What is Account-Based Marketing? The B2B marketer’s lowdown
B2B marketing has never had it so good.
Back in the 2000s, things weren’t so simple. Marketers sought to create content that generated as much traffic for their clients’ websites as possible. The aim was to attract as many visitors as they could, relying on blind faith that surely some of them would take the bait and convert. It was hit and miss in the extreme, and there was no real consistent way of maximising your organisation’s chances.
Luckily, times have changed.
In the B2B space, you’re never just selling to one person – you have to convince a whole raft of decision-makers to buy. Marketing leaders began to realise that the scattergun approach of the past simply wasn’t cutting it, so they devised a method that would: Account-Based Marketing, or ABM.
SO WHAT EXACTLY IS ABM?
Unlike the more traditional approach, ABM is highly focussed, targeting only hand-picked accounts with a personalised message. Hence the name ‘Account-Based Marketing’. It vastly increases the chance of conversion, firstly by specifically targeting those organisations that are likely to hold an interest, and secondly, by feeding them messaging that speaks to their specific business goals. Where the old method was a blind stab in the dark, ABM is a heat-seeking missile.
SOUNDS LIKE A SURE THING…?
Well, yes and no. There’s no doubt that ABM done right vastly increases your campaign’s efficiency and effectiveness. Sadly, not all B2B organisations do get it right. They can easily fall into traps, often due to a lack of experience. So, always here to help, we’ve highlighted a few of the main things to avoid.
KEEPING SALES IN THE DARK
Your sales team must be involved from the get-go. For a campaign to succeed, sales professionals must understand that ABM is radically different from traditional marketing, altering their sales techniques accordingly. They’re a help, not a hindrance – so use them!
MISUNDERSTANDING THE BUYING PHASE
These days, you can’t afford to generalise. ABM is a sophisticated marketing technique that serves each account based on where they sit in the buying phase. Carrying out research for each phase is essential. Without it, your content may be inappropriate for a given client.
DEATH BY DIVERSIFYING
You must keep things specific. Selecting accounts that are too diverse – either in terms of industry, benefit or location – can fragment your campaign, creating too vague a message that doesn’t speak personally enough to convert any account.
ALL YOUR EGGS IN ONE BASKET
Yes, ABM is a little magical, but it isn’t the be-all-and-end-all. Many B2B marketers make the mistake of switching off demand generation from other sources, believing that ABM will solve all of their problems. Sadly, it doesn’t. ABM is complementary to other methods; not a substitute for them.
FAILURE IS YOUR FRIEND (NOT YOUR FOE)
Some campaigns fail because marketers don’t learn from their previous accounts. One of the best things about ABM is its agility, allowing an organisation to refocus their message between accounts, adapting from those instances where things don’t work out. Keep your strategy agile to see continued success.
HOW TO HIT AN ABM HOME-RUN
So now you know what not to do, here’s everything you should be doing. We’ve put it step by step to make it as straightforward as possible. Follow these five stages and you’ll be ready to blow those target accounts away.
STEP 1 – PICK YOUR TARGETS
Work out which organisations can benefit from your services while calculating the revenue potential of each to check whether the investment is worth it. These targets are the rock you’ll build your campaign on, so choose wisely!
STEP 2 – GET PERSONAL
Once you have your targets, it’s time to personalise. Consider each target, their variety of stakeholders and decision-makers and tailor your content accordingly. Every touchpoint should speak to your target’s specific needs.
STEP 3 – MAKE IT RELEVANT
When setting out your strategy you must leverage the critical channels, communicating with your targets in a variety of mediums, with messaging that’s relevant to each. Consider the headspace they’ll be in when they come across a social ad or a search ad, and serve accordingly.
STEP 4 – PLAY THE HERO
Every business has problems they’re looking to solve, and they’re all looking for saviours to ride in and solve them. If you can present yourselves to a target account as the answer to all their prayers regarding a particular problem, they’ll be bound to bite.
STEP 5 – DON’T BE AFRAID TO TINKER
The most successful ABM campaigns are those that adapt as they go. You should constantly be tracking the success of your email campaigns, social media efforts and blog posts to measure target engagement. Look for channels that yield the best results and double-down on those for maximum impact.
THAT’S HOW. BUT WHY?
So you know how it’s done, but why should you adopt Account-Based Marketing? The fact is there are a host of advantages ABM holds over its traditional counterparts. And since it works in such a different way it also complements other B2B marketing methods perfectly.
WHAT YOU GET WITH ABM
A CRYSTAL-CLEAR ROI
When your marketing only targets one company, it is easy to calculate the cost-benefit it brings. Not only that but if things aren’t working, you have visible proof of the need to adapt.
ALIGN SALES AND MARKETING (AT LAST!)
Keeping your sales and marketing departments singing from the same hymn sheet is an age-old problem, but ABM helps you do just that. It gives them the same goals, aiming to nurture leads from the bottom up.
WASTE NOT, WANT NOT
No good business likes throwing resources away on a lost cause. By using ABM efficiently you can concentrate solely on the truly worthwhile accounts.
SO THAT’S THAT
ABM in a nutshell. What to do, what not to do, and why you should be seriously considering adoption. Account-Based Marketing is a unique and intriguing addition to your marketing armoury and one you can’t afford to leave out. It may require a different approach, obliging you to build relationships from the ground up rather than sieving through general traffic, but in doing so it can help you gain vastly improved returns. Not bad, hey? If you’re interested, find out more about our ABM programmes here.