Why creating a successful account-based marketing programme is more important than ever
In recent years, ABM (account-based marketing) has been steadily rising as a business marketing strategy.
Also sometimes referred to as key account marketing, ABM is a focused strategic approach to business marketing that is especially useful for business-to-business (B2B) companies.
It operates on a “quality versus quantity” principle, choosing to target fewer but higher quality accounts rather than producing large quantities of leads and turning them into customers.
However, only 11% of B2B marketing teams actually have a fully developed and established ABM plan in action. This guide will give you an introduction to the hows and whys of ABM as well as the best steps to creating a successful ABM programme, particularly for marketing teams from B2B companies.
Why should you use ABM In business?
In many ways, ABM is also a collaboration between the sales and the marketing team. Although the marketing team does understand the target demographics, the sales team is more knowledgeable about specific details since it gets to interact with the market directly. In fact, only 28% of salespeople considered marketing as the best source for leads, while an even smaller percentage of 7% viewed those leads as high quality.
In other words, based on the company’s existing customer profiles, both teams will have to coordinate to target and engage a handful of accounts that will best fit the company’s products and services. And since many business-to-business (B2B) companies manufacture their products or conduct their services towards their clients’ businesses, having only a few targeted clients has the potential to be more beneficial than raking in a lot of clients with minimal work.
When there are fewer clients to cooperate with, companies can focus more on making higher-value products and services. As a matter of fact, according to a study by Forrester conducted in 2019, organisations with marketing and sales teams taking an ABM approach are up to 6% more likely to surpass their revenue targets than organisations with less ABM-advanced strategies.
Better customer retention
With fewer clients come fewer demands and expectations. This means that companies can focus more on maintaining a good relationship with their existing clients. Studies show that closely aligned sales and marketing teams, a characteristic of ABM, experience 36% higher customer retention rates.
Additionally, ABM can help companies focus on other aspects of the business, such as having a well-maintained site, for improving customer retention or customer loyalty. Aesthetics mean a great deal in marketing, and high-quality design can help encourage clients to visit a company’s website repeatedly.
Higher sales win rates
As a focused approach, ABM makes specifically targeted sales with the partnership of the sales and marketing teams. After all, not only do tightly aligned sales and marketing teams experience higher customer retention rates, they also experience higher sales win rates as well.
Steps for making a successful ABM programme
Now you know why ABM is essential for B2B companies, but how exactly can this be done? Here are some critical steps to creating a successful ABM programme:
Integrate with automation tools
Before you begin building your ABM campaigns, your wisest move would be to first integrate your ABM software with your automation tools. Many of the most popular marketing automation tools such as Marketo or HubSpot make it very easy to integrate ABM software with them.
This is vitally important, because if your ABM software cannot interact with your advertisement or email marketing software you cannot automate the processes. This will also make it more difficult for you to track your ROI or leads.
Align sales and marketing
Your sales team and the marketing team need to cooperate and communicate their individual plans. The marketing team knows the high-value deals while the sales team knows which marketing strategy works best for their prospect.
From beginning to end, these two teams are critical for ABM to work. Friction between these teams will only hinder performance. In fact, their lack of alignment is the second biggest challenge to ABM success, following the lack of budget and resources.
Track the appropriate metrics
There are a bulk of traditional leads that marketing teams can use for their business. However, most of these focus on the wrong priorities and bog down sales with low quality leads.
This results in lost time, resources, and money. Metrics like customer lifetime value, financial information, and engagement history are the ones that can genuinely help further identify the ideal target accounts.
Metrics that measure the success of ABM programmes are equally important, as these will show how far the strategy has been established and progressed. These include target account revenue generated, target account engagement, and marketing qualified leads.
Identify and understand high-value accounts
Next, companies have to identify which accounts give them the most business. Without these key accounts, companies cannot apply ABM principles successfully. Consequently, your efforts will be stalled when wrong accounts are chosen for the wrong reasons. It’s important to identify and then track and measure key metrics that identify the accounts directly tied to business growth.
It’s advisable to start first with already existing accounts before trying to reach out to other high-value accounts, piloting a few manageable accounts, and delivering small-scale ABM.
Invest in the right resources
Investing in the right tools and platforms will further enable the sales and marketing teams in their ABM efforts. These include not only tools like CDPs, CRMs, and ABM platforms, but also resource allocation in general.
Another tool that can help adopt an effective ABM strategy is email marketing. Although many people may think that emailing is not as effective for marketing as it once was, studies have shown that email-based campaigns actually generate sales up to seven times more easily than Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn combined. Specifically, you should use email services that can segment your data so you can direct your campaigns towards more targeted prospects.
The value of ABM, especially for B2B companies, has long since been recognised. With ABM, larger deals with strategic accounts are closed faster, and marketing ROI is improved. Some who have already established full programmes have started to reap the benefits. Without a doubt, we are now in the era of ABM.