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Personalization has become one of the hottest techniques in marketing today, and this doesn’t just apply to the B2C community, either. B2B marketers have adopted an even more focused approach for their target audiences with the rise of account-based marketing (ABM).
Many marketers have already seen the wonders of this marketing model and recognize that ABM techniques have helped them achieve higher ROIs versus other broader marketing approaches. The added flavor of customized marketing is also preferable to B2B technology buyers, as they want to feel like they’re being paid attention to vs. receiving the same email sent to a hundred other potential customers.
There’s also the inevitable alignment of your sales and marketing teams as you execute ABM campaigns, which many companies struggle with. Indeed, the benefits make account-based marketing worth implementing.
Businesses already execute ABM approaches in their marketing, but some don’t realize it yet. If you want to strengthen your B2B marketing strategies, then here are the main areas you should look into for an effective ABM strategy that drives highly-profitable conversions.
This is the backbone and arguably the most critical part of your ABM journey. Who are you marketing to? You want to look at several important factors that will help you narrow down and focus on the specific accounts you want to reach.
This step requires the coordination of both your sales and marketing teams. They should be able to align their definitions of what or who your target accounts are. Predictive lead scoring can help your organization find out which accounts have the highest possibility of closing.
To be able to identify your target account, you should look into firmographic and demographic information. These encompass data that will help you classify which companies relevant to your business. They often include:
It’s now time to dig a little deeper. Building your customer relationship management (CRM) database is the next step to making sure you understand your target accounts correctly. Using your final list of target accounts, you can start identifying the key people you want to connect with at a specific company. This may change from time to time, so make sure that you continually update your database.
The bottom line is, you should know how your target accounts are structured.
Answers to these key questions will indicate who your main contacts should be.
You’ve now narrowed down the list of accounts and key people you want to connect with. Your extensive research would have led you to the optimal channels where they can be reached, such as:
…and more. After which, it’s time to plan a course of action.
Attracting these accounts uses a mixture of inbound and outbound marketing methods. An omnichannel approach will increase the chances of your content and offers getting seen by the right people. Use different portals to distribute your content, create visually appealing graphics or guides that can pique their interest, send them a very convincing email, and so on.
Remember, your marketing team isn’t alone on this—sales teams are here to follow up, close deals, and analyze how each interaction performed. Work together to find out the best strategies that work for your company.
Fact: value tailored content. Targeted content supports the customized nature of ABM. Using content marketing principles, you should focus on creating scalable and relevant material. Perhaps you can choose to focus on eBooks or whitepapers that revolve around a pertinent issue in your target account’s industry.
However, you shouldn’t stop there. Go the extra mile with personalization. The more personalized a piece of content is, the higher the chances it will be noticed. Brenda Stoltz of Forbes suggests creating “dynamic, personalized microsites that deliver content that’s of interest to your audience.”
Any marketing campaign should be thoroughly tested, measured, and optimized so you can monitor and adjust your efforts. Focus on the metrics that matter to your business, and don’t just rely on one: document the results of individual campaigns, account level campaigns, and overall performance of your target accounts.
Keep in mind that measurements in the first year of your campaign will serve as your benchmarks, but not all of them will mature at the same time. For instance, you’ll be able to see conversions and engagement rates rising, but revenue might take longer to identify. For this reason, it’s important to check during various milestones of your campaign, such as the launch, first month, quarterly, annually, and until it ends.
If executed properly, your ABM tactics will help your company rise the ranks by gaining new clients and earning more revenue to continue expanding. With this marketing model, you’ll be able to show prospects how much value your service will be to them, increasing your conversions in the process.
Check out our FREE whitepaper to find out more about How to Develop an Account-Based Marketing Strategy.
Account-based marketing (ABM) is starting to gain a lot of traction in the B2B world. According to Information Technology Services Marketing Association, ABM is defined as “treating individual accounts as markets in their own right.” This basically means taking marketing personalization to a whole new level.
Based on a survey by Zoominfo, ABM is very effective when it comes to increasing revenue and predictability, as 96% of the marketers surveyed attributed their marketing success to ABM. However, it’s a relatively new strategy, so it’s vulnerable to more than a few pitfalls.
The only way to reduce the potential risks associated with virtually any strategy is to develop a comprehensive game plan. Effective planning will result in increased buy-in from upper management, effective training and development, acquisition of the right ABM tools, and accurate collection of data.
Below are the different challenges and issues associated with account-based marketing and how planning can reduce the risk of these occurrences:
The results of your ABM strategy might take longer to come to fruition than other marketing strategies. However, you can identify small achievements by measuring your ABM campaign’s performance along the way.
If you’ve just started implementing ABM in your prospecting efforts, you can do a comparative analysis to discover which strategy performs better. This will help you identify strengths and areas for improvement. Measurement should take place at every stage of the ABM process, and measurement systems should be indicated in the marketing plan.
For the most part, marketing and sales teams tend to operate independently. Marketers focus on lead generation, so they care more about quantity, whereas salespeople focus on lead conversion, so they care more about quality.
Make sure that the objectives of each team are directed towards a common goal. If it requires alignment meetings every week to avoid confusion, then make it happen. Plan out your Service-Level Agreement (SLA) between the teams, so collaboration becomes official business.
Based on a survey by SiriusDecisions, 24% faster revenue growth and 27% faster profit growth over a three-year period can be achieved by B2B organizations if they have a unified sales and marketing strategies.
Before starting ABM for your business, know that it involves heavy research on both the sales and marketing sides. Building an ideal target account is crucial, and this is where your next steps most come because ABM relies heavily on the accuracy of these target accounts.
Don’t limit yourself to the surface details. The more information you know (such as the ideal revenue, size, location, and key business challenges), the better you can formulate an effective ABM strategy that fits the core needs of your customer.
When you plan the development of your ideal target account, be sure to gather input from both your sales and marketing teams so you have a more holistic view of your ideal customer from a range of different perspectives.
Keep in mind that there are some things account-based marketing can’t do. For example, it isn’t nearly as scalable as mass marketing because of the research and personalization requirements. If you think too big too soon and roll out ABM to hundreds of accounts at the same time, you’ll end up overwhelming your sales/marketing teams, and losing control over the process.
ABM works best when it’s rolled out slowly and implemented over time. Make your plan and start out with just a few accounts. Once you get used to the process and start seeing positive results, you can begin to extend ABM implementation to the rest of your accounts.
If you’re just beginning with ABM, expect to make a few mistakes here and there. But, you will become more proficient as time goes on. Since the strategy aims for precision, data is an integral factor in the process. Collecting and analyzing data must be an ongoing activity.
Also, you need to show consistency in nurturing your target accounts. Even though they’re only talking to a single contact, the team behind your ABM should ensure consistency across multiple touch points to build a long-term relationship with the target account.
These ABM challenges and issues can all be prevented, or at the very least reduced, by a thorough knowledge of your account-based marketing principles. If you have a comprehensive plan that takes into account the potential challenges you might face, you’ll be able to develop contingencies and even find opportunities to improve various aspects of your ABM process.
To learn more about account-based marketing, check out our whitepaper on How to Develop an Account-Based Marketing Strategy!
Account-based marketing has been generating a lot of buzz over the last few years. And despite the fact that 90% of B2B marketers acknowledge the advantages of ABM, only 20% of companies are actively using this tactic. The wide gap can be attributed to skepticism due to misconceptions about ABM.
Even if ABM proponents and influencers are spreading the good news about it, it’s not that easy for companies to make the switch from mass or segmented marketing to account-based marketing. But let me tell you it’s worth the time, energy, and resources.
Let’s debunk the misconceptions surrounding ABM to help you make the right decision when you’re reassessing your marketing approach.
The concept of account-based marketing has been around since… forever. Think about it, marketing and sales professionals zero in on target organizations that they want to include in their clientele. This has been going on even before marketing went digital.
Many B2B marketers believe that the ABM approach was already being applied in the past, albeit without a systematic process. In fact, the term “account-based marketing” was coined by the Information Technology Services Marketing Association (ITSMA) more than ten years ago.
However, as digital and marketing automation trends continue to catch on, marketers and industry leaders have rebranded and developed the concept into what we now know to be account-based marketing.
Some ABM skeptics say that account-based marketing is purely outbound. However, inbound marketing also plays a significant role in successful ABM campaigns.
Highly personalized content such as eBooks, whitepapers, and even webinars can be extremely valuable in reaching your target account while cultivating a business relationship.
According to the 2016 State of Pipeline Marketing report, 35.4% of B2B marketers claim that their overall marketing strategy is composed of 25% ABM. This means that they’re complementing their traditional marketing strategies with ABM to target more valuable accounts.
While it’s true that ABM focuses on a handful of highly qualified prospects that can potentially generate higher revenue than others, ABM isn’t simply about targeting just a few big accounts.
ABM is scalable to a high volume of accounts while still retaining the promise of a more personalized and individualized approach. This is what makes account-based marketing incredibly effective for B2B marketers.
Account-based marketing can be customized to work with any business size or industry. According to ITSMA, there are three types of ABM that are currently being utilized in today’s marketing landscape namely strategic ABM, ABM lite, and programmatic.
Strategic ABM follows a 1:1 model, where one marketer handles a single account. ABM lite assigns one marketer to a few accounts.
On the other hand, the programmatic type, which is the newest type of ABM, automates the approach to accommodate hundreds of accounts so that marketers can cover more ground.
In account-based marketing, both the sales team and marketing department work closely together to determine their target accounts and achieve the same goals.
ABM is built on a solid account planning to create actionable and sustainable marketing and sales strategies. Alignment of both teams is crucial to the success of account-based marketing.
Companies need to delve a little deeper into how ABM can help grow and maintain their sales funnel. ABM can help businesses eliminate waste and decrease risk by implementing a complete tailored, customer-centric approach.
With ABM, you can better track your revenue and build stronger relationships with prospects. Customer experience is also heightened with an ABM strategy because communications and content becomes more relevant and valuable. So you can delight your existing clients, turning them into promoters and ambassadors of your brand.
Don’t let these misconceptions prevent you from reaping the benefits that account-based marketing can bring to the table. Find out how ABM can benefit your business by contacting PureB2B today!
Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is a strategic method where marketers communicate with a defined set of accounts as markets of one. It’s sometimes called “key account marketing” and is often used by enterprise-level sales teams.
ABM can also cover support for the after-sales customer lifecycle to help improve the overall experience of the customer. ABM allows teams to effectively deliver strategy, planning, goal setting, insights, and sales alignment that are needed to achieve the team’s objectives when it comes to customer growth, loyalty, and retention.
“In its purest form, account-based marketing has been around forever. Account-based marketing is simply instead of fishing with nets, we’re fishing with spears. You identify exactly the prospects you want to do business with and then you market very precisely and narrowly to them directly.” Matt Heinz, President, Heinz Marketing
But, is account-based marketing worth the hassle of implementation? In this article, we’ve listed a few benefits to consider to help you make a more informed decision.
For instance, if a prospect fills out a form on your website, it acts as a trigger for your sales team to start targeting other contacts from that company. This instantaneous trigger ensures that all key stakeholders are always kept up-to-date.
ABM identifies the accounts that can generate the most revenue, which helps fuel the sales funnel with similar accounts. By reviewing the sales feedback, purchase history, and even buyer behavior, teams can better identify valuable types of accounts and focus resources on trying to close them.
According to a survey from Alterra Group, 97 percent of marketers said that ABM resulted in a higher return on investment (ROI) compared to other marketing activities. Considering the fact that ABM targets accounts that are the most likely to generate revenue, increasing is suddenly quite doable with ABM.
ABM’s more targeted approach ensures that fewer resources are wasted. This is especially beneficial to teams with a limited budget like startups or small businesses.
Marketers are well aware of the many stages of the sales funnel. With a more targeted approach, your marketing and sales teams can drop unqualified leads right away to focus on the ones that are more likely to generate the most revenue. This cuts the length of the sales cycle, saving both time and resources.
There is often a disconnect between marketing and sales departments. But ABM seeks to align them so they can work in tandem to deliver results. To make this happen, sales team must provide marketing with useful feedback, and in return, the marketing team needs to provide relevant resources for qualifying prospects.
In an ITSMA study, almost 85 percent of marketing professionals said that ABM provided huge benefits in terms of retaining and expanding their current client relationships. The fact that ABM is so focused on customer accounts means that marketing and sales activities are far more customer-driven.
Despite the obvious benefits, you should also know about the key issues and challenges facing companies using an ABM approach:
For ABM to work, you need to assign a leader who will not just be in charge of connecting teams from sales and marketing, but also acts on the engagement opportunities with customers. Assigning accounts to sales people is not enough. There has to be an appointed leader who’s in charge of rallying the troops.
Sure, ABM can be a key driver to success, but it doesn’t mean you should roll out ABM to hundreds of accounts all at the same time. This will not only end up overwhelming your teams, but the lack of control can also result in major errors and potential losses. It’s best to start small and build momentum over time.
ABM is not a one time, big time deal. Like blogging, you need to commit to consistency. You can’t build relationships overnight; you need time and multiple touchpoints. Once you’ve established a momentum, you need to devote resources to sustaining it.
Like every other campaign, you need metrics to measure the success of your initiatives. For ABM to work, you need to monitor and compare your efforts to calculate its value to the organization. Essentially, you have to develop your own tracking system with your own metrics and goals to benchmark performance.
Account-Based Marketing is definitely worth implementing in almost any circumstance. The proper alignment of sales and marketing teams alone is a good enough reason to try. However, you have to remember that ABM is not an overnight sensation, and a single massive rollout may not bring the best results.
Use of this strategy requires planning and alignment, as well as consistency and time. The key is to start small and to monitor ABM success on your test accounts. Once you’ve determined its value, you can replicate it on a much larger scale.
ABM uses your existing and prospective buyer data to identify sales opportunities. Learn more with our FREE data-driven marketing whitepaper today!