2019 is in full swing, and that means it’s an excellent time to refresh your marketing strategy. Make 2019 the year that you give your sales team the upper hand in closing more deals, more often. Account Based Marketing may be just the thing you need to hit your targets — and we’ve got some expert tips to help you get started
Account-based marketing (ABM) is a strategic approach to marketing (also known as key account marketing), where businesses engage with prospective accounts on an individual level.
ABM is an extension of the inbound marketing movement. Where inbound marketing focused on leads (individuals within an organisation), ABM targets the organisation as a whole.
Traditional inbound strategies merely target specific designations within the desired industry, for example, chief information officers in the financial services sector.
ABM takes personalisation to an entirely new level. It targets a wish list account, let’s hypothetically say Fortune 500 bank. You then identify key decision makers within Fortune 500 bank and deploy hyper-personalised marketing strategies designed to speak to their specific needs.
ABM delivers the ‘highest ROI among B2B marketing tactics and strategies while providing less waste and risk’.
ABM has a myriad of benefits for your business. There are, however, five key benefits which stand out the most:
1. ABM is extremely cost-effective
ABM relies heavily on digital marketing tools which are considerably less expensive than traditional outbound marketing media. Marketing directly to key accounts that you’ve identified as good prospects also reduces the risk of wasting budget on unqualified leads.
2. You’ll generate better quality leads
Marketers use a data-driven approach to pre-qualify leads before they get to your sales team – increasing the pool of willing buyers.
3. ABM helps shorten your sales cycle
Eliminating poor quality leads earlier allows the sales team to focus time and energy on high priority leads that are more likely to convert. This saves precious resources and shortens the sales cycle.
4. Easier to prove ROI
The highly personalised and targeted nature of ABM makes it easier to measure because there are fewer metrics to monitor. Reporting is hassle-free. According to Forbes Magazine, ABM delivers the “highest ROI among B2B marketing tactics and strategies while providing less waste and risk”.
5. Stronger relationships with prospects and customers
Again, ABM targets individual prospects - so you’re able to communicate value straight actively. Focusing on their specific pain points and how you can assist places you in a strong position to become their go-to source for advice and information. ABM will help you win people’s trust during the sales process and lays the foundations for a mutually beneficial, long-term partnership.
Traditionally, sales and marketing operated as two separate functions within an organisation. With ABM, you’re turning these two teams into a single, tightly aligned “smarketing” department - with the collective goal of revenue generation.
Your business needs to clearly define the customer journey and lifecycle criteria to do this. For example, do sales and marketing have a shared definition of a marketing qualified lead (MQL) versus a sales qualified lead (SQL) or opportunity? If not, this is an excellent place to start getting everyone on the same page.
By having a tightly aligned “smarketing” strategy, you’ll close the loop between sales and marketing. This means sales feed valuable insights to marketing and marketing create helpful content to help nurture prospects and shorten the sales cycle.
Once an opportunity converts, the torch is then passed to customer service - with marketing continuing to create helpful content for the customer, and sales feeding insights to customer service. This ensures a seamless transition between departments. Instead of the traditional funnel approach to sales, your business becomes more of a flywheel which gains momentum and ensures a steady flow of referral leads by delighting your existing customers.
1. Make sure you have the right team in place.To get started with ABM, you’ll need a few key staff members on your “smarketing” team:
- sales reps
- a sales database administrator
- a marketing account manager
- a content developer
2. Define your goals as a team. Make sure that everyone on your team is working towards a common objective. Always make sure that the customer, their unique goals and challenges are central to your ABM strategy.
3. Invest in an ABM technology partner. Be it an experienced lead-generation firm or an in-house CRM; you need the ability to automate sales and marketing processes, engage with audiences at scale and track your digital marketing efforts. Accountability and pinpoint accurate reporting is pivotal to your ABM success.
4. Identify and prioritise which key accounts you’d like to target. Creating an ideal customer profile document and buyer personas can help you make your list. You’ll also need to identify which media channels will help you reach the right person, at the right time.
5. Ongoing measurement and optimisationThe key to running successful ABM campaigns is continuously measuring your results, identifying what’s working and what isn’t and optimising for conversion. By regularly A/B testing and making incremental improvements, you’ll spot every opportunity that arises.