Account-based marketing (ABM) is a strategy where the marketing and sales departments come together to create personalized buying experiences for high-value accounts. Account-based marketing is a business-to-business (B2B) approach in which marketing and sales teams work together to target high-value accounts and turn them into customers.
Understanding account-based marketing
Account-based marketing is certainly not a new concept, though it has seen renewed interest in recent years. In the past, it was difficult to scale account-based marketing because it required a high level of personalization. Technological advancements have now made the ABM approach more accessible for businesses looking to develop highly targeted marketing content.
Essentially, the individual client account is considered a market in its own right, with each having a dedicated strategic approach to deepen the level of engagement across the entire marketing process.
In an era characterized by abundant information and fierce competition, it has never been more important for businesses to focus on accounts with the potential to deliver the highest return on investment.
Implementing account-based marketing
For most businesses, account-based marketing will feel like learning a new language. Instead of marketing to a demographic or buyer persona, the focus is on a specific organization.
Below we have listed some general steps to help businesses hit the ground running:
- Define the strategic accounts – the business must begin by identifying the type of organization that will deliver the best ROI. This can be done by evaluating industry, company size, location, annual revenue, profit margin, or upsell potential.
- Investigate key stakeholders – with the strategic accounts identified, it is prudent to identify the key stakeholders in these organizations. Who are the key decision-makers? How are decisions made? LinkedIn can be a good source of information, as can any previous interactions with the organization.
- Create personalized content – as with traditional marketing strategies, the content should address specific pain points and detail how they can be addressed. Personalized content is fundamental to account-based marketing because the content needs to speak directly to the potential client.
- Decide on channels – where do the stakeholders spend their time? A marketing team targeting financial executives may choose to run ads on Bloomberg or Market Watch. Facebook and LinkedIn can also be good places to start because they allow the creation of targeted ad campaigns for specific organizations and the role titles within those organizations.
- Execute the campaign – when it comes time to run the marketing campaign, it is important to reiterate that the business is only marketing to a single client. Avoid bombarding them with messages across multiple channels in quick succession.
- Measure and share results – after one or two months have passed, it is time to evaluate the effectiveness of the marketing campaign. Was the content engaging? Were any of the leads moved further down the funnel? Was any revenue generated? Were there any areas for improvement?
Benefits of account-based marketing
Businesses who are trying to sell into accounts with long sales cycles and large deal sizes will benefit the most from account-based marketing.
Here are some of the specific benefits they can enjoy:
- Personalization – perhaps the most obvious benefit of account-based marketing is the degree of personalization offered to the client. Lucrative accounts attract a higher investment from marketing and sales, which deepens the relationship between the two parties.
- Shorter sales cycles – major purchase decisions can involve multiple stakeholders which slow the process down. In account-based management, these stakeholders are nurtured simultaneously to ensure a streamlined and more efficient sales cycle. What’s more, there are fewer steps in an ABM sales cycle when compared to traditional marketing.
- Increased collaboration – both sales and marketing teams work collaboratively to identify accounts, craft customized campaigns, and move accounts through the pipeline before and after lead conversion has occurred. The transparency of the ABM approach ensures both teams are focused on the same goals and understand the specific roles of each stakeholder.
- Account-based marketing (ABM) is a strategy where the marketing and sales departments come together to create personalized buying experiences for high-value accounts. Essentially, the individual client account is considered a market in its own right.
- Account-based marketing implementation can be performed by following six key steps: define strategic accounts, investigate key stakeholders, create personalized content, decide on channels, execute the campaign, and measure and share results. Teams should be careful not to bombard the client with similar marketing messages across multiple channels.
- Account-based marketing has multiple benefits, including a higher degree of personalization, shorter sales cycles, and increased collaboration between the sales and marketing departments.
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