At DataValidation, we make a consistent effort to put the priorities of our customers and prospects front and center. With our customer-centric approach in mind, there is one topic we think will prove extremely helpful: account-based marketing (ABM). In this article, we will not only define what ABM is, but we will also talk about its main benefits and try to offer some easy-to-follow tips and tricks for marketers and sales executives who are thinking of giving ABM a try.
What is account-based marketing?
As we have already touched open in our recent article on smarketing, the collaboration between marketing and sales is key to achieving success. Account-based marketing is based on the same idea of teamwork aimed at developing a strategy for landing new or expanding existing highly-targeted accounts. Basically, instead of running campaigns for companies that fit a certain target or criteria, sales and marketing are aligning their goals and start going after one or multiple high-value accounts.
This is a very tricky process as it requires a lot of research as well as market knowledge and expertise. You not only need to connect with your target customers and understand them better but you also need to start developing relationships with them. This is the only way to know what works for them. ABM means treating accounts as if they were individuals. Every marketer should have a deep understanding of their customer’s profile, the problem that they are facing, their pain points, and the kind of value that your product can bring to them. You can’t simply send a few emails and expect that to work. Connecting with your target customers and trying to understand them is the only way to make an account-based marketing strategy work.
Another prerequisite to running effective ABM campaigns is data accuracy. It goes without saying that having the most up-to-date data in both the CRM and the marketing automation platform will be critical to the success of each ABM effort. Each member of the team will need to closely and accurately track their activities so that the overall status of the project can be accessed transparently and easily.
When implementing ABM, there are no objective benchmarks or specific KPIs to measure the success of the campaign. You have to create your own metrics and track them during the campaign. It’s a matter of trial and error, and it takes time to measure the results and make adjustments. The goal of an ABM campaign is not to generate a specific number of leads or a specific number of conversions; it’s about delivering a specific outcome.
Benefits of account-based marketing
Why would a company target specific accounts, without knowing the likelihood of converting them when it could try a broader approach in hopes of getting better results? First of all, this is a question of scope, scale, and expertise. A good strategy doesn’t necessarily apply to each context or to each company, regardless of its size or growth goals. ABM is an approach that can be best utilized by specific industries, such as insurance, financial services, and healthcare, or by companies with specific goals, such as improving the lifetime value of a customer or increasing loyalty. It requires an investment in specialized services and technology, and it needs to be driven by a company’s core expertise.
Let’s go over some of the main benefits of account-based marketing.
First and foremost, ABM allows marketing and sales teams to be more focused on their efforts. It frees up a lot of time to properly dedicate it to value-added activities. In terms of time management, having a clear objective or goal in mind means that the teams will not get distracted by less valuable accounts or accounts that do not fit with current sales goals.
To efficiently run an ABM campaign a company needs to have a clear customer-centric mission, that easily translates into the ability to meet customer needs during the entire partnership. Such an approach will allow the sales and marketing teams to extract valuable data from existing customers and act upon it to transform those customers into brand loyalists.
We have talked about personalization as a conversion rate optimization tactic before and we are going to keep talking about its importance. Personalization not only delivers better results but in the context of ABM, it can make the difference between landing an account or not. Using the data you have at your disposal to determine how to personalize messages for specific accounts is a thing every ABM campaign needs to do. DemandBase has a great article with 3 ideas for using personalization for ABM.
Account-based marketing can make a positive impact on the bottom line of companies. Precisely because efficient ABM campaigns have a shorter life cycle when compared to traditional lead generation activities, these tactics have a higher ROI. Not only that but the fact that ABM allows companies to target high-value accounts also means that the return on investment will be higher. According to Altera Group, cited by Marketo, 97% of businesses that have used account-based marketing report higher ROIs than any other marketing tactic. Pretty impressive, right?
Tips and tricks
If companies have the right resources, the right expertise, and the right goals, ABM can be a powerful tool for sustained growth. ABM works when the technology and processes are in place to support it. In that case, account-based marketing is a powerful strategy that can drive growth and increase the lifetime value of a customer.
Here are some tips and tricks for starting an account-based marketing campaign:
It is always preferable to test out ideas instead of spending large budgets on something that has yet to prove its value for your company.
Start with a sole product or service
For ABM to work, it is important that you clearly understand the product or service you are selling. With that in mind, pick one single product or service for your first ABM campaigns.
Start with a sole industry
Identify the main accounts around a single industry or sector. Remember the first advice: always start small. You can grow your campaigns based on lessons learned as soon as you find the right approach.