.
Create transparency in execution plans & progress
The execution plan is the guiding star for both content creators and the account-based marketing interfaces in account teams. Bringing clarity on what is committed and in execution. With indications on expected content deliveries and execution status.
Templates for execution plans must be simple to both create before handshakes and for frequent updates progress. Aim for a one-page letter/A4 format with essentials. Expanded to legal or A3 for more significant initiatives
Build execution plans around status reporting focused on understanding progress towards targets. Aim for generic internal milestones; you can apply for a wide variety of asset types — each providing guidance on the likelihood of meeting committed timelines for each asset.
The gradual build of confidence in execution capability
Account-based marketing is a team sport. With a gradual build of the execution capability. Confidence will come from meeting quality expectations and hitting milestones consistently.
Pay great attention to the insights gained in each initiative to evolve templates and execution capabilities. Feedback loops play a crucial role in developing which assets to master for each effort.
Questions to ask yourself and your team
- Which marketing team plans need to part of one integrated marketing plan? – Account-based marketing is a team sport.
- Which template will we use to align execution across all marketing teams? – The best plans are a daily partner. Use a template all parts of the organization can understand and use.
- How do we break down strategic account priorities and activities into content deliverables? Outputs are essentials as and anchor for focus on the flow efficiency for customer value drivers.
- How much can we plan, and how much require a readiness to be responsive? – Set a realistic ambition between planned/reactive work.
- How far out can we create solid execution plans? – Aim for 2-4 months horizons to maintain agility.
- How do we pilot and bulletproof our planning template? – Test, tune, and then trust!
Additional reading suggestions
For further insights consider the following:
- Road map to success: turn your strategy into a stellar editorial content plan [BLOGPOST] – by Content marketing institute
- How to ensure marketing plan execution [BLOGPOST] – by McKee Wallwork
- How to create a marketing plan template you’ll actually use [BLOGPOST] – by LucidChart
- Best practices in marketing planning: align marketing plans with company-wide strategic priorities [BLOGPOST] – by Allocadia