What if you could customize a comprehensive marketing strategy to target individual, high-value prospects one at a time? At first blush, this may seem highly aspirational, but if your business follows the 80/20 rule, then 80% of your profits come from 20% of your client base. This makes a more individualized approach more feasible and critical.
As the years have passed, the concept of account-based marketing has become more well known in the B2B world, and many companies who have adopted it have seen success. The height of the effectiveness of account-based-marketing can easily be seen in the stats:
- Up to 73% of marketers plan to increase their ABM budgets this year.
- 45% of ABM users are seeing at least double the ROI they get from traditional marketing.
- Among the companies that use ABM, the budget they dedicate to ABM nearly doubled from 2013-2018.
So, what makes ABM so effective? Perhaps to answer that question, we have to begin with defining it.
What is account-based-marketing?
Among the companies most likely to buy from you, there are always those who have a greater potential to produce more business for you than others. When the 80/20 rule is applied to B2B marketing, an entire marketing strategy is tailored to target individual high-value prospects one at a time. It focuses your marketing efforts on one potential account or existing account. In other words, your entire strategy is centered solely around that key account.
How is ABM different from traditional marketing?
The marketing model for ABM begins with what would ordinarily be the end of the traditional marketing model. By the end of your traditional marketing process, you know who your potential customers are because they have engaged with your business or expressed interest in some way. ABM begins with a company in mind. It may be a potential customer/client or an existing one. Here are a few other elements that differentiate traditional marketing from ABM:
|Number of accounts||Targets an audience of prospects||Targets one high-value account|
|How you determine who to target||Based on specific criteria for prospects most likely to buy||Based off of which individual prospects or current clients have a high likelihood of producing substantial business for you|
|Target Type||New prospects||New prospects and existing clients|
|Aim||Produce new business||Create cross-selling and/or upselling opportunity and produce new business|
How does account-based marketing work?
Step 1: Identify high-value accounts
Who are your prospects or current customers who are most likely to produce a substantial amount of business for you? You may already be able to tell from some of your existing customers based on your current relationship with them. Or you can identify these accounts based on company size, company structure, location, buying cycles, etc. Choose one of your more valuable accounts or a prospective account you would consider to be high value, and target points of contact within those companies.
Step 2: Tailor specific messaging
Knowing exactly who you want to reach from the beginning allows you to research the company, learn the business’ pain points and needs, and tailor personalized messaging that appeals specifically to them. Having knowledge of elements like who the decision makers are in the company, company structure, company goals and more will give you insight into how to customize your messaging and who within the company to direct your messaging to.
Step 3: Target accounts
When it comes to targeting the company/account, ABM may look similar to traditional marketing in the sense that you use a lot of the same online platforms (i.e. Facebook, email, etc.) and strategies (i.e. digital campaigns, content marketing, etc.). The key is determining which of these platforms and strategies are the best for that specific account.
Benefits of ABM
It aligns sales and marketing teams
An effective ABM strategy demands that your sales and marketing teams collaborate effectively. The marketing team needs to know their audience in order to tailor messaging specific to that audience. The sales team is more likely to already be familiar with these high-value accounts. Aligning information on both sides, working together to identify the best accounts to target, and collaborating on nurturing each account will keep sales and marketing on the same page and create a successful ABM strategy.
It is easy to prove ROI
Because you are focusing on one company, you see exactly where your budget is going and can see clearly the revenue gained. Proving ROI with ABM is definitely a lot more straightforward than in a campaign targeting multiple prospects at once.
It improves customer experience
This customized approach to marketing creates an experience that your potential customers or current clients are much more likely to respond to. You are trying to reach decision makers, who may be stingy with their time, and rightfully so, considering how busy they are. If you can clearly communicate the value you can add to their business, you are more likely to get their attention.
Account-based marketing as an idea has been around for quite some time, with the basic premise being: “There is an important client or account that we should go after.” However, with the advancements in technology in recent years, you now have room to embrace this form of marketing and reap the benefits.