ABM (Account Based Marketing) is a B2B (business-to-business) strategy designed to encourage collaboration between corporate marketing and sales teams by focusing them on creating individual client accounts, as a way to boost revenue.
ABM is an evolution from account-based selling that now incorporates marketing. The idea is to no longer have huge, wide funnel, but rather to have a highly targeted funnel with very qualified leads. Competition is much bigger due to the proliferation of B2B technology companies, and there is more noise than ever. Hence, getting back to basics (targeting key customers and retaining them) is the name of the game, and we now couple those principles with technology. But why is ABM important? In short, it's tough to turn leads into customers.
Less than 1 percent of leads turn into revenue-generating customers, so it's no wonder marketers want to shake things up to generate more high-quality leads that drive revenue. B2B marketers understand the limitations of traditional demand generation programs and measurements and instead are rapidly embracing the power of ABM. It is the growth strategy of choice simply because it highlights the outcomes that matter to businesses: increased pipeline and revenue.
Marketers need new tactics. During the past year and a half, marketers have come to realize the limitations of the traditional inbound marketing model. You used to be able to insert keywords in your articles and rank [in Google] for them. But now everyone is utilizing content marketing. And demand generation tactics for generating leads have reached a saturation point. So that means searching for customers using outbound marketing tactics, like ABM, instead of sitting around waiting for people to come to you through inbound marketing efforts.
Marketing personas only go so far. Many organizations fall short by marketing to potential clients based on theoretical personas, or foggy concepts of buyers based demographic data, and then attempting to apply them widely when selling. These personas aren't actionable because they don't go far enough in actually comprehending what that person is worried about, what they desire, and what they expect. Account-based marketing appeals to B2B companies because it enables them to connect individual buyers to what they're already looking for. We can also use internal resources better to determine where to focus time versus were not waste a time. It's not about understanding how the business will utilize your product generally, but the individual use cases within each organization.
New tech makes account-based marketing programs easier to scale. Due to cost and complexity, in the past, ABM was primarily used by huge enterprises to focus marketing and sales resources on a few of their most important accounts. During recent years, marketing technology platforms and tools advanced and proliferated, allowing organizations of all sizes to concentrate ABM efforts on delivering personalized marketing to countless accounts.
Here are 5 Principles to Keep Any ABM Program Focused, Practical, and Profitable:
- Time and attention are your most important assets. Account-based marketing, whether proactive or reactive, is all about identifying your best account-focused opportunities and spending your care and resources on those accounts. This is rigorous, disciplined, informed prioritization, and you (and your sales team) will have to say no as often as yes when an account doesn’t fit the profile closely enough.
- Sales, marketing, and customer success are equal. All three teams must work hand-in-glove to define the characteristics that establish a critical account and value the actions and behavioral factors that can be scored. Marketing’s branding messages are created with input from sales and customer success. Each team must deploy those messages in concert to assure a consistent customer experience across each touch point.
- Use the tools and resources you already have to establish ABM. Most B2B marketers can use ABM – and use it well – by taking advantage of their current knowledge, experience, and technology investments. That’s because ABM is really about repurposing basic B2B marketing fundamentals and techniques to achieve a different objective.
- Use marketing automation to personalize ABM and content strategy. Personalization is the holy grail of ABM tactics; it reflects the laser-focused, carefully targeted approach that can earn the highest possible engagement and conversion rates from target-account decision-makers. Personalization, of course, is also hard – it’s the modern marketing equivalent of sending hand-written letters to a few dozen (or a few hundred) of your very best prospects. This is a key reason ABM was strictly an enterprise play for so long. Fortunately, thanks to the evolution of powerful and cost-effective marketing automation solutions, the benefits of personalization are now available to far more B2B marketers.
- Go for a quick, early win to get traction within (and budget from) the C-suite. ABM was initially created to expand business with existing customers – not to land new ones. That's where ABM shines, and you could begin a program here to prove the concept of ABM. Focusing first on existing customers gives you a good shot at relatively quick and easy gains. Those benefits, in turn, can build the support, the patience, and the funding required for sustained, longer-term ABM programs, and for a targeted technology investment agenda.