The Essential Mindset Shift for ABE with Scott Rhodes

More than 50% of account-based engagement programs will fail initially. Why is that percentage so high? It’s almost always an alignment issue. Companies are struggling to implement an ABE strategy that – when executed correctly – could give them two to three times cheaper acquisition costs. 

In the recent Demand Gen Summit Keynote presented by Chat Funnels, Dave Elkington spoke with Scott Rhodes (Associate Director at BCG) about moving beyond account-based marketing to account-based engagement. As a consultant, Rhodes assists his clients in helping them solve problems and implement ABE strategies. He offered some invaluable advice about how to be successful in the process. 


Marketing has been thrust into a digital revolution over the years. Companies have been challenged to keep up with the latest technologies. That evolution takes time and is a journey for many organizations. One of the challenges that Rhodes noticed in his clients’ efforts to implement ABM was their idea of putting the onus purely on marketing. ABM is not solely a marketing challenge, nor is it solely a marketing solution. 

What their clients were missing was alignment. Rhodes wanted to look at how to create an alignment in organizations centered around revenue. Through his consulting efforts, Rhodes helped his clients step away from the idea of ABM being a baton hand off led by marketing. Their focus needed to be shifted to the customer journey and experience. Aligning each team in the business around revenue allowed correct execution of ABE and led to greater success.

Communication and Feedback

A company that is aligned creates a space for greater communication and feedback. Communication allows for increased collaboration between teams and deeper understanding of each individual role. Not only does communication help build trust between teams, but it will also help minimize errors and increase productivity. Each team is holding the other accountable for their success. This will create a safe environment for feedback that will drive continuous improvement. All of these skills are essential for ABE to work effectively for a company. 

Start Small

ABE is more of a strategy than a tool. Therefore, it takes time to incorporate and master. Another mistake that many companies make is trying to scale their programs too quickly. They will usually end up implementing too many accounts that they can’t manage, and it’s too late before they’ve realized they bit off more than they could chew. 

Rhodes emphasized the importance of starting off using small, controlled pilots. Starting on a smaller scale will help companies get going by keeping them focused on a few target accounts. They can work on aligning marketing, sales, and service teams. Eventually, they can begin to expand and implement the strategy on a larger scale having gained a greater understanding of what a successful ABE looks like. 

Common and Direct Theme

Lastly, each organization needs to have a common and direct theme. The goal should be focused on increased revenue and the strategy should include each team working in harmony to achieve that. The alignment across marketing, sales, and service will assist in creating a game plan where each team is supporting the other and contributing to overall success.

Rhodes highlighted, “You are only as strong as your weakest link.” That is why alignment, teamwork, and common goals are so important while implementing ABE. The process is one that starts small, but as it grows it will be a driver of increased revenue and company success.

Pete Ketchum

Pete Ketchum

Contributor for Signals with a background in public service, tech, business and marketing.

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