In simple terms, Account Based Marketing (ABM) is a strategy of directing resources to engaging specific targeted accounts. Account based marketing doesn’t just suggest that sales and marketing teams get along, It requires them to collaborate on account specific messages and campaigns to ensure a clear and concise messaging.
A growing number of B2B marketers are making the change to ABM strategies as part of their overall efforts. Account based marketing perfectly compliments more traditional short term marketing goals of generating leads. But, is also aimed at the efforts of driving long term revenue growth.
Instead of casting a wide net with lead generation efforts, teams use ABM to work closely with sales to identify key prospects. They then deliver customized programs and messages to the key decision makers with targeted campaigns. Many teams use ABM strategies without necessarily knowing they are. They see the benefits without even knowing what they’re doing, but by fully adopting ABM strategies and investing time in messaging, they can improve their benefits even more.
Why Should You Practice ABM?
Even as your buying circles and reach is growing, marketing teams are feeling more pressure than ever to directly impact revenue growth. This is the reason we are seeing ABM being taken up by many marketing teams. Account based marketing focuses on relationships with the highest opportunity and ensures you create strong meaningful relationships with these accounts.
For example, let’s say you sell an expensive SaaS service. Rather than focus on all businesses that could use your software, you focus on the accounts that have the highest need and budget. Note that this is not to say that you do not have marketing messages that don’t target all businesses that are in need of this software. Your team focuses on the relationships with businesses that are in an immediate position and strengthen those relationships.
By combining your sales and marketing efforts you are able to engage more efficiently and convert accounts. In fact, your team is able to develop more meaningful approaches that boost the odds of driving engagement. Your well thought out approach matters more in a time when consumers are seeking out tailor fitted solutions and service. ABM requires sales and marketing to have a clear line of communication to ensure that messaging and follow up remain consistent.
What’s The Benefit of Account Based Marketing?
ABM perfectly compliments the account based approach sales teams have adopted in past years. Nurturing targeted consumers with the appropriate marketing message speeds up the sales process. Thus, allowing the sales team to achieve a higher closing rate. Marketing benefits from this process as sales sees the marketing team as a strategic partner. While sales follows up with the leads the marketing team brings in, the sales team can deliver feedback. This allows for the marketing team to tailor the messages more accurately and choose the marketing channels that work.
Customers also benefit from ABM as it allows for a better experience from the first time they interact with your company, to time you finally close the deal. Buyers prefer personalized interactions, it allows them to have their needs met. Creating customized messages that resonate takes time and customers recognize and appreciate this. With more personal messages, customers are able to have less of their time wasted, which improves interactions.
How To Align Sales And Marketing for Account Based Marketing
Getting sales and marketing to work closely together is the key to success with ABM. Without this alignment, your target audience will suffer through an experience that does not match. Having this connection anything less than seamless, will have your customers tripping over the buying process. Your marketing team’s efforts will generate leads that the sales team are not properly equipped to follow up with. Or, the marketing team will generate leads with the wrong message and your sales team cannot close them
Success starts with clear communication between your sales team and marketing team. This collaboration continues as both groups properly execute their part of the buyer’s journey. Agreement from the beginning allows for the strategy to work correctly from the start and for the team to figure out the most fitting target accounts.
While the objective is to target and land new accounts and expand business, marketing and sales goals go beyond this. These additional goals include:
- Identify the key decision makers
- Get more high level appointments
- Make the sales cycle quick and easy
- Raise customer loyalty and reduce churn
- Boost revenue with existing accounts
- Close more large deals
Creating A Strategy for Account Based Marketing
When choosing a strategy, your marketing and sales team need to share a similar mindset. They need to collaborate around the common goal of closing more large deals and share insights on what works best. The first step is to create an “account” team that will collaborate and share what each team member has success with and construct a message around that.
At a high level this means your sales and marketing need to agree on common goals, messaging and content, execution, and how to evaluate success. You need to analyze your customer base and identify your definition of your ideal customer and what their needs are. What can influence your ideal customer on the decision they make and how to engage them. Then create a personalized campaign based on these values your ideal customer has and what influences their decisions. Pinpoint the optimal channels your customers typically use and how to engage them on those channels. Develop a strategic playbook for your sales team to use backed by marketing metrics. Then have your marketing team execute the campaigns to start generating leads for your sales team to follow up with. Finally, measure your ABM results to see if your ideal customer profiles are engaging with your message and ensure that it is generating the correct leads for your sales team.
ABM can drastically help businesses generate more qualified leads for your sales team to follow up with and close. Allowing your marketing team to work with your sales team in order to identify the ideal customer profile helps your message hit the correct audience. Having more tailored messages allows your customers to engage with the message on a deeper level. By engaging on a deeper level with your customers, you have a higher probability of closing them. Not only will account based marketing allow you to focus on your ideal customer profiles, but it will allow you to perfect your customer interactions. So that your smaller deals will go just as smoothly as the interactions with those who had the messages tailored to them.