What is Account-Based Marketing (ABM)?
Account-based marketing is a strategic approach to identifying, targeting, and securing sales with your most valuable prospects. The tactic is most relevant for enterprise-level sales organizations. Enterprise sales, or complex sales, entail a lengthy, multi-step sales process in which multiple stakeholders must contribute to the final decision of every sale.
Point blank: this is where the big dogs play.
So what made companies shift to ABM?
- 82% of B2B website visitors are not potential customers. (Demandbase)
- 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. (MarketingSherpa)
- Only .75% of leads become closed revenue. (Forrester)
- 67% of CMO’s struggle to prove the long-term impact of marketing strategy investments. (Demandbase)
Data like that has us marketers like this...
To summarize all of the above, large B2B business are shifting their focus from quantity of leads to quality of leads. I don’t think anyone is happy with a .75% lead conversion rate, but somehow, somewhere along the line, that became the "industry standard" - and therefore, acceptable.
Account-based marketing is breaking that mold. ABM allows you to maximize your digital efforts, create higher quality leads, and generate better ROI for your business.
So account-based marketing is sort of like this…
Well, to put it more eloquently:
“What makes ABM so attractive right now is the way it combines insights for strategy and technology for execution. Marketing teams who understand ABM are in a powerful position to better align to what Sales needs, and to make smart choices about the right actions to take and the right time to take them to grow high-potential accounts.”
3 Steps to Starting an Account-Based Marketing Program
1. Target Actual Organizations, Not Buyer Personas
Account-based marketing requires that you break away from the conventional buyer persona-focused targeting strategies. What do you do instead?
Rather than crafting faux-personas, you will identify ideal target organizations. This requires a thorough understanding of your competitors and the industry as a whole. To start, you will need to create an entirely new set of target attributes, including the following:
- Firmographic Data: Target industries, company size, location, etc.
- Historical Data and Trends: Length of sale cycles by industry, deal sizes, expected profit, etc.
- Sales Targets: Key accounts your sales team has been striving to attain and why.
- Digital Behavior: What and where are they consuming content that influences their purchasing behavior?
- Pain Points & Needs: Define these two attributes to craft a unique marketing message to each segment of organization.
At the end of this exercise, you should have identified actual organizations that you want to sell to. Maybe this list is only 50 organizations, and maybe this year you had 50,000 leads.
Quick review of what we learned before… the key is to shift the focus away from the number of leads you are generating, to the quality of leads you are generating. To find the ideal number of ABM targets, take a look at your current portfolio of customers. How many do you add each year? How many do you want to add each year?
2. Market With Custom Experiences
Since account-based marketing entails focusing on fewer leads, you can really roll out the red carpet for each and every one of them. Try to make these visitors’ experience on your website as custom as possible.
Pro tip: We may be targeting organizations, but we’re still marketing to people. Behind each one of your target organizations, there is an entire team of individuals you need to reach.
Think of it this way, you can mix and match any marketing tactic from column A, with any target attribute from column B, and have a new way to customize your target’s experience.
Column A - Marketing Tactic
Column B - Target Attribute
3. Track & Measure Your Success (Every Step of The Way)
As with any marketing strategy, account-based marketing requires you to be extremely adaptable and responsive to your targets’ behaviors. If they go left, you need to already be there waiting for them, with a fully customized experience. If you’re not willing to adjust, the results could be catastrophic.
ABM is all about honing in on your consumer insights and data to maximize your digital efforts. Any small change to your strategy could have a major impact on your ROI.
Interested in growing, or perhaps starting, your account-based marketing program? Schedule a call with us today.