As opposed to only focusing on outboound marketing strategies, the marketing space has been constantly evolving with the introduction of interesting tools and methodologies to service the customers and prospects better. Account-based marketing is one of those tools that has garnered a colossal amount of attention in recent times with more businesses adopting inbound marketing strategies. As the times are progressing, business space is making headway for potent competitors to come into play, thereby giving consumers innumerable options to choose from. This is where marketers face challenges to attract, convert new prospects, and retain them. And this is also where account-based marketing raises the stakes. Stats say that about 60% of firms plan to launch an ABM-based campaign in the next year and why aren’t we surprised?!
What is Account-based Marketing?
In simple terms, it is a highly focused marketing strategy in which an individual prospect or a customer is treated like its very own market. The marketing team creates content and campaigns dedicated to the people associated with that account, rather than for the industry as a whole. In its entirety, it fundamentally is personalised marketing for specific existing and even potential customers. In short, account-based marketing can help you with the following:
- Strategic and focused marketing initiatives
- Maximising the ROI from marketing campaigns and activities
- More sales opportunities with further revenue growth
Why Should You Use ABM?
Most B2B businesses already have some or the other elements of account-based marketing in their overall marketing plan. And sometimes, it is used as an adjunct to a larger digital strategy. However, based on where the customers are in their buying journey, it can act as an imperative counterpart of your big strategy as it is specifically designed to resonate with a particular set of people you are trying to target. So, why should a business care about account-based marketing amidst many marketing strategies? Let’s understand some key factors that will help you decide if it’s for you.
Since marketing strategies are crafted assuming a generalised approach, there seems to be a lack of connection with the consumers as the preferences and opinions of some represent all the others. So, to establish a connection, ABM is conducive to all of your messaging and content to an intimate cohort of people. At an enterprise level, where the sales and marketing teams are constantly developing content, account-based marketing gives them the opportunity to develop highly personalised communication made for their specific targeted list.
Prompt Sales Cycles
One of the key parts of marketing - lead generation, can also be one of the most challenging tasks. You might be successful in garnering a good amount of traffic on your website but ultimately getting them to purchase or sign up for your product or service can be arduous. ABM helps you filter your leads to direct your focus towards prospects who can potentially convert as customers and also lets you know about the ones that simply wouldn’t become your customers, thus prompting and shortening the sales cycle.
Scrutiny of Campaign Performance
Every penny you spend with your marketing efforts needs accountability and it is necessary to have returns on your investment. Also, it is very important for you to keep a track on the number of resources being used and the ultimate campaign performance in the market. ABM helps bring in the stability in times of your highs and lows, keeping a check on your campaign performance to help you know what worked well and what didn’t.
How to Decide When to Implement ABM in Your Business
According to Gartner, “75% of B2B technology service providers with more than $10 million dollars in revenue will be adopting account-based marketing as their primary market model in 2019—a 50% increase from 2017.”
There are various signs that can act as a clarion call for your business to implement Account-Based Marketing. Some of them are as follows:
- Your sales cycle is really long and is getting increasingly complicated because of the outlays and commitment required from the buyer and often involves multiple stakeholders.
- The amount of investment you’re putting in your marketing campaigns aren’t generating desired returns or are not performing well.
- You are having a hard time generating leads and retaining your customers.
According to Small Business Trends, “The average American business loses 15% of its customers each year. As customer retention is one of the key aspects for business growth, ABM can play an important role in the same.”
Steps For Implementing ABM Correctly
For any strategy to be successful, more so in the case of account-based marketing, it is imperative that the sales and marketing teams work together. And that’s also the first step towards implementing an ABM strategy - getting the two teams to share common goals, objectives, communication strategy, and metrics. Now, let’s understand the steps that need to be taken appropriately for a successful ABM campaign.
1. Identifying Key Accounts
Knowing who you are targeting form the basis of the first step of the implementation process. For identifying the right accounts, have a broader overview of each and every company that you are planning to target. So, first, analyse your existing customer base to identify the potential profitable and long run partnerships. Be thorough with their previous campaigns, marketing efforts, pain-points, high-points, and then tailor relevant solutions for them. Keep an eye out for the new and potential accounts as well and see if they fit the criteria.
2. Create Engaging Content
After you have identified the right account list, form a competent ABM team and start creating engaging content for them. This is also where account-based marketing and inbound marketing work in tandem in order to create enticing content to reach your targeted list. Here are some tips:
- Analyse the targeted accounts’ behaviour, their likes and dislikes
- Develop a well-articulated communication strategy that you can use in the campaign
- Have some strong insights ready with the backing of some data points
- Weave your story around the value you are going to deliver
3. Choose the Right Channel
Even if you have the best ABM team employed to create really interesting and engaging content, it will not be of use if you don’t have the right channels to promote the same. So, study the buyer’s persona and have an idea about which channels the personas within each account are most likely to be using, and how they consume the content you're custom-creating for each one of them.
4. Execute the Campaign
But before that, be cautious that your messaging is integrated and you do not send out different messages to the same account through different channels. According to Account-Based Marketing: Fundamentals Every B2B Marketer Must Know report, “82% of visitors to B2B sites aren't even actual prospects.’’ This is why it is important to choose the right targets and channels to make sure that your messaging is not conflicting.
5. Analyse, Measure and Optimise
67% of Chief Marketing Officers have an issue in proving the return on their marketing efforts. Measure the results of your ABM campaigns in terms of the level of effectiveness with the help of sales and maketing joint efforts. Since it is highly targeted and different from other digital campaigns, it is important to pay attention to the metrics as well. Take notice of the purchase cycle, won deals, etc and optimise your efforts as and when needed.
How to Run an ABM Campaign With HubSpot
As HubSpot puts it - ABM is targeted, calculated, and when executed properly, highly effective. The free HubSpot CRM makes it easy to manage your key accounts. Add a single contact, and HubSpot will automatically populate all the information it can find on that contact’s company and connections. HubSpot also lets you see the growth of your targeted accounts over time, see their revenue growth, engagement levels, etc. With the right amalgamation of personalised emails, CTAs, and messaging, you can track the success of your ABM campaigns in real time.
Running your first account-based marketing campaign? Get in touch with experts and get results faster this quarter.