The problem with traditional digital marketing and sales strategies is that in most cases, only 1% of leads turn into customers. In today’s B2B world, dominating your space requires creative, aggressive approaches to capturing greater market share. Account Based Marketing (ABM) is one trending solution that’s bringing real results for many B2B marketers.
What is ABM, and why is it catching on so quickly with B2B companies?
ABM is a strategy that allows companies to target high-value accounts and group those accounts by characteristics (making marketing to them easier). Rather than a scattershot approach that sends the same generalized sales messaging to everyone, ABM improves the efficiency of marketing efforts by gaining revenue with fewer assets, and at a lower cost.
As noted in last week’s blog, 71% of B2B companies are either considering, testing, or already using ABM as of 2016.
What kinds of insights does it yield, and for what purpose?
Buyer personas has always been an essential part of marketing. ABM takes that concept and refines it further, so that the buyer persona is incorporated throughout the buyer’s journey and more importantly, the buying lifecycle.
ABM focuses on relationships, with an emphasis on keeping them going.
The upfront research needed for a good ABM strategy pays off. Analyzing a buyer’s needs and situation, both present and future, helps you differentiate what your goals are.
There are opportunity goals (what am I going to sell?) and relationship goals (how do I make sure they want to stay my customer?). ABM lets you look at the whole picture, to see if they are a one-time buy or a potential long-term customer.
ABM makes your sales team more efficient.
Salespeople should be interacting with customers and closing deals, and not spending the majority of their time on the grunt work of finding information and contacts. Here are some things that ABM helps take off the salespersons plate:
- Finding information and contacts
- Initiating a customer’s first engagement
- Thinking of things to say
- Finding content to share
- Engaging on social channels
Once the initial research and setup is done, it makes marketers more efficient too.
By focusing on a smaller number of accounts, you’re achieving quality over quantity. You’re not wasting resources on prospects who are least likely to buy. The accounts you do target and nurture are the big ones, with higher payoffs. And with fewer accounts to track, it’s easier to keep tabs on results as your marketing progresses.
With ABM, you also benefit from better alignment between marketing and sales, who don’t always orchestrate their efforts – even though they should. Sales needs to tell marketing who they’re talking to, who’s about to purchase, and who’s already purchased so marketing can understand what’s working and what isn’t. With a formal ABM strategy in use, those conversations become automatic.
Smarter use of your customer data will allow you to develop precision-targeted, customized messaging to help you increase your sales pipeline velocity.
Finally, ABM can enhance your company’s brand. A more personalized, efficient marketing strategy can make a surprisingly positive impression on your sales prospects. In fact, customer experience during the buying phase is cited by 71% of customers as the most important factor in their buying decision, leaving price and even product fit far behind.
There is definitely some upfront time and investment required. If you’re considering adopting an ABM strategy and don’t know where to start, consider consulting with an experienced marketing firm for guidance and best practices.
Shannon Prager is the President of Leadit Marketing. She is responsible for the daily operations and management of Leadit Marketing as well as the long term vision for the company.
A marketing leader with over 17 years of B2B demand generation and marketing experience, she understands the importance of a fully developed marketing strategy. Shannon’s background includes demand generation, marketing automation, social media and marketing operations. You can follow her on Twitter via: @LeaditMarketing