As the name implies, account-based marketing (ABM) focuses on marketing to accounts at corporate level, rather than individual contacts. In a nutshell, it’s about focusing on your ‘ideal profile’ buyers or prospects and treating them in a much more personalised way, while also taking a bigger picture view of the wider company view. So far so, simple. But what are the benefits of ABM, and how can it be applied to b2b marketing?
Account-based marketing (ABM) – where to start?
1. Go beyond buyer journey: think end-to-end customer experience
An ABM approach looks at the overall buyer journey, and how you can make sure your customers have a great experience at each stage of this. While traditional b2b marketing goals tend to focus on generating short term leads, which get handed over to sales or customer service, ABM demands that the marketing team’s goals are pipeline and revenue generation and shared with the sales team. This means being jointly accountable for the entire customer experience and interactions with your business, for example upsells/cross-sells, decreasing churn, landing and expanding accounts, and providing an always ‘on air’ approach to all marketing channels that meet your customer needs.
2. ABM fits well with the entire b2b buying process, so view it from this perspective
More often than not the b2b buying process is now a collaborative one, involving numerous stakeholders and departments in the buying decision. ABM allows you to align with this ‘buying by committee’ approach, enabling you to influence not just the key decision-maker, but the buying group as a whole.
If you only look at, or market to an individual, you’re only getting part of the picture; ABM helps you to fully understand how interested an account is in your solution, and therefore how likely they are to buy from you, which in turn enables you to see where best to focus your resources.
3. Your sales and marketing will need to be more aligned with ABM
The holy grail of business; using ABM, marketing can be more aligned with what your sales team is doing. That is to say, they work on the same common goal of how to target and secure identified accounts. Plus, with a broader, less silo-ed approach (ideally with a central account coordinator and regular cross-team updates) there’s less rick that your efforts aren’t being duplicated.
4. ABM needs to be viewed as a strategic business objective from the planning stage
Committing to an effective ABM programme is a medium to long term investment. So make sure ABM has this upfront commitment from your wider business management team, and that your Board recognise it as a strategic business objective. Be clear about who you’re targeting, agree specific goals with the sales department (for example identifying more contacts for an account, driving faster sales cycles times, growing revenue with existing accounts, promoting higher customer loyalty, etc.), decide how you’re going to achieve them (for example marketing to a specific group or type of account), assign team responsibilities, and look at how you’ll measure ‘joint’ success.
Is ABM for you?
ABM takes a shift in mindset across your organisation, but the rewards can be worth it. It can have a significant impact on the speed and effectiveness with which you can land larger or more complex accounts, whilst also growing existing ones. By homing in on a defined set of accounts, looking at their customer experience as a whole, and using personalised marketing campaigns and tailored content to target multiple buyers, you can really focus your resources in the places that should bring the best returns.
Interested in a free three hour workshop to plan out your top level ABM strategy? Get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org