Account based marketing is everywhere. Or at least the phrase Account Based Marketing is everywhere as when I dig down there seems to be a sizable gap between the words and the reality.
As an experienced B2B marketing professional I’ve been combining marketing tactics and new technology together to drive leads for years but ABM takes it to a new level combining 3 well known technology platforms to deliver unique buyer journeys at scale.
In this series of posts I explore the main topics and themes I’ve been discussing with clients in an effort to help define some of the ideas behind ABM, the realities of execution and how it can impact the bottom line.
So, first things first: What is Account Based Marketing?
Account Based Marketing (ABM) is an evolution in marketing that combines targeted marketing, content creation, marketing automation and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems to deliver highly relevant content to a small number of decision makers and influencers within your target audience.
The aim is to focus your marketing budget on a small number of key businesses so that each small investment makes a big difference to your sales. Most companies have a list of companies that they’d love to do business with and I guess you do to – a top 10 or a top 100 maybe? These prospects really have the power to change how you do things by increasing turnover, profitability and opening up new opportunities for growth or maybe even creating an exit strategy.
So let’s say you have 10 target prospects. You’ve tried picking up the phone to open a dialogue but realistically there’s only so many times you can do that before you start to look desperate. Plus, big businesses are often governed by processes which take time and involve lots of decision makers and influencers. How many times have we been asked to call back in a month or two when the contract’s up for renewal, only to find out the contract’s been renewed and we’ve missed the boat? It’s an all to regular sales experience and a classic case where ABM could help.
Through marketing automation we can target individual decision makers and influencers within your target business. Each individual is sent personalised communications with content that’s relevant to their position. A ‘quality’ message may engage a design engineer but ‘cost’ will excite a purchasing team whilst ‘availability’ or ‘life cycle’ will interest an Operations Director.
Through ABM all these interests can be aligned, but that’s not all. Understanding who makes the decision is only half the battle and the Marketing Automation element will allow us to understand when they’re making that decision. The advances in Marketing Automation allow us to track what a user does online, what information they look for and how interested they are in your company. Are they downloading white papers, visiting links and consuming content or are they surprisingly inactive? Based on their activity each lead is analysed and assigned an intent to buy score which clearly shows how likely a prospect is to buy in the next 3 months (or 6 depending on your average buying cycle). Those prospects with the highest ‘intent to buy’ are moved out of the marketing workflow and into the sales cycle in a timely manner.
So you can see why I’m a fan of Account Based Marketing. The clear focus on personalised, 1:1 journeys is what makes it especially powerful in B2B markets.
Next time I’ll be looking at the components of a good ABM strategy and how to get started including cheat sheets on developing a customer profile and selecting the appropriate channels to ensure success.