Account-based marketing is on the rise among B2B marketers due to its innovative ways to increase performance and turn leads into clients. While this strategy is not new to marketing, digital has made this approach more effective and offers a competitive advantage to the right companies. More effective than inbound marketing, account-based marketing allows B2B marketers to build relationships with target audiences through campaigns and content.
Rather than focusing on leads, and instead taking a look at accounts, B2B marketers have a great opportunity to master outbound marketing. Using technology, these marketers can identify the types of accounts that are an ideal fit to use their products and then reach them through coordinated and personalized messaging at scale.
Account-based marketing brings automation and digital insights to account managers who understand the importance of building relationships in order to make deals. Companies that are willing to unearth prospects and opportunities outside the traditional funnel will benefit from this approach. Rather than typical marketing automation practices made popular by inbound marketing, account-based marketing only messages to B2B leads that raise their hands and opt into the funnel.
Account-based marketing is not for everyone: it doesn’t make sense for B2C companies that sell a larger volume of low-cost products regularly. B2B firms that offer high-value products or services with a considerable purchase cycle, in which buyers spend a lot of time and research before closing deals, can especially benefit from account-based marketing. It takes time and investment to succeed.
In order for ABM to work, marketers must adopt a new perspective to predictive analytics. Predictive marketing is only effective if it is applied against a highly targeted list, which has new contacts and accounts being added to it. Measurement is also core to making this strategy work. Good analysis is required for marketers to understand what is and isn’t working so that they can optimize against data.
Like any channel, ABM is not without its hurdles. While it works very effectively to identify, reach and convert prospects through search and social, the process can take a long time. Not all leads will be in-market and marketers taking this approach will have to invest time building relationships before deals actually close.
The channel also requires sales and marketing to collaborate, a hurdle for many organizations. While marketing departments may be able to think long term, sales people are often focused on closing deals. Account-based marketing works best when these two departments can come together and take a big picture approach. According to Demand Metric’s study, “Account-Based Marketing Adoption,” 60 percent of B2B marketers using account-based marketing report a revenue increase which they attribute to alignment and strategy, and most of those firms saw an increase of at least 20 percent. The 40 percent that use ABM that didn’t generate a revenue lift, rated their sales and marketing alignment poorly.
Account-based marketing requires teamwork in order to focus on quality over quantity. This new relationship with sales and marketing departments will help to reach prospects and leads at the right time in the marketing funnel with relevant content. The sophisticated B2B marketer that spends a lot of lead-time developing relationships and getting to know clients in order to close large deals, will enhance their efforts by adopting a solid ABM strategy.
Image via Михаил Чуркин