For centuries the great ancient Egyptians created beautiful pieces of art and architecture which was dominated by the themes of their religious beliefs, gods and goddesses. They were the most religious civilization ever lived but interestingly, they didn’t have a word for religion and yet they continued doing what they did. Similarly, account-based marketing has been in the business industry for years and yet ITSMA only coined the term in 2004. And it defines account-based marketing as “Treating individual accounts as a market in their own right.” In layman’s terms, it is going or reaching out for an account instead of an individual of a particular team in a company.
ABM puts quality over quantity. Therefore instead of publishing umpteen number of blog posts and gain as much traffic as the marketers could; a radical shift took place. With ABM, you filter out all the bad leads and set out a target for yourself. What’s left now? You chase after your target.
ABM makes things easier for you and your audience. As it emphasizes on quality, it also builds strong customer relationships by engaging them with personalized campaigns, usage of optimized campaigns to bring in new customers and it is extremely particular; which means ABM doesn’t spam its email lists with irrelevant content created for a mass audience. You get what you want. It is almost like personalized marketing.
“Account-based marketing focuses on a few large and important accounts or those potential accounts that hold the greatest promise of adding to your bottom line, that’s why it’s so critical to have a high-touch and highly targeted message to these individuals, because of their revenue potential and impact to sales and marketing”, explains Elyse Flynn Meyer, President and Founder of Prism Global Marketing Solutions.
ABM brings you all the fruitfulness by kicking off the sales process with higher value opportunities and in terms of ROI, ABM has reported having had a somewhat higher or much higher ROI than other marketing campaigns by 97% of respondents according to research from the Altera group. It also sets you on track by aligning marketing, sales, and account management.
Most importantly, the numbers have your back. You don’t have to worry about attribution when it comes to presumption of the potential return on investment since you’ll always be able to keep an eye on where your money goes and the profit value at the end of a campaign with ABM.
We’re now convinced ABM is pretty interesting and it’s becoming more and more popular in the last 4-5 years. While it might be a little tricky in the beginning to get the drift of it in terms of implementation, once you get the right strategy down its pretty much plain sailing from then on as the payoff can be tremendously valuable and your results will be worth the effort invested.
So now the bigger question is, what are some of the strategies to look out for while structuring the business model for your SAAS company? Before we start discussing further, it’s important to remember that account-based marketing strategy is a repository of other practices like the involvement of shared tools, alignment between sales and marketing, mature customer data management strategy, teams, and data.
Now, let’s begin:
Follow different programs for different accounts While account-based marketing largely depends on going after accounts that are considered to be “fit” for your company, it is highly crucial to understand how your consumers buy from you.
Here are three questions that you should ask yourself about an account or a lead:
Does the account/ lead fit your ideal customer profile?
Do they intent to buy?
Have they engaged or interacted with your brand or product?
- Your target account list must be dynamic: It is important to update your account list every day based on engagement and intent data as it helps greatly in terms of keeping track.
While we’re in the context of tracking, you need to track buying signals too as not all the engagement signifies a likelihood to buy. Customer engages with a website for various reasons: view blog posts, check the pricing pages and in terms of a lead: the possibility of a discover call or a pricing negotiation call. There can be many number of reasons which is why tracking buying signals become a crucial part of account-based marketing.
As ABM is specific and targeted, it is necessary to continuously track the tactics and also organize or group accounts based on engagement to give us a deeper insight.
- Take your account-based marketing tactics omnichannel: To take your account-based marketing to be an omnichannel marketing strategy instead of a multi-channel one, you need to remember the keyword here; technical integration. As every marketing firm is different so is the client experience and employee expertise. It is crucial to understand your experience with technology and training before taking up omnichannel marketing. Many companies struggle to get the drift of it mainly because they do not have the technology or the resources to fully integrate the channel and make the right use of the data.
The danger or drawback of omnichannel marketing is that some channels are left behind with out-of-date messaging for an account while this is believed to happen because of a ‘communication clash’, it can be prevented by the orchestration of all your tools and data. Once again, it all comes back to tracking. You create a ‘closed-loop system’ in which you can track and update across all your tools wherever you are messaging. The process of tracking your B2B journey and consolidating into a unified company profile and using this data to update all the rules of segments, templates, workflows, etc across all your tools has to happen ASAP or as close to real-time as possible. This not only provides you with the updated data to your tools and teams but also works perfectly in the alignment of sales and marketing on your messaging. By mastering this, you also get to maximize engagement with target accounts by triggering personalized emails and live chats at scale and web personalization.
- Sketch a Customer Journey Map: To acquire the core tracking elements of a B2B buying journey, you can get started with a sketch of a customer journey map. It serves as a strategic tool to communicate across your organization and points out the data you need to be after or track, attribute and sync across all your tools. As an account-based marketing strategy equally depends on customer engagement as much as finding a fit account, with this customer sketch you are provided with a framework which helps in building a complete understanding of your customer journey.
Here’s how you can outline the customer journey map:
Customer lifecycle stages: Steps that a customer or a lead takes after becoming a customer. It can be a lead, qualified lead, visitor or an opportunity customer.
Customer journey paths: It categorizes the different versions of the experience. It includes anything from free trial signup to requesting a demo and talk to sales.
Conversion events: The events that trigger to move from lifecycle to another are the conversion events. It can be a demo or free trial signup through a form to move from visitor to lead.
While it is important to list all these elements, it is also important to list and map the states of a customer’s circular dependencies post-purchase as the customer’s journey after that might not be a linear progression.
It is necessary to consider that there will be likely more than one method of interaction to a customer and customer journey paths. Few of the different paths in a customer lifecycle are marketing channels and campaigning, sales processes, products, and pricing tiers, user-level segmentation and paths into the product. Although this categorization may tie to your “ideal” customer profile and how you view and segment the ideal customer from the less ideal, it remains to be a sellable point.
Implementing an account-based marketing business model is a no-brainer but you need to be prepared. You need to be certain of your needs and that marketing and sales are always on the same team, else the efforts of one could turn out to be counter-productive to the other. While you do not necessarily need to pursue accounts based on how “fit” they are, you do need to have some definite, concrete and clear definition of the kind of accounts you’re going after.
With all this, you’ll be able to engage contacts and create organic referrals within accounts for your SaaS company.