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Account-Based Marketing (ABM): What Is It & How to Make It Work

Contents

There are many fish in the sea. “Fish” being of course an analogy for your potential clients in the business world. There are small fish and there are big fish.

If you’re going for the small fish, there’s nothing wrong with using standard digital marketing techniques to catch them. But if you’re going for the big fish, well, then you’re going to need more advanced techniques.

This is where account-based marketing comes into play. And here’s what you need to know about it.

What is Account-Based Marketing (ABM)?

Account-based marketing is, first and foremost about one thing: quality over quantity. It’s about marketing to fewer targets that have more value.

ABM transforms the traditional marketing funnel or even the growth funnel. Rather than spending time and resources on many potential clients, you focus on a smaller number of high-value accounts with the most significant revenue potential.

This approach helps align your sales and marketing teams, ensuring they work together to close deals with these top-priority accounts.

Who is account-based marketing for?

Like with every successful marketing strategy, account-based marketing needs the right time and the right place. More precisely, there are companies and organizations that usually make the most out of an ABM strategy.

1. B2B companies

In B2B markets, the target audience is usually smaller and more defined. ABM is ideal here because it allows targeted marketing efforts toward specific businesses rather than a broad audience.

With the exception of very high ticket products and services in B2C, usually in the form of luxury goods, ABM is a weapon mostly used in B2B than the B2C arsenal.

2. Companies with high-value accounts

This one is pretty straightforward. Firms targeting large enterprises or high-value clients find ABM effective because it focuses on specific, high-revenue accounts.

By focusing on specific accounts with the highest potential value, ABM helps maximize return on investment (ROI). Larger deals equal substantial revenue gains compared to a broader, less targeted approach.

3. Organizations with long sales cycles

Some products and services require a longer sales cycle. In these scenarios, it takes more time for a marketing-qualified lead (MQL) to become a sales-qualified lead (SQL) due to the significant investment required.

Therefore, MQLs may remain in the nurturing phase longer as they require more information and reassurance before they become SQLs. This is where ABM comes in, as it helps in building and nurturing relationships over time.

Account-Based Marketing Benefits

ABM is a solid strategy for businesses that want to see their sales and marketing efforts pay off. Here are some of the top benefits:

  1. Higher ROI: ABM delivers higher returns than most other marketing strategies.  Since you are focusing on specific accounts with the highest potential value, you have a better ROI.
  1. Personalized marketing: With ABM, your marketing messages hit the mark more effectively. You’re talking directly to the needs and wants of your chosen companies, which makes your message more compelling and more likely to get a positive response.
  1. Shorter sales cycles: Since ABM requires sales and marketing to work closely, there’s less back and forth. You already know what the accounts want and how to approach them, so the path from initial contact to close is smoother and faster.
  1. Better customer experience: Tailoring your approach to each specific account not only enhances the effectiveness of your campaigns but also makes your customers feel understood and valued. This personalized experience often leads to higher satisfaction and loyalty.
  1. Streamlined sales and marketing alignment: ABM naturally brings your sales and marketing teams together because they have to coordinate closely to target and win accounts. This alignment can lead to improved communication and teamwork across your company.


Source

Key Components of Account-Based Marketing

So how can you make ABM work? Let’s assume that you have an ERP system for manufacturing companies and you are looking to put ABM into action. This is what it could look like.

1. Identifying high-value target accounts

The first step in any successful ABM strategy is choosing the right accounts. This involves using data and analytics to pinpoint which companies are most suitable for your business. Therefore, you need to choose the right manufacturing companies that are most likely to benefit from and invest in your ERP system.

Objective

Choose the right manufacturing companies that are most likely to benefit from and invest in your ERP system.

Implementation

1. Data Analysis: Use data analytics to identify manufacturing companies with high annual revenue, a large number of employees, and a complex operational structure.

2. Criteria for selection – 

  • Revenue: Companies with annual revenue over $100 million.
  • Employee count: Companies with more than 500 employees.
  • Technology needs: Companies currently using outdated or fragmented systems that would benefit from an integrated ERP solution

> In practice

Company A: A global manufacturing giant with $200 million in annual revenue, 1,200 employees, and reliance on multiple outdated systems for different departments.

Company B: A European manufacturer with $750 million in revenue and 2,500 employees, that has stayed behind in digital transformation.

Company C: A North American manufacturer with $600 million in revenue and 3,000 employees, who is still using a legacy system.

2. Personalizing marketing efforts for each account

Once you’ve identified your target accounts, the next step is to craft personalized marketing strategies for each of the accounts–what is known as B2B marketing personalization.

Objective

Develop and implement tailored marketing strategies for each high-value target account.

Implementation

1. Customized messaging: Create personalized messages addressing the specific pain points of each company, such as operational inefficiencies or integration issues.

2. Targeted content: Develop case studies, whitepapers, and webinars that highlight how your ERP system has successfully transformed other manufacturing companies with similar challenges.

[https://growthrocks.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/content-marketing-funnel.jpg]

3. Personalized products/services: Offer tailored demonstrations and trials that showcase the features of your ERP system most relevant to each target account’s unique needs.

> In practice

Company A: Emphasize how the ERP system can integrate their various outdated systems 

into a single, efficient platform, reducing operational costs and improving data accuracy.

Company B: Focus on the digital transformation journey and how your ERP can streamline their processes, leading to enhanced productivity and reduced downtime.

Company C: Highlight case studies of North American manufacturers who faced similar challenges and successfully implemented your ERP solution to achieve significant improvements.

3. Aligning sales and marketing

ABM requires tight coordination between your sales and marketing teams. Both teams need to work together to understand the account’s needs, design customized campaigns, and share insights and feedback from interactions with the account.

Objective

Ensure close collaboration between sales and marketing teams to create a unified approach.

Implementation

1. Shared goals and metrics: Establish common goals, growth metrics, and account-specific KPIs that both teams are accountable for.

2. Collaborative campaign design: Work together to design campaigns, ensuring that the messaging is consistent and that the sales team is equipped with the right materials to engage the target accounts effectively.

3. RevOps: Revenue Operations (RevOps) is the integration of marketing, sales, and service operations in order to create one department that keeps all its members accountable to revenue.

image1
Source: getfunnelcake.com

In ABM, having accurate and comprehensive data about target accounts is essential for creating personalized marketing campaigns. This is where RevOps comes in.

>In practice

Marketing team: Develops a detailed content plan that includes personalized emails, tailored webinars, and account-specific landing pages.

Sales team: Uses personalized content to engage in meaningful conversations with the target accounts, providing demos and follow-ups tailored to the specific needs discussed in the marketing materials.

Feedback loop: Sales provides feedback on the interactions and responses from the target accounts, which marketing uses to refine and adjust the campaigns accordingly.

4. Measuring success based on account-level metrics

Unlike traditional or even growth marketing metrics, ABM focuses on metrics that matter at the account level—like account engagement, deal size, or revenue generated per account. These metrics help you understand the impact of your ABM efforts and guide future strategies.

Objective

Track and analyze the success of your ABM efforts using metrics relevant to each account.

Implementation

Engagement metrics: Measure account engagement through website visits, content downloads, webinar attendance, and email response rates.

Deal size: Track the size and value of deals closed with each target account.

Revenue generated: Monitor the revenue generated from each account to assess the overall  ROI of your ABM strategy.

> In practice

For Company A: Track the number of interactions with your marketing content, the depth of engagement in product demos, and the eventual deal size.

For Company B: Measure the progress through the sales funnel, from initial engagement to final contract signing, and the total revenue generated.

For Company C: Analyze the feedback from the sales team on account readiness and the efficiency improvements realized post-implementation, tying these back to revenue growth.

Conclusion

Implementing an account-based marketing strategy may not require different tools, or even hands on deck, than those you already have. It’s possible that you already have the assets but you need to change the direction to make it happen. Which can take time on its own.

Do you need help with your ABM strategy? Are you looking to outsource your ABM? Or maybe you have a team and you are looking for the know-how through consultation or a fractional CMO?

Either way, you can contact us and find out more about how we can help you grow your business.

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