WHAT IS ACCOUNT-BASED MARKETING?
We always talk about the importance of strategy when it comes to marketing. If you are a B2B company and haven’t discussed the potential of Account-Based Marketing (ABM), it might be time for that conversation. ABM is a B2B strategy that focuses your marketing and sales resources on a specifically defined group of target accounts within a given market. The campaigns utilize personalized communications for each account to target specific needs and attributes of that account.
Essentially, you are treating a targeted company like a market of one. An ABM approach is especially useful for organizations that ask you to interact with multiple stakeholders or buyers. You address the needs of your client as a whole by connecting with each of the involved parties within the organization.
Your ABM efforts should complement your inbound marketing efforts, not replace them. While inbound marketing uses excellent content to attract prospective clients in general, ABM focuses on specific, existing accounts or individual prospects. Your inbound marketing leads can supplement your list of target accounts and your general online messaging provides a foundation of helpful, relevant content for everyone.
WHO DOES ABM BENEFIT?
An ABM strategy best serves those companies who seek to secure very specific high-value clients. Historically more expensive to implement, advances in technology have helped reduce the costs of an ABM approach. This strategy also forces your marketing team to work more closely with your sales team and provides both teams with a better understanding of how best to communicate with the target audience.
There is also a benefit for customers. The targeted content and interactions provide a better, overall experience. According to Aberdeen, 75% of customers say they prefer personalized offers. The personalized marketing messages help to speed up the pace of the sales process and realize better close rates. In fact, 84 percent of businesses using ABM say it delivers higher ROI than their other marketing campaigns.
ABM reduces resource waste by allowing marketers to more efficiently run optimized campaigns. The approach makes it easy to draw accurate conclusions when analyzing the effectiveness of your campaigns. In addition, an ABM strategy keeps you focused on your high opportunity, high-value accounts.
KEY STEPS OF ABM
1. Identify Your Target Accounts
Your marketing and sales teams should collaborate to gather firmographic data from both areas. Define strategic factors such as market influence, the potential for repeat purchase, and expected profit margin. Also identify things like industry, company size, location, and annual revenue.
2. Identify Structure and Critical Players
You are, in essence, creating organization-level personas but for the company, not individuals. Use the information you find to determine how you communicate your services or products to your targets.
3. Create Content and Personalized Messaging
Your content and messaging should clearly address the business challenges faced by the target account. Speak to the specific pain points of the organization and how you can help the company meet and overcome its challenges.
4. Determine Ideal Communication Channels
Identify which channels your target account leverages and meet them there. Understanding the most effective channels to utilize and how those key players consume the content you create for them is of utmost importance.
5. Run Your Campaigns
It is also important to coordinate your ABM campaigns across all channels and to align your marketing and sales messaging. The key is to avoid either repetitive or conflicting messages.
6. Analyze and Optimize
Measure not only individual campaigns but also trends at the account level and across all target accounts. Understand the revenue generated from the target accounts, any changes that have occurred in the way those accounts are interacting with your brand, and whether or not there have been changes or growth in the list of individuals within each account.
TYPES OF ABM
ITSMA has identified three ABM approaches. Strategic ABM is typically executed on a one-to-one basis and focused on relationship building. It relies on heavily personalized marketing campaigns that communicate an in-depth understanding of the targeted account. ABM Lite is typically directed at a small group of comparable accounts. The messaging targets common challenges and initiatives. Programmatic ABM basically combines the Strategic and Lite approaches by tailoring marketing campaigns at scale. These approaches are not exclusive and you may find your organization either mixing the approaches or utilizing a single approach depending on the target account.
COMMON BARRIERS TO ABM
There are three main reasons organizations fail to unlock full revenue potential as they implement ABM strategies. First, a lack of accurate shared data will greatly impede your organization’s ABM efforts. Secondly, a failure to agree on target accounts will also be detrimental, thus the importance of your marketing and sales teams working in tandem. And, thirdly, unrealistic expectations will yield nothing but disappointment. Understand that you will experience incremental improvements, not miracles, so set goals with that in mind.
OTHER THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT ABM
1. Incorporates All Decision Makers
A frustrating reality is the number of people required to formally sign off on a decision before you can get things going. ABM involves all parties from the beginning of the conversation. By targeting an account instead of an individual and addressing all decision makers from day one, you can close deals more quickly.
2. Increases Your ROI
A majority of marketers find that ABM initiatives outperform other marketing efforts. An ABM approach ties marketing efforts directly to deals that are closed and the resulting revenue. This allows marketers to not only realize organizational growth but also to show the actual value from their efforts.
3. Increases Contract Value
ABM strategies have demonstrated the ability to increase, significantly, the size of deals by focusing marketing efforts on those customers most likely to find success through your service or product. This also means your organization is more likely to retain those customers, resulting in solid growth without requiring you to invest more resources in client acquisition.
4. More Accessible
Advances in technology have changed what was once a manual, time-consuming process into a more accessible practice. Most any company already using marketing technology can incorporate ABM. You have everything you need to get started using ABM strategies if your organization uses marketing automation and a CRM.
5. Increases Engagement
Generating leads is only the first step. Engaging those leads requires an understanding of your buyer’s needs and wants paired with a marketing strategy that utilizes that knowledge. ABM personalization strategies let you communicate directly to your target accounts with specifically tailored messages, increasing the likelihood of a response and a positive response, at that.
6. Strengthens Retention and Expansion Efforts
Invesp found that it is five times as expensive to acquire a new customer as it is to retain an existing client. 84% of companies state that they believe ABM provides significant benefits for both the retention and expansion of client relationships. It goes without saying that anything that strengthens retention efforts and maintains a reliable stream of revenue is worth the investment.
7. Improves Consistency
B2B customers use, on average, six interaction channels. A consistent experience across all communication channels is essential to provide a positive experience to your targeted account. ABM helps all parts of your team support common purposes and coordinated messaging.
8. Influence of Marketing Automation
Modern marketing automation options allow your organization to create a process, then scale and repeat that process without investing copious amounts of time and effort into the process. You can quickly and easily capture data and use the information to target your accounts. This precise targeting lets you deliver a singular experience to all players in the organization.
ABM strategies proactively get your company’s message in front of all key players within a targeted account. As you work to increase brand awareness, lead generation, and customer retention and expansion let ABM support your efforts. The structured approach to a complex purchase funnel with multiple stakeholders will help them more quickly and efficiently reach a purchase decision together.
The experts at Strategy Driven Marketing have experience working with organizations of all sizes and in all industries. We’d love the opportunity to have a conversation to understand more about your business, your goals, your challenges, and how SDM can help you take your brand to the next level. Contact us to get started!