Marketing to high-value accounts is promising but laced with challenges such as information overload, increased buyer expectations, and the difficulty of being heard among a cacophony of competitors. Could account-based marketing be the magic fix? As per the ITSMA report, about 85% of marketers describe Account-Based Marketing (ABM) as delivering higher ROI than any other marketing approach. Let us take you through an extensive guide on Account-Based Marketing for beginners and experts alike.
This blog unfolds more information about Account-Based marketing, as it documents a detailed analysis of ABM. It covers the following section:
What is Account-Based Marketing (ABM)?
With information overload, marketers are constantly fighting for the attention of potential customers. Due to this, organizations that want to reap the highest possible ROI need to focus on high-value accounts. To achieve their objectives, marketers must use strategies that combine the expertise of sales and marketing to locate and engage with high-value accounts.
ABM is a strategic approach to B2B marketing wherein marketing, and sales teams work in cohesion to target best-fit, high-value accounts and turn them into customers. While Account-based marketing is an old concept, it has recently resurged due to the changing business landscape and evolving technology. Implementing an ABM strategy can improve marketing ROI, drive revenue, generate more qualified leads and conversions.
Earlier, it was difficult and expensive for B2B marketers to scale ABM initiatives due to the high level of personalization. But not anymore. Marketers today are implementing the ABM strategy within their team to drive higher value outcomes.
Should You Implement Account-Based Marketing?
One simple reason to pursue account-based marketing is its effectiveness in delivering ROI than any other marketing campaign. But is account-based marketing right for you? While ABM is a buzzing phrase, there is no one-size-fits-all approach.
ABM is a B2B marketing approach that involves enterprise-level sales organizations with over a thousand employees due to multiple stakeholders’ involvement in the sales process. Suppose your organization doesn’t cater to the B2B sector, and your employee count is below a thousand. In that case, you should consider if ABM makes sense for your sales/marketing cycles and overall business model. It may not be viable to tackle marketing to specific accounts if your business is on a shoestring budget, limited time and resources.
But if you are confident enough to pull through and intrigued enough to implement ABM, you absolutely must. Why? Because account-based marketing kicks off the sales process with higher-value opportunities, aligns marketing, sales, and account management for long-term success, and gets the highest ROI possible from marketing campaigns. Once you have your strategy right, returns can be tremendously valuable and well worth the effort invested.
Inherently tech-based, many marketing automation solutions have made ABM more measurable and affordable for businesses of all sizes. A SaaS platform, Terminus, seamlessly brings account-based marketing and automation together.
How to Align Sales & Marketing Around an ABM Strategy?
Getting the marketing and sales teams to work as a cohesive unit is the secret sauce to success. Devoid of that alignment, the key target accounts will somersault through a fragmented experience as sales and marketing trip over each other, rather than paving the way for each other to engage with critical decision-makers effectively.
Therefore, clear communication between marketers and sales representatives on the ultimate goal of the ABM is the key. It helps them be in sync, figure out the high-value target accounts, and execute their respective roles through the buyer’s journey. While the larger goal is to land new accounts or expand business with the existing ones, the smaller goals also need to be defined to be aligned with bigger goals. The goals can include:
- Pinpointing a higher number of decision-makers within each target account;
- Securing more number of senior-level meetings;
- Expediting the sales cycle;
- Reducing churn or encouraging higher customer loyalty ;
- Closing a higher percentage of deals; and
- Boosting revenues within existing accounts.
Components of Account-Based Marketing
At the very core of account-based marketing are 3 components: Targeting, Engagement, and Measurement. Intertwining these components into the foundation of your ABM strategy will set your marketing team up for assured success.
Targeting and managing high-value accounts
Account-based marketing allows you to use technology to target and manage accounts that result in the highest ROI. It helps you centralize account targeting and management. The type of accounts your organization chooses to target can be based upon parameters such as product fit, high yield, strategic importance, quick wins, and competitors.
Engaging Across Channels
Managing several campaigns individually from different platforms can be a challenge. Instead, designing personalized and coordinated campaigns across your marketing channels from a single platform can help deliver comprehensive cross-channel campaigns to the target accounts.
Measuring and Optimizing Programs
You must find a measurable and scalable ABM strategy to demonstrate success. Find a centralized platform that helps you build account dashboards for specific target accounts and provide coherent revenue-based account analytics.
ROI of a Successful Lead Generation Program
ABM drives ROI. According to the Alterra Group, 97% of marketers achieved higher ROI with account-based marketing than other marketing initiatives. Determining highly qualified leads and enabling them to move along the sales funnel at their pace influences the ROI of a successful lead generation program. ABM is superior to other marketing endeavors. 84% of marketers prefer account-based marketing strategies as they outperform other marketing investments. ABM results in higher revenue in companies that have aligned their sales and marketing teams, generating over 208% more revenue.
6 Steps to Effectively Plan, Implement & Optimize ABM Program
Carefully chosen high-value accounts are critical to the success of an ABM program. With targets defined and the marketing and sales team aligned, you can craft and deliver personalized campaigns through the appropriate channels to produce the desired results. Following the enlisted strategic and tactical steps can ensure you start on the right foot with ABM.
Step 1: Discover & Define High-Value Accounts
You are no longer targeting personas or demographics alone. You are targeting specific organizations.
Identify and prioritize high-value accounts with the help of firmographic data and business intelligence. Begin your ABM efforts by considering the industry type, company size, annual revenue, location, revenue potential. Determine other factors such as upsell opportunity, market influence, the likelihood of repeating a purchase, and the potential for higher profit margins for the accounts that yield the highest long-term profit.
Step 2: Map Accounts & Identify Key Stakeholders
Put your investigation goggles on and identify the strategic thinkers and decision-makers of the organization you are pursuing, how the decisions are made, and how your target accounts are structured. Learn the intricacies of these organizations, and strategize how you can influence the strategic thinkers and decision-makers.
An incredible hack to do this is to leverage the networking of your employees who have previously contacted these organizations. You can also employ social networks such as LinkedIn and Facebook.
Step 3: Define Content & Personalized Messaging
For an ABM initiative to be effective, employ valuable content that directly addresses the stakeholders and organization’s business challenges and pain points. Personalize your messaging and demonstrate how you can solve their problem, for your content, both textual and visual, need to speak specifically to them. Your content must engage and communicate the right message to the key stakeholders.
Step 4: Determine Optimal Channels For Your Campaigns
You need to understand where the stakeholders and decision-makers of the organization you are pursuing spend their time. It could be email, mobile, web, social media channels such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram. Your efforts will not yield results if you do not promote the campaigns on the appropriate channels.
Consider the platforms that will prove effective for the specific industries you might be targeting. For instance, LinkedIn and Facebook are powerful platforms to run campaigns and appeal to particular organizations.
Step 5: Execute Targeted ABM Campaigns
Coordinate the campaigns well across channels for maximum impact. Since ABM is so targeted, it is crucial not to overwhelm your prospects by bombarding them with the same messages across multiple channels. Be sure not to hit the same people and remarket the same message now and then. Try to strike the right balance of catching your prospect’s attention without putting them off because nobody likes to be harassed by a salesperson.
Step 6: Measure, Learn & Optimize
Test, measure, and optimize your account-based marketing campaigns to ensure they are effective and continue to improve your results. Analyze individual campaign results and trends at the account level to get a more accurate picture.
If your ABM campaign has been running for over a month, it is time to measure and evaluate the effectiveness of your ABM efforts by asking critical questions such as –
- Are these high-value accounts becoming more engaged with your brand?
- Did the personalized content prove to be engaging? How?
- Are you expanding the existing stakeholders within these organizations?
- Did any of these targeted leads move down the funnel?
- Was any revenue generated from these campaigns?
- What could be improvised going forward?
If the results are not in sync with the goals, don’t be discouraged. Since the results are measurable, it helps you see exactly where you need to evolve and improvise.
The Benefits of Account-Based Marketing
ABM offers many benefits over other marketing approaches for companies trying to close deals with larger accounts and longer sales cycles. They include:
Personalized Marketing Approach
Using what they know about their customers, marketers create personalized messaging for target accounts and tailor the campaign to their specific needs.
Sales and Marketing Alignment
ABM encourages the marketing and sales team to work in sync to identify target accounts, craft customized campaigns, and move individual accounts through the pipeline before and after the conversion.
Shorter Sales Cycles
All major purchase decisions involve multiple stakeholders, which slows down the sales process. But in ABM, the length of the sales cycle is shortened as all prospects are nurtured simultaneously.
Successful Sales Conversations
Using ABM to reach target accounts sets your team for more successful conversations. By the time your sales reps get in touch with your target accounts, buyers are already aware of your brand’s messaging.
Better Customer Experience
ABM is always about the customer.
Buyers are seldom looking for a marketing email or a sales call to kick off their research process. Instead, they seek innovative solutions on their terms and receive information from vendors only when relevant and meaningful.
Most marketers know ABM to yield higher returns. It is precise and measurable and provides the highest ROI of all B2B marketing approaches.
Fewer Wasted Resources
ABM places a lot of premium on time and resources to close sales and frees up resources that would previously have been wasted.
Account-Based Marketing Examples
ABM begins with identifying marketing programs that can be personalized on the most impactful, relevant marketing channels such as events, websites, email. It is a mix of tactics that different companies employ differently, depending upon the particular attributes of an account. Here are some examples of how B2B marketers can develop ABM programs –
An ABM approach to in-person events includes personalized invites to key prospects from target accounts, personalized gifts, special VIP dinners, and personalized follow-up after the event.
Webinar events and follow-up can be customized for specific target accounts, for particular companies with unique webinar content.
Since ABM is more targeted, marketing collaterals and gifts sent through direct mail are popular with higher revenue potential.
Email is a valuable marketing channel for ABM as it involves crafting tailored email messages for each company and individual.
PPC and paid social media ads on LinkedIn and Facebook allow you to reach out to target specific companies and personas.
Tailored website personalization technology and inbound marketing campaigns can create an account-specific experience for target prospects and drive traffic.
Advance Better With Account-Based Marketing
ABM does not have to be overwhelming. Work through the strategies and tactics enlisted above, and your sales and marketing team will be able to identify high-value accounts more efficiently and grow better.