Account-based marketing, or ABM, has experienced a surge in popularity. In fact, companies dedicated almost a third of their marketing spend to it last year.
But it’s seen an even greater spike during COVID, with businesses turning to it as a way to continue building their sales pipeline in this challenging time.
Put simply, ABM is a B2B strategy that focuses sales and marketing resources on a defined set of target accounts within a specific industry.
By aligning these two – often siloed – teams, businesses are able to create effective campaigns that cater to their most qualified leads.
Sounds good, right?
Throughout this article, we’ll cover off key ABM stats and some of the benefits associated with this approach, as well as, five steps to take when looking to run your own successful ABM activity.
The proof’s in the pudding
ABM should form part of your B2B marketing strategy – for reasons we’ll come to later. But to kick things off, we thought we’d share a selection of stats to get those cogs whirring:
- 67% of brands currently leverage ABM.
- 87% of marketers say that ABM initiatives outperform their other marketing investments.
- 86% of marketers say ABM improves win rates.
- One in five accounts targeted using ABM becomes a qualified sales opportunity.
For your own benefit
The list of benefits linked to effective ABM activity is a long one, so we’ve handpicked a few of the most poignant examples.
Stronger customer bonds
ABM means doing your homework, demonstrating understanding of your client’s challenges and explaining how you can be part of their solution. This shows your commitment to their business and improves the chances of them using your services.
ABM involves marketing directly to your most attractive target accounts, in doing this you eliminate unqualified prospects early on. That way you can home in on the accounts that are likely to convert, reducing risk, costs, and wasted time and effort.
Shorter sales cycle
Multiple stakeholders often have a say in the final purchasing decision, which can slow the sales and marketing process to a snail’s pace. The beauty of ABM is that it gives you the opportunity to specifically nurture your primary decision-maker.
Setting specific goals for specific accounts means you can instantly decipher if your hard work has paid off. In the basest form, you just have to look at how many accounts you targeted and how many of those accounts delivered your desired outcome.
Better team alignment
ABM casts aside the typical sales model of marketing capturing leads at the top of the funnel and sales converting them at the bottom. Instead, it unites sales and marketing teams by getting them working together towards a common objective.
It’s as easy as A, B, M
A quick google will bring up a tidal wave of results detailing the countless steps you could take when running ABM activity. We’ve tried to keep it simple with five:
1. Align sales and marketing
Successful ABM requires buy-in from your sales team. An easy way to secure this is by explaining how the activity can address their common frustrations, such as too many low-quality leads and lacking access to the right content to close deals effectively.
2. Identify target accounts
Focusing on fewer accounts means being sure they’re the right ones. A great starting point would be to develop a list of those that match your ideal customer profile (i.e. are a great fit for your product or service) and trim down your options from there.
3. Gather insights
Armed with your list of target accounts, it’s time to build your intelligence. From investigating potential past engagements with a prospect to identifying key decision-makers, the more information you acquire the more tailored your messaging can be.
4. Choose channels and craft messaging
Your gathered insights should inform the channels you pick. Considerations like the ease of personalisation on a particular channel and whether a channel has served your business well in the past should also come into play.
Once you’ve made your choices, use these channels to deploy communications that are personalised to each target account. This must feature content that has been adapted to reflect the insights you gathered, such a stakeholder pain points.
5. Measure and evaluate
Revenue performance measures like pipeline contribution, closing rate and sales opportunities are the sorts of metrics you want to concentrate on. And, anything you learn from your analysis should be learnt from for your next ABM campaign.
A few last words
We started by mentioning the rise in relevance of ABM during COVID, and it’s also worth saying that any activity you may have had planned could need adapting.
Businesses you were planning to target will be struggling with a host of new challenges they’ve never faced before. And, being empathetic and delivering customised and supportive content in their hour of need will see you win business over the competition.
Whether you’ve never tried ABM before and could use some guidance, or need a hand adapting your current strategy for the new normal, we have experience running successful campaigns for clients across a range of industries. So, what are you waiting for? Get in touch.