Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is becoming a powerful tool that complements traditional sales and marketing strategies. So, what’s all the hype about—and should you take ABM seriously?
What is ABM in Marketing?
ABM Places Focus on the Real Decision Makers
Simply put, ABM drives your marketing team to create content and sales tools based on your most successful accounts. ABM provides statistics that help you focus your message on new buyers in a way that gives them the actionable information they need to make the right decisions. Because your targeting and messaging is built on empirical data, your ability to find and engage with qualified leads increases, as does the quality of your interactions with those leads.
ABM benefits can include:
Effective ABM drives clear results. According to the 2014 ITSMA Account-Based Marketing Survey, ABM delivers the highest ROI of any B2B marketing strategy or tactic.4
Higher Response Rates
A survey from Sirius Decisions shows that ABM produces high response rates and results in substantial online activity and lead generation among buying decision makers:
- Response rates from ABM accounts: 47%5
- Online activity from ABM accounts: 39%5
- Number of new contacts in ABM accounts: 36%5
While it’s difficult to quantify these numbers against traditional marketing strategies, it’s safe to say that the numbers from the Sirius Decisions report are encouraging. A strategy that is proven to produce nearly 50% response rates is worth adding to your portfolio.
Less Waste and Risk
Scalable ABM marketing strategies allow B2B tech marketers to do more with less. Because ABM is highly targeted, it allows marketers to focus their resources more efficiently and run marketing programs that maximize opportunities.
More Personalized Service
Recent industry studies have indicated that 75% of customers prefer personalized offers. ABM encourages you to personalize your message and communications to specific accounts so that your campaigns resonate with your target audiences.
Simplified Goal Tracking and Analytics
By setting clear-cut goals and putting into place user-friendly analytics software to track results, you will be able to focus your resources more efficiently and run marketing programs that are optimized for target accounts.
A Focused Sales and Marketing Strategy
An inadvertent yet positive result of ABM is often the alignment of sales and marketing. A marketing team running an ABM program has a very similar mindset to sales, i.e. thinking in terms of accounts and how to target them, how to bring them to the table and generate revenue from them.
How to Implement an Effective ABM Strategy
1. Focus on Accounts, Not Contacts
ABM flips the traditional funnel strategy upside-down and starts with your most successful, high-value accounts, and builds a strategy around the needs of the stakeholders within these accounts. Engage with your sales team to gather information for each of their most successful high-yield accounts. Then, use a combination of statistical analysis and knowledgeable insight to target the right prospects. Your goal is to target new prospects that are similar to your existing accounts using a known, proven strategy.
2. Create a Conversation, Not a Sales Pitch
When crafting your account-based strategy, create sales tools that foster communication between each stakeholder in the purchase decision. Approaching accounts in a holistic manner to bridge communication gaps between members of the buyer team helps you accomplish two very important goals: showcasing your product’s value across an organization, and presenting your sales team as trusted advisers who understand both the industry and the client.
3. Use Tools to Simplify Your ABM Management
There are many ABM tools on the market for tracking and weighing the success of your efforts. Automation tools such as Engagio, Marketo and others integrate with your current CRM and help you maintain and research your existing accounts. These tools are built specifically for ABM to quantify your current account engagement, identify opportunities for growth and measure the impact of your ABM strategy through real-time analytics. Used properly, ABM tools pay for themselves by taking the painstaking hours out of analyzing accounts and tracking the moving parts and complexity of an ABM strategy.
4. Know What Stays the Same
The ultimate goal of ABM is to target specific new customers using a portfolio of content and tools that the stakeholders within that organization will find useful and compelling. However, there are some aspects of traditional marketing that do not change. You’re still targeting people who have varying degrees of knowledge about your solution, and you need to take into account the point in the conversation where you’re inserting yourself.
You’ll forge a closer relationship with sales, ensuring that your tools and messaging get used to their maximum potential. You can create stronger relationships with customers, becoming not just a solution provider, but a trusted adviser. And you’ll maintain a running set of analytics that will show you exactly where your strategy is working and where it needs help.