What Is Account Based Marketing And Why You Should Invest in It
Traditionally, marketers have always cast wide nets targeted at an entire market in the hopes of pulling in as many leads as possible. They run blanket campaigns with generalized content on multiple channels. That’s exactly the reason you need to know what is ABM.
If you are a marketer making use of such an approach, you would know that this results in you generating a ton of low-quality leads that will never convert and a few good leads. This means a large chunk of your marketing resources and efforts are going to waste.
But then what’s an alternative?
What Is ABM?
ABM or Account-Based Marketing, on the other hand, is an extremely focused business strategy that aligns and concentrates sales and marketing efforts only on those particular companies and contacts that have a higher probability of purchasing its products or services. In fact, 87% of marketers measuring ROI say that ABM outperforms other marketing investments. (ITSMA)
Campaigns are personalized and dedicated to a particular account as opposed to the industry as a whole.
So traditionally, marketers would find a target account that’s a good fit for them to do business with, at the very end of their marketing efforts.
But with ABM, you begin by identifying a high-value account. Consequently, you proactively pursue them.
According to Bev Burgess, Senior VP at ITSMA (Information Technology Services Marketing Association) and ABM pioneer, this model is revolutionizing marketing and delivering great results by its focus on three different things –
ABM improves the reputation a company has with its customer. What is marketing? Building shareholder values by building strong brands, so we can charge more than the competitor for the same thing year after year among customers who love us.
ABM can help you build relationships and keep relationships ‘warm’. Think about selling a company, the relationships the company has make an enormous impact on the price that the company is valued at.
ABM increases revenue and also opens doors to long-term revenue opportunities from a single company.
Who Benefits Most From ABM?
ABM primarily benefits B2B companies and organizations that are focused on enterprise sales.
ABM requires account-level personalization and therefore, costs more to implement. However, it ensures clarity on your return of investment and prevents you from spending time or resources on projects with no clear business value.
In the words of Joe Chernov, VP of Marketing at InsightSquared, “ABM aspires to be ‘zero waste’ marketing. It’s a model that targets only the companies and contacts that are likely to buy your product and that sales are looking to close”.
Advantages of ABM
1. Highly Personalized, Builds Relationships.
Marketing campaigns that cater to a large audience cannot ensure that each member of the audience feels like their individual needs are met. On the other hand, ABM allows you to personalize your content and efforts to a small group of people. This also helps build a relationship with the client from the very beginning.
2. Shortens Sales Cycles & Eliminates Waste of Marketing Efforts.
ABM ensures there is a focus on the right prospects. This helps prevent sales teams from spending a majority of their time grooming leads from the initial outreach that may or may not convert. They can thus use that time on an account that most likely will, thereby shortening the time between the initial pitch and the closing.
3. Clear, Higher ROI & Ease of Measuring Campaign Effectiveness.
ABM ensures you know exactly where your marketing funds are going, and what you stand to gain at the end of the campaign. You’re not gambling and investing in a campaign and hoping for the best. A 2014 ITSMA survey by Julie Schwartz showed that nearly all B2B solution providers that measure account-based marketing (ABM) ROI find that ABM delivers higher ROI than other marketing initiatives.”
Analyzing your campaign’s effectiveness is easier because you’re only focusing on a small set of target accounts as opposed to a large set of metrics.
4. Alignment of Sales and Marketing.
ABM naturally helps align Sales and Marketing teams. That’s because when a marketer is running an ABM campaign, they’re thinking with a Sales mindset – accounts, methods to build a relationship with an influencer/decision-maker, and generating revenue.
The Key Steps of Any ABM Process
1. Discover and Identify Your Target Accounts
Who is your ideal client? What industry? What size are the companies? Which tools do they use? What do they spend on? Who are the decision-makers and influencers?
Research is KEY. This also requires a collaborative effort between Marketing and Sales to arrive at your ideal clients and organizational level personas.
2. Engage Your Targets With Personalized Campaigns And Content
The reality is, the clients probably don’t care about your company as much as you’d like them to. But they want things that can add value to their own, address pain points or solve a problem they’re facing. Your content here is your bait and how you promote your content is key. You have to truly engage your leads through the right channels. At Outgrow we use a mix of well-researched quality blogs, interactive quizzes, and calculators to do the same.
3. Educational Content
Your company’s marketing content (informative blogs, webinars, infographics) can play an important role in garnering interest from the accounts you are targeting.
Two ways to do this is –
– By addressing their pain points in your content.
– By recognizing your target account in your content. When you share or write about ideas they have established expertise in and recognize the same, it opens up doors to discussions.
Here is an example –
Say you’re targeting a Social Commerce company X to do business with your SaaS company Y, you could write about Social Commerce, mention in it how X is revolutionizing the social commerce space and how your product can benefit the companies in the same space.
Not only does the X feel recognized, but they also know about what exactly you do and how you can contribute. In the best case scenario, they engage with your content and give you the opportunity to start a discussion!
4. Event Marketing
Getting face-to-face with decision-makers of your target accounts speeds up your sales cycle. Roadshows, Networking Events, and plugging into Industry Conferences with booths/stalls could be great ways to do this.
According to Melissa Macatuno, Marketing Manager, DiscoverOrg as mentioned on Bizzabo, “With ABM, event marketers can now invite the right people with decision-making power and attract them with topics and speakers that resonate.”
According to a 2016 report by EventMarketer as published on Bizzabo, 80% of attendees said that live demonstrations and free samples significantly help define their purchasing decision and 98% of users feel more inclined to purchase after attending an activation.
5. Social Media
Not only does social media provide information on our target accounts & companies, but it’s also a great platform to interact and engage with decision-makers and influencers of the same.
Social media interactions can set the stage for a more personalized engagement later in the sales cycle. Platforms like LinkedIn provide the option to send in a Direct Message, and share, like & comment on your connections’ posts. Make use of these features! Share your clients’ informative posts, leave insightful and positive comments that spark a discussion, send in a Like. Not only does it make the client feel good, but it also makes them warm up to conversation which you can eventually begin via Messages!
You could also make use of social media for ABM by getting targeted content in front of your key accounts. You can do this by running micro-targeted ads on either LinkedIn or Facebook. These ads can be lead to landing pages that are personalized for those particular accounts.
6. Measure Results
It is important to ensure your measure and optimize the results of your ABM campaign thoroughly by asking the right questions.
Have you successfully increased the number of decision-makers/influencers at your target company? How much revenue were you able to generate? What content or which aspects of your campaign are working better?
So if you’re a B2B organization still following the traditional approach to marketing, it might be time to upgrade to an ABM approach and increase your ROI!
What are your thoughts on the same? Let us know! 🙂
About The Author:
Karthika Anand is a marketing enthusiast. When she is not found writing or producing video content, she is most likely to be found at the gym.
Antara Agarwal is a full time marketing consultant at Outgrow. She can be found packing her bags for her next trip, often to the mountains. And in one of those bags you will always find a half finished book she’s been struggling with for months.