First, what is account-based marketing?
Account based marketing (ABM) is a strategic approach to designing and executing highly targeted, personalized marketing initiatives to drive business growth. The goal is engaging and impacting specific accounts, whether a select few, or a single large account.
How does account-based marketing work?
ABM strategy requires creating tailored programs and initiatives based on deep client insights. Specific resources and attention are allocated to building and developing partnerships, strategically focusing on improving business reputation, relationships, and revenue.
With the exponential advancement of technology, digital tools like AI, machine learning, and integrated digital solutions are growing smarter and more powerful. ABM provides organizations and brands with a way to adapt to increasing customer expectations and developing technology.
Within organizations, each function must adjust in their own way, and marketing is no exception.
One of the simplest and oldest marketing strategies is the one-to-all approach – trying to reach as many people as possible. This concept banks on the power of probability, increasing the odds of offering the right deal, in the right place, at the right time to drive marketing success. A step better is a more targeted strategy, one-to-one, where audience groups are targeted intentionally.
Thanks to technology like AI and machine learning, marketing teams can see what had previously been impossible to see, then take strategic action. This leads to the first level of ABM: Specific named industry accounts receive specialized attention with personalized programs and initiatives, based on the deep insights available through integrated digital platforms working with robust account data.
Benefits of account-based marketing: 98% improvement in engagements, higher ROI, bigger deals
Marketing is often seen as a cost of doing business. To justify budgets and resources, marketing teams must always have quantifiable results ready-at-hand. Marketing needs to pay for itself and then some, and must do so quickly.
Buy-in is vital, requiring a compelling case be made. What’s the ROI for this tool or that campaign? Will new technology for account-based marketing really be worth the investment?
According to a recent study, ABM has returned impressive results showcasing its value, including:
- 72% increase in average deal size
- 86% win rate improvement
- 89% higher ROI
- 98% improvement in account engagements
The playbook for designing and executing ABM in organizations of any size is still being written, evolving as customers and technologies change. However, studies and reports have provided some basic requirements for successful account-based marketing methods and processes:
- Sales and marketing must commit to partnership
- Organizational commitment to consolidating or obtaining account level insights
- Dedicated marketers tasked to run ABM
- Creating a measurement structure for benchmarking and quantifying ABM results for optimization going forward
Creating an ABM strategy
Essentially, the ABM process can be conceptualized and described as a series of steps or phases: Identify, understand, engage, orchestrate, and measure.
Identify: Pinpoint market opportunities and account groups to target. Analytics for spotlighting accounts includes utilizing account data from third-party providers. Use that data to enrich information gathered through your own CRM to gain deep insights into target accounts.
Three analytics for spotlighting accounts include:
- Firmographics such as the size, location, industry, structure, etc., of each target account
- Context such as campaigns, leads, tickets, orders, etc.
- Intent mapping with web tracking of online behavior, sentiment, etc.
These insights can be used to triangulate the marketing initiatives and programs most likely to succeed with a particular account to drive business and maximize revenue.
Understand: Study accounts at a deeper level. Gain a 360 view of the customer through an integrated multichannel platform, allowing you to understand contacts and relationships. This also gives insights into all interaction history, as well as account intent and interests.
An abundance of data is only useful if you can interpret it: Read the story it tells and derive meaning from it. Understanding what the customer wants, needs, and values provides the keys to new opportunities through effective, personalized marketing strategies.
Engage: Design ABM programs for selected accounts and contacts covering digital and physical touchpoints. Integrate paid social media channels like LinkedIn and online events, such as a webinar series. For engaging relevant contacts, create personalized campaign tactics based on insights and understanding gained from robust data analytics.
Align: Marketing and sales should work together to orchestrate customer engagements. Committed alignment and cooperation is essential to the successful design and execution of ABM programs. Integrating a project management platform can make the process more efficient and effective by managing the interplay of marketing and sales activities, as well as sharing account insights and engagements.
Measure: Understand the success of your marketing efforts and optimize your account-based strategy. Learn how individual campaigns and entire programs performed, then fine tune engagement based on analytical insights. Assess the performance of ABM accounts in terms of account engagements, account penetration, and demand generated. Eventually you’ll be able to detect engagement and demand unit success patterns to further optimize your strategy.
Even if ABM is a relatively young marketing perspective, the strength and potential are already producing quantifiable results, especially in terms of the most essential and incontrovertible proof of marketing value: ROI.
With the power of AI, machine learning, and integrated digital platforms to provide deep insights and enable the management of coordinated marketing and sales activities, ABM has arrived.