How great would that be if you, as an entrepreneur, could avoid all the fuss and get highly-rewarding clients? This might sound a bit unreal, but it is not. It is just a simple rule you have to follow, “work smart, not hard.”
Wasting your time on massive marketing campaigns and trying to sell to unqualified leads can be frustrating. Not only is it frustrating, but it also consumes your resources and time. Yet is it possible to avoid those “unqualified leads” and get the “profitable” ones directly? The answer is, YES and the solution is Account-Based Marketing.
It may not be a very familiar term in the B2C market but very common in the B2B arena. So, what is account-based marketing, and how does it work? Let’s find out!
What Is Account-Based Marketing?
Account-based marketing, also known as ABM, is a marketing approach that focuses on finding highly profitable or high-value accounts. It is a marketing approach that works with the collaboration of sales and marketing teams in order to target best-fit accounts and convert them into long-term customers.
It is important to note that account-based marketing is mostly common in the B2B industry. Account-based marketing is the exact opposite of the regular B2B marketing approach. That said, it doesn’t focus on generating hundreds of leads and approaching every single one of them. ABM is like a funnel that gets smaller and smaller at the bottom, filtering out less profitable leads.
In fact, according to Forrester Research, almost 99 percent of leads generated through ABM never convert into actual customers. That clearly describes that account-based marketing is a very much targeted approach.
How Account-Based Marketing Works?
As we have already mentioned, account-based marketing works when sales, marketing, and customer success teams work in close alignment. Currently, there are dozens of high-quality ABM tools available in the market, and you can pick one according to your business needs.
ABM focuses on best-fit companies, aka target accounts that fulfill the requirements of ICP (ideal customer profile).
A company can integrate account-based marketing solutions with its marketing or CRM tools in order to pursue its target audience. ABM is such a remarkable technology that it not only allows you to reach the contacts in your database but you can also approach the major decision-makers at your target accounts as well.
This allows the businesses to run multichannel campaigns and choose ads for the target audience to engage them on their own terms. Ultimately, you can evaluate which message/ad was most effective and get the data to back it up. Another good thing about ABM is that it allows you to target an entire account rather than just one lead. This means you can run ABM at a mass scale.
Benefits of Account-Based Marketing
- Cost-Effective. One of the best things about an account-based marketing strategy is that it is pretty cost-effective. It is not a general or conventional marketing strategy because it focuses on specific leads. This saves a lot of marketing budget because conventional marketing campaigns can be very expensive.
- Interdepartmental Collaboration. Integration between sales and marketing teams is the basis of ABM. When different organizational departments work closely, they yield better results. For instance, SiriusDecisions reported that those B2B companies where different organizational departments work closely grow revenue 19 percent faster.
- Better Usage of Resources/Less Wastage. Account-based marketing is a brilliant way of utilizing organizational resources effectively. As marketers only focus on target accounts, this saves financial resources as well as time and energy. In short, marketers can choose a highly focused approach for target accounts/highly profitable clients.
- Shorter Sales Cycle. In a conventional marketing approach, the sales cycle can stretch to an unwanted extent. Obviously, when you target every lead, it is not possible to convert every single one into a customer. However, with ABM strategy, you can get your message directly to the decision-makers/major figures, most likely to produce revenue quickly.
- Better Customer Experience. From all the discussion above, it is now obvious that ABM is all about the customer. Any buyer’s purchase decision is always based on research and the best possible solutions. Account-based marketing is an approach that allows the buyer to explore solutions on their own terms. ABM also allows buyers to receive communication from the sellers when it is relevant and meaningful.
Why You Should Adopt Account-Based Marketing
For starters, account-based marketing is very effective in delivering ROI. According to Altera Group’s research, 97 percent of the respondents said that Account-based marketing yielded much higher ROI in comparison to many other corporations.
There is absolutely no doubt that buying circles are increasing significantly. Still, the marketing teams are under immense pressure to make a considerable effect on revenue growth directly. That is why ABM solutions are becoming a common choice for many B2B companies because they focus on high opportunity, high-value accounts.
Imagine, if you are a consulting service or selling a SaaS product, who would be your ideal customer? Is it SMBs, small businesses, etc.? Generally, you would prefer those accounts having the highest need as well the required budget. In short, you will look for highly profitable accounts, and that is where ABM is so effective.
Furthermore, buyers nowadays are more tilted towards opportunities that are tailored to their business and even their personal interests in the business. That is why it is extremely important for B2B businesses to address each client’s needs individually, and this is what account-based management is based on.
How to Implement Account-Based Marketing Campaign
Honestly, ABM is just like learning a completely new language. That is because you are not targeting personas or demographics anymore. Rather, you channelize your efforts to specific organizations. Therefore, developing and implementing account-based marketing campaigns are more challenging.
Here are the 6 steps that can be very helpful in launching an effective ABM campaign.
Defining Your Strategic Accounts
The basic difference between other marketing campaigns and ABM is the target audience. ABM focuses on targeting a whole organization or a group of decision-makers rather than an individual. As a marketer, you must know the difference between these two.
The process starts with determining the common makeup for those organizations that can yield you larger revenue. For example, you can start with industry, size of the company, annual revenue, location size, profit margin, upsell opportunity, etc., for those accounts that can give your company the highest profits in the long term. These are your actual “dream” accounts.
Now, this process will need quantitative as well as qualitative research. For instance, here is what you can do.
- Collaborate with strategic leaders.
- Partner up with customer-facing employees in customer success or sales teams.
- Thoroughly process that data you have collected from front-line employees directly dealing with customers and prospects.
“Investigate” The Data Thoroughly
Once you have identified the organizations, now is the time to “investigate” them. For instance, you need to determine how those organizations make their decisions and who the decision-makers are. “Knowledge is power,” and this reality is like the oxygen for ABM strategies.
After this, it is time to strategize that how you can influence those decision-makers or stakeholders in those organizations. For that, you can collaborate with your CRM department or get help from highly professional social media platforms like Linkedin.
Creation Of Personalized Messaging/Content
Now is the time to utilize the data you have collected in step 2 and create the content for your targeted organizations and stakeholders. You need to assess how you can create appealing messages/content and hit your stakeholders’ pain points.
Make sure that your content is visually appealing but still very clear to communicate with the stakeholders, and don’t forget to collaborate with the sales team as well as the design team.
Selecting the Most Suitable Channels
Everything you have done will be simply useless if you can’t run your campaign in the right places. It is important for you to know where your target audience spends its time online, such as Pinterest, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.
Let’s say you are targeting a stakeholder in a Graphics Designing Organization; your lead will most probably spend most of its time on Pinterest.
Apart from that, platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn are excellent options to reach out to your target accounts.
Execution Of Your Campaign
Alright, you have finally come to running your campaign. You have done the hard work, and now is the time to see how well it goes. However, here are some things you must know:
- Don’t overwhelm your targets by “invading” them with repeated messages again and again on different channels.
- Use your remarketing powers sensibly.
- Speak to multiple people in an organization because you are targeting an organization rather than one individual.
- Use a balanced approach to grab your prospect’s attention without “teasing” them.
Ideally, you should give 30-60 days to your campaign before you analyze the results. Here are some critical questions you need to answer while doing the assessment;
- Was the personalized content engaging? If yes, how?
- Are you looking to expand the number of stakeholders in your target audience?
- Were you able to move any of the target accounts down the funnel?
- Were these campaigns helpful in generating revenue?
It is possible that you may not get the desired results the first time. Therefore, you need to assess what were your shortcomings and how you can make the adjustments in the future. On the other hand, if everything went as planned, then keep it up.