What is Account-Based Marketing?

Account Based Marketing Growthfluence

At the beginning of the 2000s, marketers were obsessed with attracting enough as many clients as they can in the hope of keeping a few of them.

Marketers were so focused on this philosophy that they made blogs a content farm, covering every topic to attract everyone. According to the marketers, the more traffic they can have on their sites, the better.

However, with the passing years, an alternate philosophy evolved called Account-Based Marketing. 

Account-Based Marketing: Meaning

Since the beginning, B2B marketers have always tried to attract as many as many companies as possible in their target market with their marketing campaign. 

But Account-Based Marketing is slightly different; it is a strategy that directs marketing resources into creating personalized campaigns and messages to engage with a defined set of target accounts within a market.

In simple terms, account-based marketing flips the traditional inbound funnel on its head, which means, instead of skimming through all the possible leads and then ending with a target company, you start with the target companies. This will help allow to filter out the most significant opportunities at the beginning.

Account-based marketing approaches:

The three ABM approaches almost all companies take are:

  1. Strategic ABM

The core focus of strategic ABM is relationship building, and this approach is executed on a one-to-one basis, and it is typically for highly strategic accounts. In this particular approach, customized marketing campaigns are devised to demonstrate that you, as a marketer or your company, have an in-depth understanding of your target account.

  1. ABM Lite

In this approach, the focus is lightly aimed at a small group of similar accounts. 

  1. Programmatic ABM

This approach is a mix of both strategic and lite ABM. Here, the latest technologies are used to tailor personalized marketing campaigns for target accounts at scale. Generally, this approach is used to focus on a specific horizontal and vertical segment.

Whichever approach you want to use will depend entirely on your business.

The key benefits of using ABM:

Account-based marketing has become a popular approach. The reasons behind this are as follows:

Measurable ROI

Account-based marketing is measurable, and considering all B2B marketing tactics, it provides the highest ROI of all. 85% of marketers who have used ABM and measure it claims that it delivers higher returns than all other marketing approaches.

Shorter Sales Cycles

Multiple stakeholders are involved while making a significant purchase decision, starting from the lower level in the organization to the primary decision-maker, and this slows down the entire sales process. In ABM, all prospects are nurtured simultaneously, which shortens the length of the cycle.

Customized/Personalized Marketing Approach

In ABM, instead of a traditional approach, marketers do their due diligence and gather all the intel they can about their target accounts and then tailor customized messaging for target accounts, and develop the creative assets of their campaign to the customer’s specific requirements and attributes.

Sales and marketing alignment is easier

ABM is one of the most efficient ways to align sales and marketing. This is because the marketer running an ABM program works with the same thinking as of a marketer running a sales campaign —mindset in terms of accounts, how to target them, close them, and generate revenue.

All the organizations with aligned sales and marketing teams experience average annual revenue growth of 32%, whereas, less aligned companies see a 7% decline in growth. (Research from Forrester)

The key steps involved

Just like every other strategy, ABM also has its own process. The step-by-step guide below will take you through all the key metrics: 

Step 1: Find your high-value target accounts

Identify the key accounts that can help your company generate huge revenue.

Step 2: Do your due diligence on those accounts

After identifying your target accounts, collect all valuable data, and analyze their customer needs & pain points along with where they stand in their customer journey.

Step 3: Develop customized/personalized marketing campaigns

After collecting and analyzing all the information that you have gathered, its time for you to create your strategy, and develop creative assets for the marketing campaign according to the target accounts.

Step 4: Run your customized marketing campaigns

Now it’s time to launch your campaign

Step 5: Measure your customized marketing campaigns

After launching your campaign, it is essential to analyze the data to see how your campaign is performing.

Required tech for efficient account-based marketing:

A few components make up the ABM toolkit. Prior to starting your campaign, you must have access to all the below-mentioned account-based marketing tools:

  1. Marketing Automation Platform

The marketing automation platform works as the central point for interlinking all your sales and marketing activities and collaborating all touchpoints and interactions. The marketing automation platform helps you gain complete marketing intelligence. Hubspot is one example of such a platform.

  1. CRM (Customer Relationship Management)

A CRM will integrate with your marketing automation platform, which will allow you to track progress in rea-time.

  1. CMS (Content Management System)

A CMS has to be integrated with your marketing automation platform.

  1. Social media

In an ABM campaign, it is crucial to promote the right content on the right social media platform. This means that you must promote your content on the social media platform that your key accounts actively use. A paid promotion on social media will give you more options for targeting and having a relevant engagement between the key account individuals and your sales team.

What are marketing experts saying about Account-Based Marketing?

Marketers can learn how to implement a new program or improve their ABM efforts by observing and learning from other marketers and ABM leaders:

Let’s see what other expert marketers are saying about ABM.

ABM aspires to be ‘zero-waste’ marketing. It’s a model that targets only the companies and contacts that are likely to buy your product and that sales have pre-committed to try to close.- Joe Chernov, VP of Marketing Pendo

Source: (https://www.drift.com/blog/what-is-account-based-marketing/)

Account-based marketing is more targeted and personalized versus spray and pray, where you’re just trying to capture anyone in your net. You’re very specific about who you want to talk with, and it’s a way for sales and marketing to align on the target.- Meagen Eisenberg, CMO, MongoDB

(Source: https://business.linkedin.com/marketing-solutions/blog/linkedin-b2b-marketing/2016/what-is-account-based-marketing–10-definitions-from-the-experts)

Let’s go through a few use cases of account-based marketing;

ABM has helped ServiceNow to achieve nearly a 100% form fills.

The company delivered content to niche decision-makers within select accounts by using LinkedIn as their channel.

ServiceNow’s Manager of Custom Acquisition and personalization, Suma Warrier, says, “We haven’ t seen any other solution that gives us this level of targeting.”

The moment they saw that the high percentage of LinkedIn traffic was coming through mobile, they integrated Lead Gen forms into their campaigns. Thereafter, ServiceNow saw the tremendous outcome of nearly 100% improvement in form fills.

By using ABM, SalesLoft has reduced its cost-per-conversion by nearly 50%

SalesLoft used ABM and LinkedIn to connect with their potential key accounts on a deeper level.

Each quarter the marketing leaders at SalesLoft agree on account list tiers. Thereafter, they use contact targeting and account targeting to run ABM campaigns tailored to engage with decision-makers at the prioritized accounts. 

Should you or should you not use account-based marketing?

Well, by now, you must have learned a lot about what account-based marketing actually is, but what you might be thinking is whether it is suitable for you or not?

One of the topmost reasons to pursue ABM is that studies show how effective it is on delivering ROI. 97% said that account-based marketing had a somewhat higher or much higher ROI than any other marketing campaign (Research from the Altera Group).

Is it the right choice for you or not?

AMB is a buzzworthy phrase, but it isn’t the right strategy for every business. It is a typical B2B marketing approach or strategy that is suitable for enterprise-level sales organizations with 1,000 or more employees. 

The Key Takeaways:

  • Account-Based Marketing is a strategy that directs marketing resources into creating personalized campaigns and messages to engage with a defined set of target accounts within a market.
  • It is measurable, and considering all B2B marketing tactics; it provides the highest ROI of all.
  • Just like every other strategy, ABM also has its own steps.
  • The ABM toolkit comprises of a number of components.
  • Marketers can learn how to implement a new program or improve their ABM efforts by observing and learning from other marketers and ABM leaders.
  • Account-based Marketing has helped 
    • ServiceNow to achieve nearly a 100% form fills.
    • SalesLoft to reduce its cost-per-conversion.

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