What Is Account Based Marketing?

What is account based marketing? (abm)

Account based marketing (ABM) is finding increasing popularity among several B2B marketers. They are making it an essential component of their marketing efforts. ABM is a concept that meets both the short-term goal – to generate leads, and the long-term goal – to help those leads drive the revenue growth on a continuous basis.

What is ABM (Account Based Marketing)?

Account based marketing is a marketing strategy that directs resources towards engaging pre-defined, targeted accounts. The sales and marketing teams need not have a specific alignment, but it forces them to align because, at the account level, it becomes important for both the teams to be in sync for the precise message to be delivered.

It presents a great opportunity for businesses to have increased revenues within a short period of time. ABM, when used by the sales and marketing teams in sync, can give better results and prevent marketers from making extra efforts for lead generation. The sales and marketing teams can then offer customized solutions to targeted accounts.

How does ABM work for businesses?

Despite the increase in the number of buyers, marketing teams still face the heat to make an impact on revenue growth. This is one of the primary reasons that is leading to the rising popularity of account based marketing. Relationships are a key factor for businesses in their most-valued accounts in terms of opportunity and revenue.

For businesses that offer specific products or consulting services, approaching all the clients is not the ideal way to do business. Rather these businesses can focus only on certain accounts that best fit their need and budget.

Marketing and sales teams can work in unison to engage and convert accounts by combining their resources. This will also help in creating a specific approach that should ideally improve engagement and subsequent sales.

Creating tailored solutions according to the business needs of the clients and offering them something more can help businesses steer ahead of the competition. Personalization is a vital aspect of ABM and its importance can’t be stressed much upon. When it comes to high-ticket accounts, there is no other way than personalizing the approach to win their trust and appreciation.

The benefits of using ABM

Account based marketing is a value proposition for everyone, including the sales and marketing teams, besides the customers. ABM can work for businesses irrespective of their size, so long as the focus is on high-ticket accounts. It readily aligns with the account-based approach that is followed by sales teams.

They can personalize their approach with the committed involvement of marketing teams. The sales process can become fast-paced with the targeted approach which helps them the sales teams close the attractive deals quickly. Rather than working on dicy leads, the marketing team can work with the sales team closely on a pre-defined list to win clients at a faster rate.

According to a LinkedIn report, “The ROI Argument for Account based marketing”, around 84 percent of businesses that use ABM have agreed that the returns from ABM are higher than traditional marketing campaigns. The marketing team gets a much better understanding of the target audience of the company.

They can also prepare targeted messages for clients as they will value only pitches that they are able to connect with on a personal level. The clients will appreciate it because they will understand that the marketing team has invested their time in creating a customized pitch.

How to engage sales and marketing teams for ABM strategy

For businesses that are looking to achieve success through an ABM strategy, engaging their sales and marketing teams is crucial. If this doesn’t happen, the clients will most likely get a divided experience, with the efforts of sales and marketing overlapping each other.

Both sales and marketing teams must function closely and communicate regularly to create a winning strategy that also becomes successful for the client. They must align each other right from the beginning to craft a well-researched and tailored strategy that is engaging and fits the needs of the client. While generating new business and expanding the existing one remains a priority, businesses must also have certain short-term goals that can be aligned with the long-term goals. Some of these could include:

  • Accelerate the sales cycle
  • Identify the key decision-makers of each client
  • Interact with them on a frequent basis
  • Improve revenues from the existing clients
  • Promote loyalty among existing clients

How to create an ABM strategy?

The first and foremost goal for a business to create a successful Account based marketing strategy must be to align their marketing and sales teams. They must have a common goal of targeting and landing accounts. The marketing team must channelize their efforts and budget towards clients that the sales team feels mort appropriate. This can be done by creating on developing content and strategies with agreed common goals, execute them and monitor the success. Here are some key steps you must follow to create an ABM strategy:

  • Identify high-ticket clients

    Businesses must scan through their existing customer database to select certain clients that ideally meet their requirements. The preferences could be wide, including profitability, long-term prospects and happy clients which make it valuable to work for them.  Engaging with such clients would not only lead to success but also a long-term value for your business.

    Also, it does not mean that the other existing clients must be ignored; rather they can be tapped into for opportunities for expansion. For new clients, identifying their urgency is crucial which could help you determine how much money would they be willing to spend.

  • Select the right resource for the right client

    For businesses that are looking to win bigger deals, it is the core responsibility of the marketing and sales teams to promote a consensus among the important stakeholders. Identifying resources that can wield their influence on the buying decision of the client is important. You can include key people from your management like CMO, CIO, CFO, etc. Individual contacts are important if the entire account is taken into consideration. Aligning the needs of the clients with their strategic objectives should be an important focus area of businesses.

  • Create tailored campaigns

    The next step after selecting the target accounts and the right resources for the right client should be to create tailored campaigns that clients can find engaging. It is vital to create campaigns that can promote better relationships for ensuring the success of ABM. The campaign must include the messages that clearly resonate with the interests and challenges faced by the client and proposed solutions to overcome them.

    The content must ideally have a unique selling proposition (USP), a strong point that could influence the buying decision of the client. The content plan must have a good thought leadership that can resonate with the client. Create an authoritative point of view and frame the story in terms of the value you will be delivered to your client’s business. Including relevant examples that show your ideas are concrete and that you have done your research on the client’s business.

  • Select the right channel

    Identifying the channels used by target accounts and the key stakeholders for their research on trends and solutions can help you. It will vary on different parameters like industries, roles, etc. so a customized approach will help you.

  • Assign right responsibilities

    The roles and responsibilities of all the resources must be clearly specified. The strategy adopted by the marketing and sales teams to connect and engage with clients must also be defined. The campaign must highlight the appropriate channels that will be used to deliver the message.

The next step after the creation of the strategy is the execution. The campaigns can be a mix of direct emails, special events, ads, etc. An account based marketing strategy helps drive relationships, so you can use that to improve your outreach. Once you are done with the execution, the last but the most important part is to evaluate and optimize the results.

For the ABM strategy, the sales and marketing teams are accountable for driving sales and earning revenue. Some of the parameters for evaluating the effectiveness of the campaign would include measuring the account engagement, the number of deals won and their value, and the number of opportunities that were created. The strategy and tactics for the future can be adjusted based on these results.

9 leading account based marketing tools you must try:

  • LinkedIn
  • Marketo
  • Engagio
  • Hubspot
  • Infer
  • Terminus
  • DiscoverOrg
  • Demandbase
  • Azalead

Account based marketing is a promising component of marketing and by integrating sales, it can redefine the way businesses attract clients. ABM can be defined without sales as it is required for a holistic account-based experience. When supported by the right strategy, account based marketing can create a customer-centric experience with better engagement and results.