Despite the fact that account based marketing (ABM) is revolutionizing B2B, only 43 percent of marketers have a clear definition of what it actually is. In essence, account-based marketing is when B2B marketers focus on an account, rather than simply an individual lead. This technique harnesses the power of data to identify targets and create, and deliver, personalized content to specific people within an organization in a timely fashion.
An ABM approach brings all of the decision makers to the targeting table and requires departmental alignment on the marketer’s side to work best. Doing so will help B2B marketers reach every individual decision maker within a target organization. This approach can help dramatically increase ROI. In fact, 80 percent of marketers that measure ROI report that ABM strategies outperform other marketing investments, and some companies using ABM generate 200 percent more revenue for their efforts. This is due in part because ABM helps companies increase engagement, which leads to retention and expanded contract values.
Contract value for ABM-targeted accounts goes up an average of 40 percent for mid-market accounts and 35 percent for enterprise companies. In addition, some 83 percent of B2B marketers increased engagement with target accounts while employing ABM.
Data analytics plays a central role in any successful ABM strategy, because data allows marketers to identify leads and target them in a strategic way. Yet, according to SiriusDecisions, 60 percent of marketers consider the overall health of their data unreliable. In addition, studies have found that only 31 percent of B2B companies feel that their organizations have the right data for sales, and only 24 percent feel that they have the right data for marketing.
These stats are proof positive that B2B companies have a lot of work to do to make the most of ABM. Successful ABM strategies rely on clean and accurate data. ABM is built on the tactic of engaging key stakeholders from target accounts with personalized messages. From white papers to webinars, this content speaks to the individual on a personal level to help them solve their key challenges. Without the right data in place, marketers won’t be able to deliver content to the right targets at the right time.
Segmentation is also core to identifying these stakeholders, and B2B marketers must have good data to be able to segment. Companies are targeting accounts on elements such as industry type, company size, revenue, number of employees and annual spend in order to deliver the right message. When combined with predictive analytics and sales intelligence, B2B marketers can identify which specific behaviors show a prospect’s likeliness to buy and then use these attributes to find other potential buyers.
Aside from good data, it is key for B2B marketers to have organizational buy-in and to get the technology in place in order to succeed. According to Forbes, 89 percent of B2B marketers plan to adopt predictive analytics. Ensuring unity within the organization is the best way to build a solid practice. The marketing team should understand the role of predictive analytics and be prepared to integrate technology in the right places. Content marketers should work to have engaging content at each step in the funnel, and be able to use predictive insights to determine when and where these messages should be delivered. Directors should be able to work ABM into their roadmaps and adjust accordingly.
Predictive analytics also requires companies to keep a close eye on reporting and adhere to the metrics. Predictive analytics engagement scores should be added to weekly and monthly reports. In addition, ABM dashboards should be integrated with attribution software in order to track real time engagement and conversions.
The promise of ABM is booming, but it requires a strategy to ensure that the program will succeed.