(and how not to screw it up)
Photo by Eugene Chystiakov on Unsplash
There’s plenty of fish… or not?
Account-based strategies are personalized, multi-channel, multi-threaded, outbound activities aimed at creating high-value opportunities in new and existing customers.
If we compare it with previous marketing strategies, it’s like fishing with a spear instead of a net: you may try to attract everyone (and anyone) to your web or aim at well-defined target audience which will more likely convert into a high-quality lead.
EXTRACT: ABM is a so-called “zero-waste” marketing (we know you love all those trendy names).
And so instead of attracting a lot of people to your website and then converting one specific you start with defining your target and focus on that particular one. ABM is a highly efficient system, one that eliminates the “by-catch” problem of inbound marketing (i.e. when you generate a ton of low-quality leads that will never convert).
ABM enables one-on-one interactions that can build relationships with prospects and ensure success with customers. It works because it fosters real and authentic human engagement.
ABM Vs Inbound
Still, let’s not discard classic inbound marketing. While ABM is a proven strategy for enterprise deals — let’s say, 500 closings — inbound is perfect for small and medium-sized business deals — 500,000 nice and secure ones.
Also, it’s possible to consider inbound as a first step: ABM can pick up the potential lead right where the massive strategies leave it.
But just to clear it up and sum everything said earlier, here are the differences between account-based marketing and inbound marketing
- ABM marketing is highly targeted. Instead of relying on broad-reaching campaigns, ABM focuses on just those prospects that are most likely to buy. In order to source these high-quality prospects, account-based marketing professionals build ideal customer profiles (ICPs) using firmographic and technographic data (and sometimes predictive analytics).
- ABM marketing focuses on accounts, not markets or industries. Account-based marketing pros gain a deep understanding of their target accounts in order to create content and campaigns optimized for them.
- ABM marketing targets both prospects and customers. ABM’s goal is to “land and expand” using optimized campaigns to bring in new customers and act on opportunities to grow current accounts (i.e. cross-sell, upsell).
One more thing. When it comes to closing a b2b-deal, it’s rarely a single person making the decision. (With enterprise deals in particular, 17 people are typically involved in the decision-making process…17!) ABM differs from other types of marketing in that it acknowledges all of the different people — and different viewpoints — that comprise each account. While classic strategies usually make no difference between those.
What about numbers, huh?
Account-based marketing outperforms any other known strategies.
It’s no secret that quality comes before quantity in almost any case.
Even as far back as 2014, ITSMA developed a survey where they found almost 85% of marketers that measured their ROI said their ABM initiatives outperformed some of their other marketing investments, with 50% of those saying the difference was significant.
According to FlipMyFunnel, companies using ABM generate 200% more revenue for their marketing efforts compared to those that don’t.
Although it needs to be stated: personalized marketing is a long-term investment. Prepare for an over-a-year relationship before you’ll be able to report first revenue increases. But it’s definitely worth it: SiriusDecisions has reported 91% of marketers that use ABM have indicated a larger deal size, with 25% stating their deal size being over 50% larger.
When in outbound do as outbounders do
In most cases account-based strategies follow these steps:
– Select a list of targets that are most likely to deliver revenue sorted based on entitlements.
– Identify people: find the buying contacts based on your ideal buyer profiles.
– Develop account insights: learn what matters for each contact so your interactions are relevant and resonant.
– Generate messages and content (create or adapt existing content).
– Deliver account-specific interactions.
– Synchronize all the interactions into coordinated plays that align with your goals.
– Measure progress and program ROI.
To be effective, programs must be:
- Narrow-targeted – aimed at selected accounts, not huge undifferentiated lists
- Personalized – based on relevant conversations
- Researched – driven by systematic insight generation
- Integrated – a coordinated effort as a part of a more global strategy
- Extended throughout the entire lifecycle of the account, from acquisition to advocacy
The best account-based programs at the highest level reach people at the right time with relevant, personalized touches that drive engagement.