Account-based marketing (ABM) is one of the biggest megatrends in B2B selling today. What is it? It’s a strategic approach that aligns your marketing and sales efforts to target best-fit accounts, creating a deeper engagement at every stage of sales funnel within the specific account, thus driving the revenue at a higher value. There is a huge buzz around ABM because it works: According to the ITSMA, “Account-Based Marketing delivers the highest ROI compared any other B2B marketing strategy or tactic. Period!”
Why Account-Based Marketing According to benchmark data, in the SiriusDecisions command centre, 93% of the top marketers and sales leaders from around the globe have said that ABM is extremely important to their organizational success.
Here's how why Account-Based Marketing is trending
1. Align your Sales and Marketing teams.
Account-based selling strategy essentially flips the sales funnel, focusing on a small set of target accounts first, then expanding into those accounts to identify the people (persona-based) that are involved in the buying process. Now with the rise of technology, easy is aligning our sales and marketing teams with access to the right platform. Each side of the business has access to leads data and marketing data; enabling our sales team and allowing the business to make more informed choices on lead priority, strategy, content direction and much more. By implementing ABM, the entire organization is in a closed-loop as to what is happening with an account, so no sales rep will be un-informed during a demo or no marketer will send cold outreach emails even after a meetup has happened. With tightly aligned sales and marketing operations, B2B organizations achieved 24% faster three-year revenue growth and 27% faster three-year profit growth (SiriusDecisions).
2. Focuses on the needs and opportunities within a high-value account
In the traditional demand generation concept, we applied the “SPRAY and PRAY” method to capture a large audience and hope to convert few of those leads to customers, and this approach wasted a lot of company resources and is very unpredictable. Account-based selling, on the other hand, allows us to concentrate on a specific account clearly and target key players within that organization with content they can relate to. ABM experts recommend creating a target account list with different tiers and allocate a different level of resources to different tier accounts.
3. Increases close-rate
With better targeting, more precision in messaging and delivering tactics as well as increased focus, we as an organization can achieve better closed-deal percentages leveraging account-based marketing approach. 97% of marketers surveyed said ABM had higher ROI than other marketing activities (Alterra Group)
4. Personalization to the buyers
Given the technology at our disposal, there is no reason to rely solely on one-size-fits-all marketing experience. We can design our own personalization tactics, ranging from customizable e-books to tailored user experiences, on your website. Personalization also helps with customer retention and enhances their experience. Individual customer stakeholders who perceived supplier content to be tailored to their specific needs were 40% more willing to buy from that supplier than stakeholders who didn’t (CEB in Harvard Business Review)
5. Relies on laser-focused marketing and sales strategy
While “spray and pray” campaigns may work for B2C, they aren’t as effective for B2B. This is because B2B marketers have a limited number of potential buyers. With ABM, marketers focusing on an account as a whole and not just individual lead, they create specific content for the key players within that account. Now sales guys can leverage all the information from the marketers about the specific individuals within that account and give personalized demos and increase pipeline velocity. This can only happen if sales and marketing are aligned completely as mentioned before. On average, a B2B customer will regularly use six different interaction channels throughout the decision journey (McKinsey).
6. Executive-to-Executive Engagement
Top-level executives keep facing a continuous stream of pitches and offers from would-be vendors. How often do those campaigns start with a personal message from a fellow C-suiter? Account-based marketers are enlisting their CEOs, and other top execs, to reach out to their counterparts at target accounts, beginning with a personal email message or direct-mail letter requesting a brief meeting. A sales rep can then follow up with the executive’s assistant to set up the meeting, referencing the original communication and dropping the name of the C-suiter who sent it.
7. Different from traditional demand generation
Account-based marketing has a lot of elements from a few demand generation methods. But the sequence in which they are practised makes them a completely different strategy.
Demand generation is largely an inbound operation, publishing content and grabbing a wide range of prospects into your funnel. With ABM, we don’t wait for your target accounts to turn up in your lead nurturing system, we reach out to our target accounts directly. This is mostly an Outbound strategy.
Focus on an account as a whole
We don’t just concentrate on one individual lead or a person from a company instead we focus on the entire company (account) and key players within that organization. Traditional demand generation is fishing with a net, Account-Based Sales is fishing with a spear.
8. Measure ROI
Shifting away from traditional metrics of demand/lead generation and focusing on account data as a whole helps the marketer to become an active owner of the sales cycle. Without ABM, marketers using the “Spray and pray” technique would never get a clear picture of the closed deals, opportunities made etc. Focusing on just one account at a time helps marketers to actively integrate with their sales teams and measure their revenue chain until the end. Almost 85% of marketers measuring ROI say that ABM outperforms other marketing investments (ITSMA).
9. Shorter Sales Cycle
With the use of account-centric approach, companies can enjoy a shorter sales cycle. We don’t need to waste time with unqualified leads to saving company resources. Sales and marketing teams can focus their energies solely on the accounts that are most likely to convert and provide more specialized/personalized services to those prospects and accounts.
10. Predictable Pipeline
Organizations have been facing a significant problem around creating a qualified pipeline, with the help of Account-based Selling, sales reps can have a better understanding of their pipeline and future endeavours. Having a predictable pipeline helps reps remain more informed and active toward their goals. They can dedicate time to certain accounts and move on to the next as they have a clear idea of where all their accounts are in the pipeline.
Over the past few years, account-based marketing has evolved from an obscure lead generation strategy to a mainstream B2B marketing powerhouse. Advances in technology have made precise targeting tools more accessible than ever, while an environment inundated by generic “one-size-fits-all” marketing campaigns is necessitating a more focused approach to identified lead generation. All we need to do is adjust our mindsets, not only in the marketing department, but across our organizations, and begin to view each account as a market unto itself. And we can unlock tremendous opportunities which can pave the way to an even more profitable future.