Account-based marketing is the most recent industry trend to catch on, and for good reason. Companies of all sizes—from mid-market to enterprise—and across all verticals, have tested and seen benefits from ABM and its ability to drive revenue and improve marketing programs, as Peter Isaacson, CMO at Demandbase, told eWEEK.
ABM is an approach that aligns marketing and sales teams to identify and then focus resources on the accounts that, or are most likely to, generate revenue or offer some other strategic benefit. Megan Heuer, VP and group director at SiriusDecisions, attributes the success of ABM to “the way it combines insights for strategy and technology for execution.”
Though the buzz around ABM has been plentiful, actual adoption of the approach has been a little less robust. SiriusDecisions’ “2015 State of Account-Based Marketing” study shows that ABM is essential to improving sales and marketing alignment; however, many marketers believe they lack the support needed to be successful. So although 92 percent of companies acknowledge ABM’s value—with some even calling it a B2B marketing must have—only 20 percent have had full programs in place for more than a year.
The chief concern among study respondents was that they don’t feel their employees have the necessary skill set for ABM and that marketing teams need more support to succeed at ABM. A key aspect of this technology is the alignment of sales and marketing teams to engage customers and prospects appropriately along the funnel.
The good news is that wider implementation is expected throughout the industry. In fact, more than 60 percent plan to invest in ABM technology in the next year and 52 percent of companies say they currently have ABM pilot programs in place.
Insightera’s Mike Telem offers these tips for those companies looking to get started with ABM:
Step 1: Define Your Key Target Accounts:
The first step is to map out the key accounts that really matter—from which any lead would be a relevant one. This list should paint a picture of the “ideal prospect,” or in other words, the type of prospect worth going after, which has a high chance of generating revenue or meeting other strategic goals.
Step 2: Engage Target Accounts with Personalized and Relevant Campaigns Across Channels:
Create content tailored to [each] account’s personal needs, challenges, and pain points. What messaging, offers, and visuals will resonate most with this unique audience? An astounding 82 percent of prospects value content targeted to their specific industry, and content customized to a specific account is valued even more. This step also involves identifying which particular marketing channels your audience is most active on, such as website pages, email marketing, or PPC.
Step 3: Analyze and Optimize Your ABM Performance:
How do you know if ABM is helping to drive engagement, opportunity, and revenue? It all comes down to analyzing how well your marketing efforts are driving results across channels, which is a process that needs to be aligned with the sales team. Tracking KPIs such as engagement levels, conversions, ROI, and customer loyalty can help determine whether your ABM program is performing successfully. Since you’re focused on achieving success with only a small group of high-yield accounts, this makes it easier to analyze which ad campaigns, web content, emails, and events were most effective for each one.
ABM is establishing itself as an important factor in the evolution of B2B marketing as more and more companies adopt it and see tangible results across their organization’s benchmarks. The benefits are demonstrable and the research shows that the industry is taking notice.
Image via Nic Hughes