The Essentials of Account-Based Marketing

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In the modern business era, adopting an Account-Based Marketing (ABM) approach is increasingly becoming recognized as a key business strategy for B2B marketers. What used to be purely account-based selling in the past has evolved to include marketing strategies that yield higher ROI at a fraction of its previous cost.

Technology has played a huge role in this evolution. The latest marketing tools and platforms have paved the way for ABM practitioners to scale their efforts through software and apps that provide predictive analysis, effective leads management capabilities, and the ability to produce highly targeted content.

Using ABM solutions enables users to adopt an automated, programmatic advertising process to identify key personnel or accounts, which in turn help them tailor communications depending on what part of the buying stage prospects are in at any given moment. Simply put, marketing automation and digital demand management channels have allowed marketers to do more with less.

These factors result in increased focus on business objectives because these new tools allow sales and marketing to align their strategies. With an ABM approach, these two teams work in a collaborative environment rather than in silos. Through this effective alignment and account targeting methodology, the vast majority of businesses have reported increases in lead quality and ROI.

Here are a few things to consider when implementing an ABM approach:

  1. The Role of IT in ABM

Role of IT in ABM

Having a dedicated IT team at hand ensures that you’re working within a reliable, secure platform. They are there to facilitate the integration of ABM tools with your existing network, making the transition as smooth and seamless as possible. They the can also address any hiccups that inevitably occur whenever new software is introduced. However, spending precious resources and waiting for IT teams to identify, select, and deploy ABM technologies is something businesses were finding difficult to accept.

Thankfully, technological advances in ABM-related software have made it easier and more cost-efficient for businesses to jump on the ABM bandwagon. This has enabled organizations of various sizes to implement ABM tactics to deliver personalized marketing to hundreds of accounts.

  1. Funnel Stage Targeting

Sales Funnel Targeting

(Image source: InAlign)

The traditional waterfall marketing funnel casts a wide net to catch as many prospects as possible. ABM attempts to modify this model by narrowing the lead base first instead of doing it in the end.

The process begins with a thorough understanding of your target customer profile, which is made possible by paying close attention to CRM reports and other B2B data about your ideal prospect. Having a set of criteria to work with helps you identify where your biggest opportunities may lie.

This approach enhances your targeting and personalization capabilities so you can increase lead quality and in turn, sales conversion rates.

  1. ABM Leverages Existing Customers

ABM Leverages Existing Customers

Not only is it less costly to tap your current customer base, but it also promotes loyalty because of your efforts to provide additional personalized products or services that fit your client’s needs. Cross-selling and renewal campaigns can now be more targeted with the help of data-driven marketing tools.

These automated tools allow you to develop individualized cross-selling or upselling techniques such as complimentary product trials that supplement existing products or call to action services that resonate with your customers.

Keep in mind the Pareto principal, which states that you should be focusing on the 20% of customers that deliver the most revenue so you can increase the ROI of your marketing activities.

  1. The Focus Should be on Your Biggest Opportunities

Focus on Big Opportunities

Expand your current base by building your list of organizations, companies, business roles, and key personnel that fits within a set of criteria you’ve identified. Remember that it takes an average of 5.4 decision makers to sign off on a B2B account, so you need to take that into consideration.

After you’ve identified your target profile, it’s time for you to increase engagement with awareness campaigns via online and offline channels. Once you’ve gained momentum in your relationship building efforts, it’s only a matter of time before loyal customers become brand advocates. These advocates are the best sources of high-quality referrals and positive recommendations.

  1. Marketing and Sales Must Align

Align Sales and Marketing

The primary cause of conflict between sales and marketing stems from the different goals they typically pursue. In a traditional company setting, sales teams are measured against their ability to convert the most number of leads, while marketing sees lead generation primarily as a numbers game. This means that sales values highly qualified leads with a greater inclination to buy, while marketing is more concerned with getting as many leads as possible, regardless of their propensity to convert.

With ABM, the metrics used to assess whether or not a marketing campaign is a success has to be shifted towards a more sales-centric approach. Overall, marketing has to be measured based on the amount of engagement from each lead instead of focusing on the number of leads in the funnel.

  1. ABM Means Personalized Communication

ABM Means Personalized Communication

The fundamental basis of ABM is personalized communications. You need customer data for ABM to work because this data can help you personalize communications in the future, increasing your ability to relate to their inherent needs and create a better buying experience.

In a multi-platform world, your website, mobile apps, emails, events, and every other brand communications channel should be tailored to accelerate the buying journey. This means modifying your messaging, CTAs, social proof and other aspects to deliver the right buying experience to the right customers at the right time.

Conclusion

In some organizations, ABM can be better than Inbound Marketing because the former allows for a more targeted approach, only engaging companies that are ideal users of the product or service you’re offering. With Inbound Marketing, your ability to control your audience is limited—anyone can download your e-book or subscribe to your newsletter, reducing the qualification requirements to become a lead.

ABM allows you to optimize a bigger percentage of your prospects because they were chosen based on a number of criteria you’ve collated from relevant sources, which includes their digital footprint or predictive tools. It’s not based on guesswork or a theoretical customer roadmap but actual data. This, coupled with the ability to scale at a low cost, are the key reasons most B2Bs should consider applying an ABM approach in their future marketing strategies.

The post The Essentials of Account-Based Marketing appeared first on PureB2B.

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20 thoughts on “The Essentials of Account-Based Marketing

  1. Thanks for the reminder of the importance of the Personal Brand. I think that the Personal Brand does play into the Future of Marketing where individuals can be brand ambassadors for their organizations as well as themselves.

  2. I feel the same way and I have for a while. I wish that I would not have waited as long as I had to start a blog but alas, the past is gone and the future awaits. Great article.

  3. With all the buzz surrounding content marketing today I’ve found many organizations are turning on their content taps by leveraging the creators as ghostwriters to help build the personas of select executives. In that case how would you suggest the real authors use this content to build their own brands?

  4. Great article Michael.

    You should also check out prollie.com

    They focus on the user and helping them build their personal brand and audience. It’s a search engine for people on social media.

    They measure how well a person uses social media and the quality of their content. NOT influence or # of followers. It’s about quality, not quantity on their site so it helps anyone who has a passion find an audience. They assign letter grades and top 4 passions that are used when being searched.

    Check it out!

  5. Great article and series overall Michael! As you pointed out, we should be loyal brand ambassadors at all times, but also remember the value we can bring to our Corporate sponsor’ s brand by building credible profiles that can add an “attracting of like minds” component. Success starts with employees; human power to build connectivity and creatively capture opportunities. By potentially attracting talent to join us on our respective journey, we can add untold value. Thanks again!

  6. It has been a great write up on the marketing efforts in the 21st century.

    We are in the era where the dialogue between the customer and business is exchanged and captured at every stage. we have to thank social media for the conversation we have. every individual now has every chance to be his own brand and brands communicate.

    Let us have more conversation and make a better world.

  7. A topic dear to my heart since my personal brand is evolving. I am taking to heart the importance of sharing real expertise in writing articles as you build your brand.
    I’ve had tremendous success promoting speakers in professional organizations. Just by setting up 20 or so media contacts (after questioning what the media wanted to hear about my expertise on computers), I was able to give away over 10k in free advertising to one of my speakers by his own estimation. It built my personal brand and it built my speakers personal brand.

  8. Karma rules …

    It very much applies in IT Channel ecosystems where I make my living… If you are interested in reading an extensive positioning paper on this topic, check it out at

    https://www.channelsmarketing.biz/portfolio/ChannelCARMA1.pdf

    If you only have 3 minutes, you can watch a vidoe about it at http://www.ChannelCARMA.com

    There is a relation bewteen Karma with a K and CARMA with a C A R M A … and while maybe not exactly elementary school subject matter … it is “Channel 101” and something for those working in channel ecosystems to give serious thought to… because in the channel … what goes around, DOES INDEED, come(s) around

  9. That’s a great article, Michael! I really enjoyed reading it.
    I have to say that I agree with Steve; personal branding is not just for a certain individual, but for everyone who’s using a social media network. Social media can help you build and develop your personal branding.
    Here is a really interesting article on this matter that you may find it interesting – https://www.nnc-services.com/blog/how-to-use-social-media-for-personal-branding/

  10. Hi Michael, as an information security marketing executive, I can attest that the strength of personality branding is evident in our community. For example, we host a regular web show called Hacker Hotshots that promotes, in essence, personalities who are demonstrating their area of expertise (oh, and by the way, most of them also work for a company!)

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