Account-based marketing (ABM) is so hot right now. It’s nothing new, really, but marketers are scrambling to adopt a comprehensive ABM approach to doing business, which encompasses elements of content marketing, automation, segmentation, personalization, data analysis, retargeting, customer experience, and alignment with sales.
You can see how interest in ABM continues to climb.
Here’s how ITSMA — the folks who pioneered the concept of account-based marketing and really made it a thing — define ABM: “ABM is a strategic approach that combines targeted, insight-led marketing with sales to increase mindshare, strengthen relationships, and drive growth in specific new and existing accounts.”
Not real sure what ‘mindshare’ is, but ITSMA explains the concept further with their four ABM principles:
1. Client-centricity and insight:
Outside-in problem solving, not sales pitches
2. Marketing and sales partnership:
Full collaboration for an integrated approach
3. Reputation, relationships and growth:
Objectives beyond just near-term revenue
4. Tailored programs and campaigns:
Personalized propositions, content, and “plays” to drive interest and engagement
Ultimately, ABM is about focusing on quality over quantity. It’s selective, intentional customer targeting, as opposed to traditional B2B blasting of content out into the universe in hopes of piquing someone’s interest. To use the proverbial hose nozzle illustration, ABM is the laser-focused ‘jet’ stream, as opposed to the ‘cone’ setting that sprays a wider, less concentrated area.
Here are four more scintillating reasons to consider an account-based marketing approach.
1. Same Team!
Just about everyone agrees that the sales and marketing departments of the world should align their efforts and work more closely together toward common, complementary goals. In the pursuit of ‘smarketing,’ if you will. Unfortunately, the two departments are often not on the same page — if not outright pitted against one another in a sort of adversarial silo standoff.
A key component of ABM entails putting sales and marketing in the same boat, with everyone rowing together to work the same accounts. That takes teamwork, communication, cooperation, and no small amount of coordinated cohesion.
Account-based marketing requires a good bit of silo smashing, goal sharing, and interdepartmental communication, which is generally a good thing for any company. Studies have shown the correlation between collaboration, workplace satisfaction, and productivity, and that aligned teams tend to achieve a higher ROI. Poor collaboration, on the other hand, can be a real company killer.
Many hands make for light (and usually more effective) work.
2. Hyper-Focus on Specific, Piping Hot Leads
Account-based marketing is about identifying and going after qualified leads who you know would be a good fit for your business. It’s also about ROI. A survey from the Alterra Group found that 97 percent of marketers polled said ABM tactics yielded a higher ROI than any other marketing activities.
Having such a direct, targeted approach should increase your efficiency as well, as you’re not running yourself ragged trying to dragnet every possible prospect in the universe. Not to mention make it easier to track how much bang you’re getting for your marketing buck.
3. We Three Kings: Segmentation, Personalization, and Individual Nuance
You’ve probably heard about the importance of personalization in marketing. It’s a big deal, as 75 percent of customers prefer personalized offers. Another key ABM cog is customizing content and campaigns for whatever big fish you’re trying to land.
Crafting unique messaging that speaks directly to the customer you’re trying to reach is a great way to establish rapport and build relationships, or at least get your foot in the door to start a conversation. It could be a slideshow, a white paper, a how-to guide, an infographic, a blog post, or perhaps just an email that lays out specific pain points your company alleviates. Anything that could potentially be relevant or useful for the unique customer you’re trying to reach.
Granular segmentation, proactive personalization, and thoughtful, individualized nuance is the future of marketing. Blasting out the same message to everybody just doesn’t cut the marketing mustard anymore.
4. Numbers Don’t Lie
This last section’s for all of us data/numbers/stats geeks. If you’re thinking about adopting an account-based marketing strategy, consider these ABM stats compiled by Celsius International:
- 41% of B2B marketers worldwide plan to increase spending on ABM. (eMarketer)
- companies are 67% better at closing deals when sales and marketing teams are in sync (Marketo)
- …they also generate 208% more revenue for their marketing efforts. (MarketingProfs)
- …and B2B companies’ inability to align sales and marketing teams around the right processes and technologies has cost them upwards of 10% or more of revenue per year, or $100 million for a billion-dollar company. (IDC)
- nearly two-thirds of B2B marketers identified engaging key decision makers as their top challenge (Forrester Research), which is becoming more difficult since the average B2B decision-making group in companies over 500 employees includes at least 11 people (Gallup)
- 80% say that ABM outperforms other marketing initiatives. (ITSMA)
- 92% of B2B marketers worldwide consider ABM “extremely” or “very” important to their overall marketing efforts. (SiriusDecisions)
- 84% believe that ABM provides significant benefits for retaining and expanding current client relationships. (SiriusDecisions)
- 20% of businesses have had an ABM strategy in place for more than one year…and they’re already seeing the value. (SiriusDecisions)
- Pretty impressive, right? That said, an all-out ABM strategy isn’t necessarily for everyone. But there are certainly several compelling components worth exploring, and possibly integrating into your operation.