Account-based Marketing for B2B
In recent years, marketers would cast a wide net. The idea was to attract as many leads as possible in order to land a few keepers. Account-based marketing changes this model.
Published content—blogs, ebooks, infographics, etc.—covered topics meant to attract anyone and everyone. The more traffic they could get to their site the better.
Along the way, an alternative means of landing leads began to evolve. Account-based marketing (ABM) got rid of the net and picked up a spear.
What is ABM
ABM (account-based marketing) is a business marketing strategy that uses highly targeted, personalized campaigns to target accounts within a market. The personalized campaigns are designed to engage each account, basing the message on the specific attributes and needs of the account.
ABM takes a more holistic view of marketing, beyond just lead generation. ABM markets to existing customer accounts to encourage upselling and cross-selling to get the most value from your largest accounts.
Account-based marketing turns the traditional inbound marketing funnel upside down.
In traditional marketing funnels, after you work though bad leads, you end with target companies. With ABM you begin with target companies, identify the greatest opportunities, and then proactively go after them.
According to VP of Marketing at InsightSquared, Joe Chernov, “ABM aspires to be ‘zero-waste’ marketing. It’s a model that targets only the companies and contacts that are likely to buy your product and that sales has pre-committed to try to close.”
Benefits of Account-based Marketing
ABM is an increasingly popular approach for B2B companies that target larger accounts. For companies trying to sell into large accounts with long sales cycles and large deal sizes, account-based marketing offers many benefits over other marketing approaches. They include:
Instead of a generic approach, marketers take what they know abut the customer or target company and tailor creative campaign assets and messages to their specific needs and qualities.
Sales and Marketing Collaboration
ABM encourages your marketing and sale organizations to work together both before and after lead conversion. Together, they identify target accounts, craft customized campaigns, and writing content to move accounts through the pipeline.
Shortened Sales Cycles
Major purchase decisions involve multiple stakeholders. Because traditional funnel marketing starts with the bottom of the organization, it takes longer to move up to the primary decision maker. It slows down the sales process. However, In account-based marketing, the length of the cycle is shortened as all prospects are nurtured simultaneously.
Account based marketing is precise and measurable, providing the highest ROI of all B2B marketing tactics. 85% of marketers who measure ROI describe account-based marketing as delivering higher returns than any other marketing approach.
Less Wasted Resources
Time and resources are narrowly focused on a small number of accounts that are most likely to close sales. This frees up resources that would previously have been wasted.
How to Implement Account-based Marketing
Step 1: Identify your high-value target accounts. These are the key accounts that have the potential to contribute the most to the revenue of your company.
Step 2: Conduct research on those accounts. Get a good idea of their customer needs and pain points, as well as where they are in their customer journey.
Step 3: Develop customized content and marketing campaigns. Use the information you learned in the research phase to inform your strategy, develop creative assets that will resonate with the target account.
Step 4: Run your customized marketing campaigns. Launch your campaigns to the target account.
Step 5: Measure your customized marketing campaigns. Analyze the data to see how your campaigns are performing.
Account based marketing begins with creating meaningful segments. Afterwards, identify marketing programs and personalized them, to those segments. Deliver the campaigns on the channels that are most impactful to them (events, website, email).
Every company that adopts account-based marketing will use its own combination of marketing strategies. Your approach will be specific to the key account and will most likely vary between accounts based on their characteristics, segments, and relevant marketing channels.
Below are some real-world examples of how B2B marketers have used to develop account-based marketing programs:
In-person events have always been one of the most successful opportunities for sales teams to persuade decision makers. An ABM approach to events can include personalized invitations to key prospects from the target account, special VIP dinners, personalized gifts and schwag for target prospect, and personalized follow-up after the event.
Like events, webinars can be customized to be relevant and timely for a specific target account. Webinar events and follow-up can be tailored for specific companies, and unique webinar content can be created with the target audience in mind.
In an age where everyone is overloaded with email, direct mail has increasingly become a popular method of reaching prospects within a company. Since ABM is more targeted, gifts and marketing sent through direct mail can be higher value since the revenue potential is much higher.
Even with the popularity of direct mail, email is a valuable marketing channel for ABM. A volume-based marketing approach might use templates and marketing automation. Whereas, account-based marketing involves crafting tailored email messages for each individual and company.
PPC and paid social ads are a common way of reaching out to target accounts on the web. Social platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook allow you to target specific companies and personas. Therefore, your campaigns are tailored to focus on a handful of target accounts rather than casting a wide net.
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