Awareness around Account Based Marketing (ABM) has boomed in recent years, but it’s been around since the early 2000s.
For results–driven marketers, ABM is a dream opportunity to drive enviable ROI, with research showing it easily outstrips other approaches: 97% of marketers surveyed agreed ABM had higher ROI than other marketing activities.
That’s great, but what is it?
Account Based Marketing is a strategic marketing approach where sales and marketing work closely together to target potential high growth and key accounts, either customer or prospect, with tailored messaging focused on their specific challenges. ABM campaigns include targeting individual decision makers within the selected accounts with messaging relevant to their operational challenges.
With demand generation, the focus is on creating awareness to a larger market and then moving those interested parties through a marketing funnel until they’re ready to make a decision. Whereas ABM efforts focus on a smaller number of key target accounts and operate on the basis of winning high value opportunities, making the initial intensive efforts and investment worthwhile.
There are many clear benefits to developing an ABM programme, including:
Gives you more focus
Rather than a broad-brush approach, ABM encourages you to focus on those who really need and want your product or service. By tailoring the message directly to key decision makers, you’re effectively bypassing the usual awareness building approach and the reward is far greater.
A higher hit-rate
This is a real opportunity to use highly personalised creative and messaging that cuts through the noise and directly responds to a specific company or department challenge, rather than a broader industry one. This direct response is engaging and rapidly builds trust and rapport, opening the door for a meaningful conversation, and as we’ve already mentioned yields far stronger ROI.
True collaboration between sales and marketing
ABM requires sales and marketing to work together as a team, using all resources in a focused and efficient way. This means sales teams feel far more supported in their efforts and marketers feel much more engaged with the sales follow–up process.
Getting started with ABM
Now we’re not saying chuck out the marketing mix and put all your eggs in the ABM basket. For some business models, it’s not the right approach (we’ll touch on this later). But if you’d like to give it a try there are some straightforward ways to get started.
It’s vital that you set out what you hope to achieve from ABM at the outset of your campaign. Your goals may grow and change over time, but you do need to be clear on what would be a successful result. Remember to be realistic with your goals too, ABM is often a long-term strategy, so don’t expect to see results immediately.
Do you have the team to execute in-house? It’s vital that you commit the time and the resources to an ABM campaign, if you can’t afford to do this in-house, would you consider outsourcing?
Run a workshop between marketing and sales where you work out which clients or prospects would be prime for an ABM approach. Decide here if you wish to spread the risk and opt for a one-to-many approach, rather than a one-to-one.
Now you need to choose your delivery model and start shaping your campaign. Measurement is vital so make sure you have the tools to track your efforts in place. If you’re using a marketing automation tool, ensure your contact data is up to snuff and you’ve mapped your accounts properly. Getting your house in order is crucial before embarking on a detailed and coordinated campaign.
When ABM might not be right
While ABM is a tried and tested marketing approach, there are circumstances when it might not be right for you:
- You don’t have a clearly defined audience and cannot easily isolate high–value potential customers – without this knowledge, it’s difficult to get your ABM programme off the ground.
- You don’t have the insight to map accounts and create tailored messaging – which is essential for ABM success.
- Your sales are largely online rather than led by the sales team – so the sales enablement aspects of your campaign and tailored messaging wouldn’t add value.
- Your deal sizes are smaller, and you’d rather sell volume – ABM works on the idea of going deep with select accounts, if your business model is lower transactional value, high volume sales, there are better ways to market your offer (we can help you with those methods too).
Using ABM to break into new markets
We are currently working with a French technology company seeking to break into the UK, Nordic and Canadian markets. Our client can define their target market as large businesses processing big data, so it makes sense to target the C-Suite of large household brands. To capture the attention of their desired decision maker, they need to stand out, differentiate themselves effectively and offer maximum value. Their product and their buyer are perfect for an ABM campaign.
We are validating our client’s target market data, undertaking additional research to build insights that will enhance their campaign and capture and nurture their target decision–makers.
Does Account Based Marketing sound like a strategy that could be relevant for your business? If you’d like to find out more about how ABM could work for you, we’d love to help you get started. Get in touch today.