While marketing has probably changed more in the last 20 years than in the previous century, some concepts seem to have come full circle. Decades ago, before mass marketing took over, promoting products and services was a personal interaction, focused on catering to individual needs and preferences. Fast forward to the 21st century, and account based marketing (ABM), is leveraging both intent monitoring and marketing automation technologies to enable us to achieve that same highly personal experience, except on a whole new level.
A growing number of B2B marketers are realizing the old “spray and pray” approaches to attracting customers just doesn’t work the way it used to. People are too busy, and the distractions around them too numerous for generic, one-size-fits-all content, to be truly effective. Fortunately, there’s a better way.
With intent signal monitoring, we can track the activity of users in key accounts, gaining unique insights into their challenges, their needs, and their content preferences. And with marketing automation, we can spin that intelligence into precisely targeted content, delivering those assets in a manner we know will generate a positive response from decision makers. Welcome to the world of ABM.
While forward-thinking marketers have already incorporated account-based marketing strategies into their practices, many are still behind the curve. At the most recent Next Generation ABM Forum, presenters shared that only 43 percent of marketers have a clear understanding of the concept.
If you’re in the beginning stages of incorporating account-based marketing into your strategy, it’s time to start gathering the resources and support you’ll need to form the foundation of your initiative. As you proceed on your mission, here are ten things to keep in mind.
1. ABM Loops In All Decision Makers
Studies have shown that the average B2B purchase involves approximately five different individuals, at various levels within an organization. With traditional marketing, campaigns would have to target five different job titles, in the hopes of reaching the right combination of decision makers. With account-based marketing, you can target specific individuals, at a specific organization, thus removing the guesswork which can result in misdirected resources.
2. It Increases ROI
Waste is one of the biggest problems with traditional marketing: spending time and resources to reach people who will never become customers. Every dollar spent on ABM goes toward reaching individuals at strategically selected key accounts, thereby significantly increasing your chances of generating a positive return on investment. This isn’t just a theory. Presenters at the Next Generation Forum shared that 80 percent of marketers say account-based marketing initiatives outperform other marketing initiatives, and companies using ABM generate 200 percent more revenue for their marketing efforts.
3. It Escalates Contract Value
By letting you focus marketing efforts on strategically selected accounts, ABM increases the likelihood that those you engage with will fit your ideal customer profile. When customers are the right fit from the beginning, they stand a better chance of achieving success with your products and services, and successful customers are loyal customers.
4. It’s Becoming the Industry Standard
As the technology enabling account-based marketing becomes more accessible, this approach is gaining popularity across a wide range of B2B industries. As one of the presenters at Next Generation shared, over half of all companies report having ABM initiatives underway. That means that if your competitors haven’t gotten on board yet, they will soon.
5. It Works for Any Size Organization
In years past, the technology that powers effective account-based marketing was only accessible to large enterprises, who had both the budgets to afford it and the technical personnel to maneuver complex systems. Now that intent monitoring and marketing automation platforms are more affordable and simpler to use, many more organizations can realize the benefits of a robust ABM strategy.
6. It Increases Engagement
When you deliver content, customized to the interests and preferences of individuals at your target accounts, they’re more likely to engage with you — and continue engaging with you. Each interaction brings you one step closer to turning followers into leads, leads into prospects, prospects into customers, and customers into evangelists.
7. It Supports Upselling and Cross-Selling
The clients you attract with ABM are more likely to achieve positive results with your products and/or services; they’re also more likely to expand your relationship by exploring other opportunities to work with you.
8. It Improves Consistency
When you leave behind the “spray and pray” approach to marketing, and begin targeting specific accounts, you’re able to customize your content according to the specific needs and preferences of those decision makers. As you hone your messaging to a fine point, all of your content — from your blogs to lead-generating assets to webinars, and beyond — will fall into place along those lines, thus creating significantly greater consistency; consistency that reinforces your brand promise across all channels.
9. It Helps Align Marketing and Sales
Traditionally, marketing has focused on “one-to-many” selling, only handing off to sales when the prospect was ready for a one-on-one conversation. Account-based marketing enables you begin the conversation at a “one-to-few” level, so that those targeted conversations can be well underway by the time the sales team gets involved.
10. It Helps You Better Leverage Marketing Automation
Marketing automation tools give you a powerful means of staying top-of-mind with your target audience,… but only if they have the right strategy behind them. ABM provides the critical link between your marketing content and the decision makers you want to engage. By linking buyer behaviors with intent data for a much more holistic account view, ABM enables you to use marketing automation tools strategically, to optimize the topic, format, timing, and frequency of your communications, with precisely the people you want to engage.
By assembling a robust account-based marketing “toolkit” and leveraging it effectively, you have a platform to reach your target customers more effectively than ever before. As the B2B landscape becomes more complex, involving more decision makers, marketers must adapt and implement ABM, if they are to survive, let alone thrive. When we leverage our intel from intent monitoring, and put it into motion using market automation, we create a powerful mechanism that places the right content, in front of the right people, at the exact right time, to move them forward in the buyer’s journey.