Account Based Marketing: Is it right for you?

June 29th, 2017 - Posted by: in Sales Enablement

After spending an entire month talking about Account Based Marketing on the SmartAcre blog, one thing is apparent, with new ABM technology and the constant desire for smart marketers to prove ROI, the marketing industry is rallying around the “account based buzz”. And it makes sense, because in many ways Account Based Marketing is really just good marketing.

According to SiriusDecisions’ State of Account Based Marketing Study, 92 percent of companies recognize the value in ABM, and labeled it as a B2B marketing ‘must-have’. The ROI numbers also back this sentiment. In a survey conducted by the Alterra Group, 97 percent of marketers agreed that ABM provided a significant increase in the ROI.

It seems like everyone in the world of marketing is talking about ABM (including us here at SmartAcre), but is this marketing strategy the right fit for you? We’ve put together a quick list of Pros and Cons of ABM to let you decide for yourself:

Pros:

ABM allows you to get personal

Since ABM focuses on targeting your top accounts, you will have the bandwidth to get personal. This includes not just names, but goals, objectives, pain points, and the whole WIIFM (What’s In it for Me?). When comparing a personalized ABM landing page used for paid advertising to a general landing page used for paid advertising for our client, TreeHouse, we found that conversion rates increased by over 20%.

It is easy to set goals and define what success looks like with ABM

Before starting with ABM, your goal might simply be to grow the number of leads on your target account list, and begin sending them personalized content. Plus, you already know the ultimate goal – to get them to buy (and usually at a target dollar amount). Winning just one target account could be a major marketing success.

A lead can’t buy you a beer – ABM is revenue focused

This is what our Marketing Automation expert, Melissa Day has to say about the revenue focused aspect of ABM – “Our clients often fall into the trap of ‘I just need 100 new leads this month’. But, so what? If those leads don’t turn into revenue, who cares? A lead can’t buy you a beer, but money can.” The traditional marketing funnel is based on the premise of amassing leads, nurturing them, and waiting for them to turn into revenue. ABM flips this traditional marketing funnel by identifying the best-fit prospects at the outset, and targeting them with the goal to seal a high-value deal. ABM is revenue focused, and, at the end of the day, who doesn’t like money?

If you boil all of this down, ABM really is just good marketing

Take a closer look at ABM and you’ll see it goes hand-in-hand with the basic tenets of traditional inbound marketing. You have a goal, you have a target audience, and you are creating content that aligns to their pain points. At the end of the day, by implementing ABM, you are simply implementing basic, really good marketing practices.

Cons:

You can’t just wing it

Well, you can, but you will likely fail. To properly implement ABM, you need to fully build a plan and strategic direction. You must extensively research the company that you are going to target – its size, annual revenue, industry-specific trends, expected profit margin, etc. Also, remember that ABM is not specific to an individual. If you don’t have a deep understanding of the company structure, key decision makers and influencers you will not be in a position to convey your product/service message effectively to all the stakeholders in an account.

Your tracking has got to be seamless

Simply put, you have to be able to track a lead through to sales revenue. A marketing automation tool (like HubSpot, Pardot, or Marketo) along with a CRM like Salesforce will help you extract, track and analyze data when set up correctly with proper lead attribution.

It doesn’t need to break the bank, but usually you need to have a budget

Whether you are sending an etched bottle of wine or running LinkedIn ads, a robust ABM plan will cost you money. However, by targeting top accounts, it should be worth the spend in the long run. Remind your leaders that you are spending money to target accounts that will be a BIG DEAL when they are closed won thanks to your ABM efforts.

Content will dictate your ABM strategy

In marketing, content is always paramount, but ABM takes it to the next level. Since ABM involves a lot of personalized content creation, one of the pillars of your success will be a focused content team that is not tangled up in bandwidth issues. Without a seasoned, dedicated content team, your chances of successfully implementing ABM will take a hit.

So, is ABM a fit for you?

These are just some of the pros and cons for you to consider, before jumping on the ABM-wagon, start by setting goals, analyzing your target account list, outlining a strategy, and putting the right resources in place.

If budget is tight, resources are strapped, and your marketing team’s relationship with sales could still use a bit of work, consider pressing pause on the ABM button. However, if your organization is prepared to work around those restraints and is ready to hit well-defined revenue goals, it may be time to roll up your sleeves and create a highly targeted campaign.

So, what’s the next step? Download this ABM playbook for a guide to understanding and implementing a powerful ABM strategy.

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