This is an exciting time for marketers because digital transformation has created new opportunities for marketing innovations, new channels, and new strategies. However, it has also brought new challenges.
In today’s business world, consumers are overwhelmed with digital communication. In 2019, the average person received and sent 124.5 billion emails per day! To stand out from the competition and make sure your communication with potential and current customers is effective, you need to be strategic.
This refers to giving your audience a positive experience that is consistent, relevant, and easy to remember.
It is not easy to turn a business around to be customer-focused. However, using a account-based marketing strategy known as ABM can help. Many marketers (92%) believe that ABM is essential to B2B marketing.
What Is Account-Based Marketing (ABM)?
Although account-based marketing is not a new technology, it is a reliable strategy that requires collaboration between marketing and sales teams. This customer experience-centric approach offers more targeted, personalized opportunities.
B2B marketers are concentrating their resources on particular accounts that fit their services and products, instead of broadly appealing to potential buyers. Furthermore, ABM involves finding the key players in each account to make sure the message is received by those with the buying power.
The vast majority of respondents in a research study reported much higher ROI from ABM campaigns than from traditional marketing techniques that wait for ideal buyers to come to them.
How is ABM Different from Inbound Marketing?
While account-based marketing tries to find businesses that would most need your product or service, inbound content marketing brings in companies that are already interested. You can use both at the same time to get the best results.
The benefits of ABM allow for targeted and efficient resource allocation which in turn helps you attract a broader group of prospects. The main tactic of ABM is account-based selling which is a targeted sales strategy that focuses on key accounts instead of trying to sell to as many people as possible.
What are the Benefits of Account-Based Marketing?
Some key benefits of account-based marketing for B2B businesses are: 1. It allows you to focus your marketing efforts on a specific target market. 2. You can customize your marketing message and approach for each customer. 3. It helps you build long-term relationships with customers. 4. It can improve your leads and sales conversions. 5. You can increase your customer lifetime value.
Align Sales and Marketing
For a collaboration to be successful, both parties have to be working towards the same goal. Having a common goal creates alignment between sales and marketing.
The reason this is important is because research has found that organizations who have tightly aligned sales and marketing divisions have 36% higher customer retention rates and 38% higher sales win rates. This helps ensure consistency through all communications, interactions, and content for those accounts – creating a better customer experience.
Create Personalized Customer Experiences
ABM is not about sending out content to a large group of people who are not interested. It is about taking the time to research your potential customers and design campaigns that are personalized to them. This creates a better customer experience and most marketers have seen improvements because of it. Consumers also want brands to get to know them on a personal level so that they understand when to approach them and when to back off.
The goal of ABM is to create long-term relationships with clients that last for months or even years. This type of marketing is all about consistency and developing a strong rapport with each client. You need to make each account feel like they are your only focus in order to keep them engaged.
Improve Customer Relationships
When it comes to ABM, it’s more important to focus on a smaller group of high-quality leads than to try to reach a larger number of less qualified leads that may never convert.
marketers say that ABM (Account Based Marketing) improves customer lifetime values and win rates. As a result, companies earn more customer loyalty, and those customers become spokespeople for the brand. Increasing customer retention by 5% can increase profits from 25-95%.
Effectively Measure Your Return on Investment
Since everything a B2B marketer does is for the purpose of achieving results, account-based marketing is an effective technique because it allows marketers to measure the return on investment for the accounts they have been focusing on. This gives them a better understanding of whether or not certain accounts they have invested in are actually beneficial for their business.
Based on the data, it can be concluded that account-based marketing is an effective investment and one in five accounts targeted becomes a qualified sales opportunity.
Maximize Your Business’s Relevance
To do account-based marketing, you need to make all your content, communications, and campaigns personalized for each account you’re targeting. This way, you’ll be more relevant to those accounts.
This is because your content and interactions are specifically tailored to show your target accounts how your products, services, and other offerings can solve their challenges. This makes it so that your business is the most relevant and ideal option for them.
Deliver Consistent Customer Experiences
To have a successful ABM strategy, you must make sure that your accounts are always happy. Each account should feel like they are your only customer. You can do this by offering consistent customer experiences.
If you want to succeed with an ABM strategy, it’s important to have a good relationship between Sales and Marketing. Make sure everyone involved knows where the customer is in their buying journey, so you can give them the right information at the right time. This might include things like personalized messages, targeted campaigns, and product pricing details.
Measure Your Return on Investment
Account-based marketing allows you to measure ROI for each account you invest time and resources in. This is beneficial because it allows you to confirm that certain accounts you invested in were a good fit for your business.
Once you have identified and targeted potential accounts, you can then nurture and retain them over the long term. If the data shows that your ROI tactics were successful, then you can use that information to continue your strategy.
Streamline the Sales Cycle
Depending on your business, industry, and resources, the sales cycle typically looks something like this:
1) Identify potential customers → 2) Make initial contact → 3)Investigate needs and wants → 4) Offer a proposal → 5) Complete the sale → 6) Ensure customer satisfaction
With account-based marketing, this cycle is streamlined — by focusing your efforts on specific high-value target accounts, you save time and resources — meaning, you’ll have more time to focus on the stages of the cycle that positively impact your bottom line:
To succeed in sales, you need to follow these four steps: first, identify your target accounts; second, present your product or service to those accounts; third, close the sale with those accounts; and fourth, delight your customer after the sale is complete.
ABM can help you to streamline your sales cycle by improving efficiency. By targeting specific accounts that are a good match for your business, rather than trying to prospect and qualify a large number of leads, you can save time and effort. If your marketing and sales teams are working together well and providing consistent, personalized customer experiences, this can also help to streamline the sales cycle.
Best Practices: How to Implement an ABM Strategy
When implementing account-based marketing, there are three strategies to consider: (1) focus on a few key accounts, (2) personalize your marketing approach for each account, and (3) track your progress and adapt your strategy as needed. By focusing on a few key accounts, you can better tailor your marketing approach and increase your chances of success.
Create an ABM Team
Almost half of the average marketing team’s time is dedicated to ABM. The first step to successfully implementing an ABM strategy is to get important company players on board who can help with the various channels involved. Coordinating your campaign with the right people is crucial for success.
The minimum team for an effective ABM strategy should include one marketer and one sales rep who are both dedicated to the accounts they work with. This allows for consistent experiences for different accounts and a more efficient strategy.
Create Alignment Between Your Sales and Marketing Teams
If there is a disconnect between the marketing and sales teams, there will be a disconnect in the customer experience as well. It’s important for marketing and sales to be aligned when implementing account-based marketing, in order to create a custom buying experience for the customer. If marketing and sales aren’t working together, the customer will have a poor experience.
Both marketing and sales teams need to agree on clearer communication and a working middle-ground to make sure that the leads being brought in can be properly sold.
If you’re just beginning to use account-based marketing, you only need a small team consisting of one marketer and one salesperson. As your campaigns get bigger, you should prioritize having your marketer support more salespeople. Marketers can usually handlealigning with up to 10 salespeople, and each salesperson can manage up to 10 accounts.
Conduct Research to Determine Account Personas
When marketing and sales departments work together and share information, they can make sure that company resources are being used to target the right kind of customer.
This usually begins with a period of research to identify which accounts to pursue. When identifying customer personas for an account-based marketing approach, marketers should consider:
- The mission, vision, and business objectives of their ideal customer.
- If any high-value accounts are currently engaging with your company’s Inbound approach.
- The current stage of business maturity, company size, and growth trajectory.
- Revenue model, and spending patterns.
- The tools and platforms their ideal customer is currently using.
There may be many ways to identify key accounts, but it is most important that marketing and sales departments agree on which ones to target.
This means that if your marketing team is targeting one group of companies, and your sales team is targeting a different group, you will have a lot of confusion and chaos.
Create Account Plans
After targeting specific accounts, the next step is to build account plans. This involves the marketing and sales teams working together to map out the potential leads they need to attract to reach their target accounts, and what content they’ll need to produce to engage with this audience.
When creating an account plan for your ABM strategy, keep these best practices in mind:
- Though account plans for different customers can have some similarities, each plan should be tailored to the needs of that particular account.
- Each account plan should be able to address these two questions: Who is included in the buying decision for this sale (e.g. decision maker, influencer, Legal, blockers, end-users)? What content is needed for each member of this buying committee?
Attract Contacts Associated With Target Accounts
If you want to attract contacts from your target accounts, the Inbound methodology is the way to go. If you need more contacts, find out where your ideal contacts go to find solutions related to what you offer, and make sure your company is visible in those places.
There are a few places where you can make yourself more visible to your potential clients, such as events, certain publications, and targeted ads. It can be tempting to try to get your company’s name out there through every possible channel, but it’s more important to focus on the channels that will reach your target audience most effectively.
Get the Buying Committee Involved
Make sure to keep both sales and marketing involved when building relationships with key contacts to ensure a smooth buying decision.
At this stage in the buying process, sales usually takes the lead, but marketing should be ready to support them by creating materials that reinforce the message.
To measure the health of an ABM strategy, marketing and sales teams can use the following metrics:
- Identifying the buyers associated with target accounts and tracking interactions with these buyers.
- Data points related to the health of the deal—creation date, velocity, and close rate.
Revenue attributed to target accounts.
If you implement this strategy, your marketing and sales teams will be able to successfully attract and keep valuable customers.
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