It’s hard keeping a company’s sales numbers strong these days, and most organizations are eager to find any way to make this task easier.
The key to better performance in this area might be as simple as getting to know a new form of marketing.
Account-based marketing (ABM) is one of the most game-changing business strategies you could possibly use in a B2B environment, even if only about 49% of organizations currently have an ABM program set up.
If the company you represent isn't one of them, you could be leaving massive amounts of potential proceeds for your competitors to capture instead.
What Is Account-Based Marketing?
The easiest way to understand account-based marketing is to look at it in contrast with conventional marketing.
Conventional marketing targets a specific segment of the market that is most likely to buy the product that is being shown off.
This segment is usually composed of at least dozens of companies, if not hundreds or even thousands, and each campaign you run has to say something relevant to all of them.
You probably have a general idea of what kind of people are most likely to be interested in your products, but you’re targeting any leads who might fit that profile, not any specific individual company.
In fact, if you narrow your message down too far, you might actually undermine your own efforts.
Account-based marketing operates on a much smaller scale.
Instead of trying to reach out to a wide range of companies, this technique has you focus on dealing with just one account at a time.
Each of these accounts can be represented either:
- an existing client from whom you’d like to draw in more business.
- a brand new prospect who has yet to buy from you (but who you have reason to believe might buy soon).
- a collection of multiple decision-makers from the same company, some of whom fall into each of those categories.
The only rule is that each account must be attached to only one company. Doing this allows you to zoom in close on the pain points of that particular organization and market your offerings appropriately.
Proper Use Is Essential
Account-based marketing is not a replacement for the traditional broad-range style of marketing.
The main reason you can’t use this new technique all on its own is that it does not help you collect leads; instead, it helps you to hone in on potential leads that you already know a bit about or to nurture the ones you already have.
In order to use it successfully, you’ll still need a way to pull in the leads that will make up the bulk of your customer base.
Those clients will provide you with some revenue from sales that take less direct effort than the clients who receive the ABM treatment, providing you with some balance in your revenue streams.
For this reason, it’s a combination of the old and new approaches that tend to yield the best results.
Reaping the Rewards of ABM
Now that you know what account-based marketing is, you might be wondering why it’s worth going through all the extra trouble to use it – especially since it still needs to be backed up by conventional marketing in order to function properly.
As you can see from the list below, there are nearly countless benefits to adopting ABM; the sooner you incorporate it into your roster of marketing tactics, the better.
Expect results in these specific areas:
The main concern of any business is their bottom line, and you’ll certainly see the effects of account-based marketing here.
60% of companies that used ABM for at least one year were able to increase their total revenue by at least 10% as compared to what it was before that change.
Even more impressively, approximately 19% of those companies captured an incredible 30% more revenue this way.
That’s a lot of extra funds for just one small change!
If your goal is to get more money coming into your company, using ABM can probably make a significant difference for you in that regard.
Higher ROI Per Campaign
ABM might be responsible for some impressive earnings figures, but it also costs money to implement and keep going.
You’ll need to have staff working to evaluate each individual account (and the people inside it) and produce materials that will appeal to that specific set of problems.
Aside from the fact that getting that done at all can be expensive, you must also consider that this type of marketing can’t be re-used, so it has one chance to get its job done.
Is that investment worth it?
According to statistics, the answer is almost certainly yes.
97% of marketers report that ABM-focused initiatives have yielded better ROI for them than ones aimed at the market in general.
This indicates that in virtually all cases, you can count on getting your money back and then some.
If you want to produce a significant and consistent return through marketing, ABM is rarely a bad bet.
Better Match To Your Buyers’ Expectations
Most buyers now know that the one-of-a-kind experience you can get when account-based marketing is being used is possible, and that’s exactly what they want.
To be more precise, 88% of marketers feel that their prospects expect a high degree of personalization in their buying experience.
You can easily deliver that sophisticated level of service with ABM in place. Some of the many things it makes possible for you to bring to your customers include:
- Highly relevant offers for products and services.
- Content that addresses their specific needs and concerns.
- Discounts tailored to their spending patterns.
- Useful recommendations for other products that they might be interested in.
Better Performance Tracking
Every marketing campaign is only as good as the results it produces, but it can sometimes be difficult to figure out exactly what a particular campaign was able to accomplish for you.
For instance, if you spent $5,000 on marketing over one year and landed $10,000 in new business over that time, you can reasonably conclude that that effort was a success.
However, if you looked more closely at the relevant metrics, you might find out that all that extra revenue was coming from just a few key clients instead of the wider client base that you would probably expect to see.
Insights like this can have a huge influence on your strategy going forward.
Keeping track of performance data on an account-by-account basis makes it much easier to see important small-scale patterns like this.
Either the investment you’ve made in a particular client pays off, or it doesn’t – it’s all there in the numbers for that account.
There’s much more specificity to your data and you can easily identify the accounts that aren’t giving you the sales you expected to get. Knowing that something like this is happening is the first step toward correcting it.
Harmonized Sales and Marketing
While both sales and marketing departments have the same ultimate goal (securing more revenue), they usually work toward it from completely different angles. Because sales reps spend so much of their day dealing with prospects one-on-one, sales departments tend to view those people as individuals and recognize the value of targeting their individual needs.
Marketing departments, on the other hand, are typically much more concerned with groups and trends than any one single lead; the way they see and describe things is fundamentally at odds with the sales approach.
With account-based marketing, everything is handled on a client-by-client basis, so both of these departments are constantly working on the same level.
Working on the same sets of accounts allows you to trade insights with the sales team as you go and vice-versa, making it easy for each group to learn from the other and work together to achieve their goals.
This kind of synergy is proven to have many benefits for your bottom line, including 36% higher customer retention and 38% higher sales success rates as compared to companies that don’t take care to create a strong working relationship between the two departments.
A Better Understanding of Your Clients
When you use individualized marketing like ABM, you always end up spending a lot of time looking at what makes the buyers within each account tick.
You’ll need to collect and maintain a set of good quality data for each person in order to be able to give them what they want. This may include specific personal information such as their:
- Company name
- Phone number
- Email address
- Job title
- Pain points
- Purchase history
This deep level of detail can be extremely helpful in figuring out what you need to present to that person in order to get a sale from them.
52% of marketers say that personalized content is the most effective way to engage with ABM accounts, and this data is the first thing you need in order to make that content.
You’ll know what they want from you now and what they might want from you in the future, and that kind of knowledge is invaluable.
Conventional marketing is too expensive not to have some inefficiencies built into it. No matter how good you are, you’ll never be able to win over every single lead in the market segment you’re targeting.
Even worse, you might only be reaching people who don’t have any say in whether your target companies buy anything from you anyway.
Two-thirds of marketers say that they struggle with identifying and reaching people with true decision-making power in each organization.
ABM is an inherently more efficient way to market.
Because you’re able to focus on just one account at a time, you can make sure that your campaigns are making their way to the right people.
Since you’re sure to have those individuals’ names and contact information in your account profiles, you can get in touch with them directly and make sure that you can show off your products to their best advantage.
Less Risk and Waste
Similar to the point above, ABM also allows you to make sure that your precious scarce resources (mainly time and money) are actually being put to good use.
In a typical marketing setup, you can’t know exactly what results from your efforts are going to produce until you’re already looking at them; the scope of your activities is just too wide to be able to give you much certainty about these things.
With ABM, you know where every input is going and you have a much clearer idea of what approach is most effective in each instance, so there are very few chances for things to wrong.
You’re making well-informed choices and applying your resources so precisely that nearly all of them should produce some sort of value for you.
More Qualified Leads
While ABM doesn’t generate leads in quite the same way that traditional marketing does, it can still help you to improve your overall lead quality by making it easier to zero in on the best leads available to you.
It doesn’t make sense to provide this level of service to every single lead you come across, so the ones that you do decide to favour in this way must have a lot of potential for your business.
Enterprise-level leads that are pursued with ABM are 285% more likely to actually strike a deal with you and will generally make 35% larger purchases than those on who you use conventional methods.
Mid-level accounts, on the other hand, are only 166% more likely to close, but the purchases these leads make are 40% larger on average.
They are easier to sell to and more generous with their spending than your average lead, making them highly qualified prospects you’ll want to make sure to give plenty of attention.
Don’t Wait to Upgrade Your Marketing Capabilities
In spite of all the dedication it requires, there’s no doubt that account-based marketing has a lot to offer any business.
Its growing popularity suggests that it may soon become a standard part of B2B marketing arrangements, but as of now, you still have the chance to use it to get ahead of your peers instead of simply catching up to them.
You have the opportunity to take some huge strides forward as a company, so don’t let it pass you by.
Knowing what account-based marketing is and how it can help you will only take you so far, though; that’s why we have another post about how to start implementing ABM in your marketing activities coming your way soon.
If you’re eager to gain some knowledge you can put into action immediately, you’re welcome to join us to get access to all kinds of exclusive information about how to use data to your advantage in business.