Digital marketing is constantly evolving and diversifying according to new market needs, companies, and the potential to apply new tools and methodologies in the way of defining strategies that convert more effectively.

Lately the attention of digital marketing is focused on a specialty or discipline called ABM, Account Based Marketing, translated as the Marketing based on accounts. This is not a new concept, but it has recently begun to grow in popularity as today’s companies seek to break out of the traditional B2B marketing molds in order to better target the right prospects through personalization and intent.

Today, ABM is a method that B2B marketers must execute to improve alignment with sales teams, accelerate the channeling process, and ultimately increase the company’s overall customer base and ROI.

ABM: marketing that unites growth and sales coverage

Many marketers invest their efforts in trying to attract as many prospects as possible in order to sell to them. In Account Based Marketing it works differently, as here you choose the companies (or accounts) you want to have as customers and concentrate on creating specific marketing campaigns for them.

Personalization is the key factor in ABM. The communication and the content produced are totally oriented to the needs of the potential buyers, hence the origin of its high success rate.

In fact, within the next three years, 57% of companies plan to invest in an ABM solution, and it has become the second highest priority for B2B technology vendors, right behind video marketing. These statistics mean the industry is ready for disruption. So why should marketers use today’s strategy to defend tomorrow’s success and where can the industry go in 2020?

Key Benefits

ABM is understood as a way to create and strengthen strategies with a collaborative approach, both internally between sales and marketing teams, and between the company and the customer.

Its main commercial benefits are:

  • Sales and Marketing Alignment or Ventarketing: Companies that align their sales and marketing activities generate higher revenues, improve brand awareness and increase average transaction size. The thinking of the marketing team becomes the same as that of a salesperson: looking at the account with the objective of attracting the people involved, convincing them and closing the deal.
  • High marketing ROI: The investment made in ABM offers a slightly or significantly higher return compared to other marketing initiatives, making it a zero waste strategy. ABM has the potential to multiply marketing ROI.
  • Increased revenue: 60% of companies using ABM experienced a revenue increase of at least 10% in 12 months, while 1 in 5 companies experienced a revenue increase of 30% or more.
  • Better leads and social testing: Relying on leads alone is not a good thing, but using them as another way to promote your business is. But how could account-based marketing be useful in this regard? The relationship with the clients already starts strengthened, favouring the success of the partnership. Consequently, it becomes easier to ask for a testimonial or even present statistics that show how much your company generated in value for that customer. Both testimonials and data can be used as social evidence on your site until they become success stories.
  • Less waste of resources: The accuracy of a strategy determines how many resources will be wasted on it. Because it is account-specific, ABM ends up minimizing the loss of those resources and helping to optimize sales. In other words, the marketing team becomes more efficient in managing time, money and energy spent on campaigns to really close sales.
  • Greater engagement: Since the content is specifically made for the needs of the buyers, it is natural that the engagement with this material is high.
  • Easy to measure: In digital marketing, it’s becoming increasingly easy to measure efforts and discover exactly where the problems are with a given campaign. The tools available today provide detailed, easy-to-understand reports that even give indications of what needs to be modified and improved.

Possible obstacles and how to solve them

With all the advantages it offers, it is natural to want to start using this strategy, however, implementing ABM is not without its challenges. Some of the obstacles on the road to ABM success are:

  • Lack of top-down support: ABM is not just a matter of investing in the right technology. The initiative that is used needs a profile or profiles that defend the c-suite. It is the only way to achieve the level of goal alignment, teamwork, commitment and budget support needed to succeed.
  • Lack of customer knowledge: The key to ABM is to identify the companies that are most likely to benefit from the products and services being sold and therefore will have the highest propensity to buy. Identifying those companies requires a thorough understanding of customers. Patterns must be identified in the demographic, technographic, signature and engagement data that will allow an ideal customer profile to be created.
  • Do not employ the resources necessary to ensure that the strategy is effective: ABM is about identifying and interacting with various people in an organization who are involved in the decision process to purchase a new solution or product. These contacts can be of various and very different profiles and nationalities, ranging from managers, financiers, technicians, influential users, etc. The message that each one will receive must be personalized for their role and in the relevant language.
  • Not being up to date with the changes that occur in the companies/customers: it is necessary to be constantly updated of the news that occur to the clients/companies, for example, changes in the directive, recent acquisitions, launching of new products, etc.
  • Marketing and sales misalignment: For a long time, sales and marketing have worked independently. ABM is most effective when sales and marketing align their goals and work together to focus on attracting and selling to the ideal customer profile. One of the best ways to start is to create a small ABM team consisting of sales representatives, marketing specialists, product specialists, sales/marketing operations and, ideally, a leader who can communicate across departments.
  • Introduce an overly ambitious ABM strategy: Given the potential of ABM, it is normal that companies are often tempted to implement a strategy that they may not need. Consider the possibility that if you have a sales strategy that works, and lead generation and qualification offer good prospects, you should not completely abandon those efforts. If you want to test ABM, ideally you should introduce a strategy gradually.

Skills to be considered for the implementation of ABM

Despite the potential challenges, what is clear is that there have been recent customization improvements in the marketing process, and this has dramatically increased the value of account based marketing. The more targeted a marketer can be, the higher the percentage of potential customers in their campaigns.

Success in account based marketing has become a skill, just like any other type of digital marketing. Therefore, you must be willing to learn and improve. Here are seven skills that will help the implementation of ABM in companies:

  • Understanding technology: One of the best parts of account based marketing today compared to five years ago is the opportunity for high-level customization. Today you can use a variety of tools that can open doors wide. Reading about the advancement of technology and being informed of all the news that comes out about it can help your company.
  • Create empathy towards the target markets: It is important to put yourself in the place of the target market. Understand where they spend their time, what content they enjoy and what their weaknesses are. This allows you to create personalized messages through the right channels to attract them to your products.
  • Research more about your own industry and competitors: The more you know about your own industry and competitors, the more you will understand the role of the company. In addition, industries are evolving rapidly, so being aware of the changes that are taking place and being ready to capitalize on those opportunities will be a great advantage. And keeping track of your competitors allows you to keep up with the latest developments.
  • Spend time on creativity: What will drive the success of account based marketing campaigns is the ability to be creative. This creativity comes in two forms. The first is to determine your target audiences and how to reach them. Spending time thinking about who is interested in your product and segmenting creatively can be a great competitive advantage. The second is customizing the website the customer visits.
  • Try different approaches: It is also very good to try different channels and strategies, as you will not know if it works until you start testing it.
  • Tracking and optimizing data: This is an absolute necessity for ABM. You have to be relentless with the data you are collecting, and you have to know how to use it. The better you understand what works and what doesn’t, the more you can focus your efforts.

ABM e Inbound Marketing

It is important to know that this new strategic area emerges as an evolution and attempt to dynamize and accelerate the conversion processes that are set in Inbound Marketing (IM), the star specialty for any company that wants to be dynamic, competitive and perform actions focused on the user and conversion.

Inbound Marketing has been on the market for some time now as an infallible mechanism for generating qualified customers. However, it is no secret that using it does not imply changes or instant customers; it brings good results, but in the long term, and that may be an obstacle for some companies that depend on immediate income to maintain their stability. Account Based Marketing (ABM) is used to speed up the process of attracting prospects.

The main differences between the two are in:

  • The market: Inbound Marketing is oriented to the B2C market and Account Based Marketing to the B2B market.
  • Scope of the campaigns: If an MI-based campaign is created, the objective will be to reach the largest number of people possible and to capture the largest number of leads. With ABM, on the other hand, the objective is to reach the company you want to have as a customer. And in this case the campaign will be more specific and personalized.
  • Focus of action. Professionals who work with Account Based Marketing direct all their attention to a specific account, while those who work with Inbound Marketing do so by following a broad segment of the market very closely.

These two strategies seem different, but they can perfectly well complement each other. At first glance, you can see some differences that indicate that account based marketing and inbound marketing are going through different paths, but it turns out that in order to apply an ABM based strategy you have to personalize the marketing actions and, to achieve this, you have to study and establish the profiles that the company is trying to conquer, just as it happens in inbound marketing.

Conclusions

The incredible results presented by companies using account based marketing make it clear that it is a strategy worth investing in. The data shows that every year more companies are realizing the advantages of account-based marketing compared to other tactics.

In summary, to understand the basis of ABM and why it differs from other strategic marketing approaches it is important to note that:

  • ABM emerges as an evolutionary necessity of Inbound Marketing, where lead generation and conversion funnels are part of the process, but the imperative is to work on a company’s business relationship and reputation.
  • Active collaboration is key in ABM, not only in the integration of internal teams, but also in the relationship of commitment and mutual benefit in B2B relations.
  • Customization is the other pillar of ABM, which involves offering specific action plans focused on long-term growth.

And why is this more complex form of inbound marketing having such an impact and being vital to B2B marketing? Well, essentially, because the application of ABM translates into a return on investment that other strategic actions have not been able to achieve.