Sales have always been account-based, and marketing has recently entered the competition. Truly, ABM is the hottest acronym over the last decade in B2B marketing.
From the inception of Account-Based Marketing (ABM), there has been a debate about its history, name, and its legitimacy. However, focusing on Accounts for marketing strategies could make all the difference to a smart B2B marketing strategy.
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Smart Strategies for Smart Marketers
Focus on accounts: Successful B2B marketing strategy has witnessed a fundamental shift, from a lead-centric perspective to an account-centric one. It is crucial to analyze the action plan through the lens of the account as a whole, to decide how to progress with it throughout the buying journey.
Focusing on expanding and landing: The old style of demand generation is focused on marketing efforts generating new leads and opportunities. Many marketing departments do not even get ‘credit’ for campaign success from existing customers or leads. In ABM, sales and marketing work together not just to land the account but also to expand it after they have acquired a customer. Marketing continues to work with the sales post; the initial deal is closed.
Focus on selling to a buying committee: The trend has changed from a single decision-maker to a group of stakeholders that collectively make informed business decisions to purchase a product, service, or software. The buying unit involves decision-makers, and influencers across the account, out of which many have their own agendas, which effect communications and decisions.
The term “Account-Based Marketing” can be misleading while describing the process. There is a risk that it perpetuates the same-siloed marketing habits that restrict B2B organizations. Marketers should not be caught up in deciding the implementation of ABM or not. If they are in B2B with complex deals with longer sales cycles and multiple decision-makers, then ABM is the perfect solution.
The essence of both good B2B marketing and ABM is that success comes from orchestrating relevant interactions that span multiple personas, across various channels to land new accounts and expand the customer base. When a business achieves this, the results will always be higher than traditional demand generation or individual departments functioning in isolation.
The Main Elements that B2B Marketers Strive For:
- Account-centricity: Every step taken must be verified through the account-centric lens. For that, marketers must have their foundation in place with things like lead-to-account-matching.
- Orchestrated interactions: Since the B2B cycles are longer and involve multiple stakeholders’ involvement; marketers must deliver relevant communications based on the previously mentioned insights. This process is guided by launching a direct mail campaign based on the accounts being marketing qualified.
- Actionable insights: There is no shortage of information because platforms are overflowing with data. However, what B2B teams need are well-researched insights that they can act on. The data should be able to see if the people they care about are engaged enough. This should be followed by thorough research to strategize the next plan of action and act accordingly.
- Measurement: The cornerstone of all marketing activities is the ability to demonstrate and measure results- and the metrics for all account-based efforts are different from traditional lead-based marketing. All industries are experiencing a shift from quantity to quality.
Experts consider ABM trend gaining so much traction in B2B because operating with an account-centric lens, orchestrated interactions, actionable insights, and account-centric measurement makes much more sense. In addition, most importantly, it yields results for sales.
Smart B2B marketers are adopting this strategy now.
It does not really matter whether marketers call it ABM or account focused B2B marketing; what matters is that these principles should be adopted consciously to ensure the success of marketing endeavors.