Account Based Marketing is not a new concept, far from it, it has been the way of doing B2B business for many years. If you want to see how it was done in the past, just look at a company called “Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce” of the Mad Men world.
There are more than a few reasons why ABM is attractive to B2B companies. Companies practicing ABM saw an increase in pipeline velocity and better alignment with sales. They often close bigger deals with targeted accounts.
ABM calls for targeting specific accounts with specifically made-to-order plans. But since ABM requires more personalization than traditional marketing, it was practiced mainly by large organizations. The time it took to research and personalize accounts manually became prohibitive for smaller companies.
But times have changed. Marketing is constantly evolving and to stay competitive you have to keep up with those evolvements. B2B marketers realized the limitation of inbound marketing programs and measurements. Demand generation tactics for generating leads have reach the saturation point. Instead, they are embracing the power of ABM.
Think about traditional marketing as casting a wide fishing net. If you don’t know the terrain, you will most likely come up with 3-4 small fish, not exactly what you hoped for, but it’ll get you through the day. Not only that, some of the fish may be toxic, causing more harm than good. This is not the most efficient way to fish, experts will tell you.
Account based marketing means scouting the pond, looking for the biggest fish, learning its habit, and spear fishing it at the right moment. That requires more time and preparation, but the result is a much bigger fish.
Account-based marketing plays a key role in expanding business within existing customer accounts.
The traditional marketing and sale funnel is like a pyramid standing on its head. It starts from top to bottom with creating awareness, that leads to interest, consideration, and purchase. The ABM pyramid stands on its base and starts with identifying, then expending, engaging and creating advocates as the widest bottom part.
There are three essential components of ABM:
- Targeting prime accounts
- Engaging with target accounts across all channels
- Measuring revenue impact on account
And with advancements in technology, this scouting can be much less painful. Even mid-size B2B companies can begin leveraging ABM to drive new success.
ABM adjusts how businesses see their customers and view accounts as a market of one.
“Traditionally, the magic of your MAP is around cookies and leveraging lead scoring to let you know when the activities of a lead make them worthy of more attention. ABM focuses instead on IP address. By mapping your marketing program to IP address, you can serve up ads that are customized to an account, across multiple platforms. And, all of this can be fine-tuned to be nearly real time if you employ the right marketing tech platform.” Writes Gary Survis in Insight.
Using your database and collecting data on your existing customers is already done by CRMs. Finding the accounts that are the most attractive requires time and analysis. And it requires different departments to work hand in hand to create those opportunities.
“If marketing is putting its energy into a group of accounts that aren’t accounts that Sales wants, that’s waste. And if marketing is generating engagement activity at the account that Sales doesn’t want, that’s waste,” declared Jon Miller, former CMO of Marketo and founder of Engagio, “What happens in that world is then sales reps waste time trying to go after the accounts they want by themselves without the support of marketing. When you agree on the desired accounts and you get everybody aligned on that focus, you’re ultimately just going be more efficient, which usually makes you more effective.”
With a set of filters, you can find information about the companies you did business with throughout the years. That creates an account list of businesses you want to be in business with. That is a shift from traditional marketing that typically think in terms of personas.
You can evaluate your current customers and discover new attributes, leverage predictive analytics, and choose the biggest fish.
Engaging with target accounts across all channels
ABM programs working on the cloud enable you to have different programs working together, which allows access to potential clients through different channels and engaging them through many different ways. Whether it is through email, phones, social media etc. you will be able to create personalized content. Once you have all that information in front of you it is easier to find the right way to connect with clients. Cross-channel marketers need tools to help them listen to the clients behavior, learn by processing all the digital signals for a more in depth understanding, managing, and personalizing the communications.
Measuring revenue impact on accounts
To have your ABM strategy and drive continued success, it’s critical that the ABM solution you choose can help you identify and understand your results from a high level—like by top accounts, all the way down to the less profitable account level.
Account-based marketing is a pretty natural extension of content marketing; the biggest difference is that you’re speaking and selling directly to specific accounts rather than a broader audience.
Why data driven ABM is crucial to growth? Because it works.
A survey by Demand Metric revealed 60 percent of B2B businesses who adopt ABM see significant increases in revenue within the first 12 months. Another, by Altera, reported 97 percent of companies using ABM said it provided higher ROI than other. A recent study by the ABM Leadership Alliance found that “Companies that have implemented ABM have seen a substantial lift in average contract value of 171%.”
Data Driven ABM
But ABM is only good as the data you use. Whether it is internal contacts collected by CRMs – how well it is organized and categorized, or, and this is the most important part of this program – how you get to find other potential clients.
Because ABM can take it one step further and concentrates on those who you haven’t yet contacted, by targeting specific accounts that have a real significance to your business. The ones that are most likely to drive revenue, or aid in other strategic significance. The accounts can be selected based on different parameters like industry, specific technology, revenue size, previous sales performance, and so on.
With business intelligence programs, you can now hold a word-wide business phone book in your hands. You can narrow it down by applying filters until you get to a workable list of businesses. With one click you can learn a lot about that company. What are the latest news, news releases, facts about the company, how does it stand up in the business world, and a list of position holders in the company. With some programs, you get the email or phone number of the people you want to engage.
With all that information at your fingertips, you can apply ABM marketing plan and have the ability not only to introduce yourself to other businesses but tailor an approach to each client separately and more effectively.
There is no greater or more powerful tool for marketing and sales today. That is why ABM is becoming less optional and more important to successful modern B2B organizations.