What is Account-Based Marketing Anyway?
Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is a new trending method in B2B marketing and sales. You may have heard of it but just not know exactly what it is. You may think it's something only large companies do. In reality, it's something that may create more revenue for big as well as small companies.
With ABM companies target their marketing efforts to support sales on clearly defined key accounts. Even though one central component is technological solutions for smart targeting of digital communication, ABM is more than technology. It is a strategic method of marketing whereby enterprises engage with unique clients or customers’ accounts collectively as one market. Consequently, there is a range of different types of suppliers of ABM services in the Nordics, from technology solutions (e.g. Vendemore) to content providers (e.g. Freya News) and digital marketing strategists (e.g. Avaus).
Why Account-Based Marketing?
Today, most suppliers recognize that a fair share of their B2B deals are what we at ProSales refer to as complex sales, where buying processes are long, and a large number of stakeholders are involved in each deal. Closing such a complex deal requires the attention and support from many different stakeholders in the customer company.
This makes it necessary as well as desirable to find ways to make all these stakeholders at the customer’s aware of your brand and your offering. You need to reach a wider group of people in your customer companies over a long sales cycle. This in turn requires engagement from sales, marketing, delivery, and key executives toward achieving the client’s business goals.
How do you make it happen?
ABM starts with selecting targeted accounts that your sales team would really like to penetrate, then developing customized communication, creatively suited to get to them. This is delivered through a combination of IP tracking, content marketing, inbound marketing and outbound marketing. Instead of beginning with an inventory of channels to run your promoting campaigns on — which can or might not reach your target customer — an account-based promoting strategy focuses the precise accounts that you would really like to focus on – and uses the channels this customer listens to. This hyper-targeting will increase the effectiveness of your promoting messages while not increasing the resources required to run a lot of targeted campaigns.
At the foremost basic level, account-based marketing is all concerning one client – THE client. In this era when B2B clients desire a customized marketing experience, clients are no longer awaiting a sales call or a sales email. What they value are customized sales alerts relevant to their challenges. Deploying targeted advertising, marketers will reach their consumers in the channels that their clients already put to use, so consumers will value more and are ready to interact with sales alert communication on their terms.
Six steps to an ABM strategy
When it comes to the process behind ABM, as usual, You'll have to do your homework and get familiar with some of the underlying pieces of the puzzle. There are however six key components that are must haves:
- Do your research. Identify your key accounts. Find out what they need AND what they want.
- Put together your players. Determine the key players within your company, both Sales and Marketing, that will be the “go to” people for your clients.
- Create the content. Personalization is key here. Get to know your clients’ companies inside and out and what they actually desire.
- Pick your channels. Social media, email, maybe even snail mail. As long as the channels you pick reflect the channels your clients tune into!
- Create the campaign. Once you have all your research completed, your team assembled and your methods of communication selected, it's time to execute the plan and engage those key clients.
- Measure, learn, fine tune and repeat. As we always preach at ProSales, sales and marketing is not art, it’s science. Your performance will be decided by the attention you pay to the facts. With it’s digital components, ABM produces a lot of statistics for evaluation and follow-up.
So What's the Payoff?
Unlike traditional marketing efforts such as SEO, “keywords”, email blasts, direct mail and the rest of those mass marketing strategies, ABM will give you feedback and insights into your clients that just weren't possible before. Implemented correctly with a lot of patience, education and analysis, a well planned campaign will put you in a whole different category in the eyes of your clients. From higher revenue deals to greater account longevity, this new personalization will inspire your clients and build that bottom line. And if that's not enough, this “new” marketing will get your clients talking about your company, referring other clients to you and expand your marketing efforts organically.
Ph.D. Markus Ejenäs, ProSales Institute