Account Based Marketing or ABM is set to become one of the marketing watch-words for business-to-business marketing in 2020. An integrated and focused approach to marketing, it can provide significant results for businesses who sell to other businesses and can well define their target customers.
We’ll take a look at what it means, how it can be implemented and the potential benefits.
What is Account Based Marketing?
Account Based Marketing is a strategy that directs marketing efforts and resources towards engaging a very specific set of existing or potential clients. It requires close alignment between sales and marketing teams to ensure every marketing material, communication or touch-point is highly personalised, with account-specific messaging.
It relies on cooperation and collaboration between sales and marketing, so both teams should be ready to share information and work closely together.
Why use Account Based Marketing?
Like most marketing initiatives, the desired outcome of Account Based Marketing is higher sales and greater client value; all achieved in a shorter time frame. Account Based Marketing focuses activities on those existing or potential relationships which represent the greatest likelihood of conversion and the highest potential value.
Instead of casting a wide net, it helps break through the noise of more usual marketing by putting something highly targeted and personalised in front of decision-makers in the businesses you target most.
It’s all about the sniper rifle, not the shotgun!
How does Account Based Marketing work?
When marketing and sales share the same objectives, they can collaborate around common goals and increase their chances of success. Thus, Account Based Marketing begins with both parties working together to develop a joint strategy.
Whilst the ultimate objective is to land new accounts, or expand business with existing ones, it’s best to first identify the smaller goals that align to your desired outcome. For example, receiving a positive response from a potential customer, discussing their needs or pitching a proposal. Focusing in these will make you more likely to succeed the ultimate prize.
Who should Account Based Marketing target?
Sales and marketing need to analyse your existing customer base and identify your ideal customer. This is typically those who are most profitable, long-term, happy and easy to work with. Typically, they are the businesses which get the most benefit from whatever you provide and keep returning for more.
Once you’ve detailed your ideal account, look for other existing clients who could be developed to join them. Now look outside your current customer base at the companies and organisation you’d like to land. Ensure the companies you identify have an urgent need you could address and you can compel them to spend a profitable amount. Be honest with yourselves though! You’re interested in selecting the genuine low-hanging fruit, not making an overly optimistic play for an unachievable new client.
Business decisions are typically made by multiple people. For any significant B2B purchase, your Account Based Marketing needs to help drive consensus among all the stakeholders involved. Therefore, you need to identify everyone who may exert an influence over the buying-decision and target each one individually as part of your campaign.
How should Account Based Marketing influence your marketing messaging?
Account Based Marketing relies on tailoring messages to all individuals, in order to create the greatest likelihood of converting the whole account.
Each individual will essentially be subject to a personalised marketing campaign. Whilst many recipients within a business may be swayed by the same messages, each has their own perspective and their needs may differ. You need to develop a message and content which resonates with them to build and nurture a relationship.
Being B2B marketing, success is greatest when you provide useful information and a consultative approach; mapped to where the recipient is in their buying cycle. Align your messages and content with their interests, needs, influence and challenges they may be experiencing. Develop a unique value proposition and relevant content aimed at each stakeholder.
Demonstrate your expertise, use real world examples and show your company is a diligent partner or supplier which has done its homework and provides value. If your messages and content are strong, recipients may also share them with other stakeholders you’re targeting in the buying-decision.
Which marketing channels should Account Based Marketing use?
Evaluate and choose the marketing methods and channels most likely to successfully deliver your message for each account and individual.
It’s best to begin by identify the channels the recipients are most likely to favour themselves when searching, researching and selecting new products or services.
Marketing methods can include email, direct mail, social media, digital advertising, printed materials, special events and more. However, the most effective may vary even within one account, so don’t assume one-size-fits-all.
Before delivering the campaign, specify the activities and timings both sales and marketing will deliver. Map out as much as possible and have regular progress meetings to ensure everyone is on schedule and to learn from results and feedback.
What is the secret to success with Account Based Marketing?
Ensuring sales and marketing work together as a close team is the secret to success with Account Based Marketing. Marketing is largely about timing, especially with B2B products and services. A timely call or meeting is the most effective way to convert highly targeted marketing materials and channels.
What makes Account Based Marketing so effective for B2B?
Many businesses already utilise elements of Account Based Marketing such as personalised emails, invites to events and account management. Most businesses can also identify those to whom they could sell more or specific companies they’d like to attract. Account Based Marketing focuses efforts and ensures both marketing and sales are jointly accountable for success and progressing accounts along the buying process.
If you’d like help implementing and benefiting from ABM, visit https://fullmixmarketing.co.uk/contact