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Getting Personal: Account-Based Marketing (ABM) for the Win


Getting Personal: Account-Based Marketing (ABM) for the Win

At any given time, there are always a slew of new buzzwords circulating around B2B marketing. Some are passing trends and others appear to have real legs, here for the long haul. Account-Based Marketing (ABM) falls into that latter category. 

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First off, what is ABM? At its most basic, it is a focused growth strategy in which a business’s marketing and sales teams collaborate to create personalized buying experiences—emphasis on personalized. A personal touch, as noted by research from McKinsey, can reduce acquisition costs by as much as 50%, bolster revenues by up to 15%, and increase the efficiency of marketing dollars spent by up to 30%.

The popularity of ABM strategy cannot be denied. In a recent Salesforce study of 7,000 marketers (as reported by MarTech), it was found that 92% of B2B marketers have implemented Account-Based Marketing programs, with 68% of ABM programs utilizing automation tools. The strategy, in effect, is a marketing response to heightened buyer expectations. Successful ABM presents a new level of collaboration that, as Hushly, a content engagement, lead conversion, and lead enrichment platform, notes further, “requires that sales, marketing, and customer service don’t just play nice but remain actively engaged in each other’s work.” 

One way to look at ABM in terms of a sales channel is as an inverted funnel to target customers, meaning that instead of the standard “attract, nurture, close” practice, as is common in traditional marketing, the ABM approach relies upon “identify, engage, retain.” In this sense, ABM can be viewed as a targeted way to reach best-fit, high-value customers instead of unqualified leads; these are the accounts that are most likely to convert to sales. As HubSpot explains, “The process allows you to align your marketing and sales teams from the get-go to promote long-term business growth, delight customers, and boost revenue.”

Below, we’ll enumerate three of the top benefits of Account-Based Marketing followed by proven tactics to implement an ABM program for your business needs.

Benefits of Account-Based Marketing

  • Increase ROI compared to traditional B2B marketing. ABM delivers a higher Return On Investment (ROI) than other types of marketing. 87% of B2B marketers surveyed by ITSMA reported that their ABM initiatives outperform their other marketing investments in terms of ROI. 91% of companies using ABM increase their average deal size, with 25% reporting an increase of +50%. (SiriusDecisions)
  • Retain existing customers and improve customer service.  Taking an Account-Based Marketing strategy is a great way to improve engagement with existing customers, and even expand accounts with your tried-and-true clientele. After all, it’s easier to work with an existing customer than start from scratch with a brand-new lead, whether it’s introducing new products and services to your current customer or increasing sales of something they’re already happy and familiar with. Research from the Harvard Business Review also shows that bringing in a new customer can be five to 25 times more expensive in comparison to retaining an existing customer. The key, of course, is to understand their goals and align your pitch and marketing strategy to meet their specific needs and aspirations. 
  • Accelerate the sales cycle. With sales and marketing teams working in tandem to “delight the customer” based on personalized insights, businesses can shorten the time from initial engagement to making the sale—the ultimate gauge of how well your strategy is working.

Tips for Implementing an Account-Based Marketing Strategy to Generate Opportunities

  • Leverage artificial intelligence (AI) technology and automation to support an Account-Based Marketing strategy to capture the attention of targeted prospects and retain your valued current customers. Today’s easily accessible tools allow even small to medium-size businesses to engage in successful ABM programs.
  • Build a target account list and subsequently focus on the direct needs of that identified target audience.
  • Send personalized emails. Let your targeted customers know how and why they matter to you, and make sure to highlight the opportunities your company can offer to help them achieve their goals.
  • Create personalized content, including content marketing and “account-specific landing pages that display custom copy, images, offers and forms depending on the person or account that is visiting the landing page.” [Gartner]
  • Use video. Some great examples are personalized one-to-one direct video messages via email, screen sharing, explainer videos, thought leadership videos and even templated videos for your company’s sales team to customize for each targeted recipient.
  • Use social media to connect and build relationships. This requires some research to understand where your target audience is and what kind of content will resonate. Provide plenty of opportunities to have a direct conversation with your current and potential customers.  
  • Don’t discount personalized direct mail. Find the right person at the company you’re targeting and send a handwritten note. It’s a great way to make a real human connection and stand out from the crowd. 
  • Take the generic out of gift giving. Personalize your efforts and show your prospect that they’re not just another line on a spreadsheet. Consider a gift card to a local (to them) establishment or a token that will enhance their business.
  • Highlight your strengths as they relate to your customer’s (or prospect’s) business. Promoting testimonials and case studies that showcase companies with similarities to your prospect can provide confidence that your business is a good fit. Audit your content to ensure it aligns with prospects you’re targeting.

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If there’s one word to take away from these tips and techniques, it’s “personalization.” Account-Based Marketing thrives on not only identifying your best audience, but tailoring your messaging and strategies to meet each of those prospects and customers where they are. Strive for engagement and you’ll see the results.