It seems like a lot of talk about Account Based Marketing, or ABM, has been going on lately. Some have already embraced the strategy while others still aren’t quite sure what to make of it.
First off, exactly what is ABM? Contrary to a more traditional model where you form a general message and try to get it in front of as many people as possible with the hopes of a portion of those people becoming customers, ABM instead focuses on an individual account or prospective customer.
In other words, it really is exactly what the name implies. The marketing efforts of your team are centered around an account or potential account; and everything is created and tailored for that specific recipient.
According to these numbers it seems like the trend has caught on.
- More than 90% of B2B marketers acknowledge that ABM is important.
- 92% now consider ABM to be very important to their marketing approach.
- 85% of those currently using an ABM approach and measuring ROI, report ABM as delivering higher returns than any other approach.
That sounds great, but what is it that makes ABM so effective? To answer that, we first have to look at what it’s being compared to.
The Traditional Marketing Funnel
For a great while traditional marketing has been looked at and described as funnel. This marketing or sales funnel has been a term or illustration used for quite a long time to describe how the marketing process typically works.
Some companies and models break it out into great detail, but for the purposes of our discussion we will talk about a very basic three stage sales funnel.
- Stage 1 – Leads
Your team generates and cultivates leads, assigning them as needed to be nurtured.
- Stage 2 – Prospects
With viable leads in hand, the team supplies them with information to help them make a purchasing decision.
- Stage 3 – Customers
The sale is made and the prospect becomes your customer.
This is a very basic breakdown of how most look at traditional marketing and the sales funnel. And while it has worked, many have begun to ask . . . is there a better way?
This is largely due in part to something known as the 80/20 rule. The 80/20 rule states that 80% of outcomes are generated by 20% of the inputs. When applied to B2B marketing, that essentially means that 80% of a your profit will come from just roughly 20% of your client/customer base.
With that in mind, what would happen if you decided to try to focus more marketing efforts on the most valuable 20%? Would you be able to grow that profit even more by tailoring your marketing to specific accounts?
The ABM Marketing Funnel
The marketing model for ABM turns the traditional model on its head. You begin with a primary target already in mind – again there is more nuance involved but a very basic breakdown would be something like this:
- Identify Key Accounts
You choose one of your more valuable accounts or a prospective account that would be considered high value – and target points of contact within those companies. Using a database such as EDA, can help you refine the criteria used to identify these key accounts with factors such as equipment owned and buying cycles to better help you target the exact accounts you are after.
- Tailor Your Messaging
Produce custom content designed specifically for the targeted account and distribute it to them using whichever channels are most effective for that specific client or prospect.
With strategically designed and delivered messaging, make the sale, grow the relationship with the account, and retarget for future business/products.
By starting with a clearly defined target and goal you are able to hone in and focus your efforts and energy on high value clients/prospects. This strategy is also extremely helpful at aligning marketing and sales departments, as everyone knows the common goal and sales teams know exactly what material has been delivered to a prospect and where they are in the buying cycle.
Embracing the 80/20 Rule
ABM as an idea has been around for quite some time, with the basic premise being there is an important client or account so let’s go get it! However, with the technology advancements we have seen in recent years, it now allows you to not only embrace this type of marketing, but to accurately measure just how effective they have been in your efforts. The ability to measure and track results is key to this process.
Not only is tailored messaging delivered but you are now able to track what works, what doesn’t, and in some cases you can even know why.
By focusing on the high value targets, a relatively low number of the overall prospect/customer pool, you can actually grow revenue! Embracing this strategy can help you provide a more personalized and meaningful experience for your current high value customers and desired prospects.
In addition to the more personal approach provided, using the available technology to accurately distribute and track your content and responses grants you the advantage of being able to adjust and alter your campaigns as you go to get optimal results.
In today’s world of marketing, data and the effective use of it is paramount. ABM is a prime example of how gathering data from a source, such as EDA, and using it to create customized audiences can truly harness the full power of the data available to you.