B2B marketing keeps evolving and marketers come up with new and better strategies and approaches to attract customers and improve the organization’s ROI. Account-based marketing is one such marketing approach that is gaining attention from a lot of B2B marketers. According to a 2016 State of Account-Based Marketing (ABM) Study by Demandbase, more than 70 percent of the surveyed companies had sales staff that were either dedicated fully or partially to drive ABM-specific programs, and more organizations are investing in this effort.
So, what is account-based marketing and why should an organization consider including it as part of their marketing and sales efforts? Here is what you should know.
Account-based marketing—What is it?
Account-based marketing, also often referred to as key account marketing is a strategic approach in B2B marketing, which focuses on a clearly defined set of prospects in key accounts and create highly personalized marketing campaigns that resonate with these accounts. Instead of focusing on the open market, an organization treats a key customer account as the market or a market of one. It then focuses on the pain points and needs of the different stakeholders in the account to provide the solutions that can address their requirements.
If regular B2B marketing can be compared with casting a net in the hopes of attracting as many clients as possible, ABM is a highly targeted approach that looks at attracting clients within specific organizations that may be the best fit for the product or solution. While traditional marketing works on attracting and generating leads, qualifying them and converting them into customers, account-based marketing starts with existing customer accounts—identifying the right accounts and then working outwards.
Account-based marketing is particularly useful for organizations who have multiple organizations as their accounts, which are typically enterprise-level organizations.
Why you should consider including it in your marketing efforts
ABM is witnessing increasing take-up among B2B service and consulting organizations as it offers them several benefits. Here are a few key benefits it provides.
It is highly targeted
Unlike the ‘spray-and-pray’ approach of traditional marketing, ABM is highly focused where marketers aim at creating highly personalized campaigns, including content and emails, that are specific to the key decision-makers’ problems and requirements in an account, so that they can be moved all the way down the sales funnel. Creating this type of individualized campaigns requires team collaboration as well as good research on the needs of the stakeholders to ensure communication that is meaningful to them.
Brings alignment between the marketing and sales team
Talking about team collaboration, one of the pre-requisites for the successful implementation of ABM is the alignment between an organization’s marketing and sales team. Traditionally both teams are siloed and have little communication and coordination between them. However, similar to inbound marketing, ABM requires the two teams to work together to identify target accounts, understand the requirements, create a marketing and outreach strategy, and track the campaign’s progress. This effectively means that the two important teams are working together towards organization goals and not independently.
Reduces wastage of resources
Traditionally, when focusing on an open market, the marketing team is pulled in various directions and hence, the resources are scattered. As ABM is targeted, the marketing resources and efforts become structured and get utilized efficiently. Additionally, when the marketing and sales teams work together, it will maximize the utilization of the B2B marketing and sales resources.
Defined ROI from marketing efforts
As per a survey conducted by the Information Technology Services Marketing Association, 84 percent of the companies that participated in the survey told that ABM delivered a higher return on their investment compared to other forms of marketing. This means that ABM clearly drives ROI.
Helps in clearly tracking and measuring goals
Besides measuring ROI, it is also important for an organization to track and measure the effectiveness of its campaigns, emails, content, and events, in order to identify what is working and what needs to be improved. Using account-based marketing, it is simpler to measure and draw clear conclusions, based on how prospects in an account are responding to the campaigns.
Account-based marketing has certain prerequisites such as team collaboration and customer-focused approach if it has to be implemented successfully. Organizations should keep an inbound marketing approach in mind, which focuses on identifying the buyer and attracting them through the right content and campaign, only in the context of a customer account. The task of implementing ABM may seem daunting for organizations but has clear benefits for them. Naturally, organizations should consider making ABM an integral part of their marketing efforts.
Originally published , updated March 15 2018