Why make the move to account based marketing (ABM)? Marketo defines ABM as “an alternative B2B strategy that concentrates sales and marketing resources on a clearly defined set of target accounts within a market and employs personalized campaigns designed to resonate with each account.” This strategy aligns sales and marketing efforts, challenging these departments to function in a more integrated way than ever before. The concept of ABM is certainly not new, and neither is the pushback from many organizations hesitant to alter their status quo. However, with this concentrated sales and marketing approach, there are a number of benefits that outweigh the challenges of change management.
Here are six benefits of ABM you can expect to see as your organization shifts to an account based strategy (bonus: these serve as six points you can use to support your case for your marketing department to finally make the ABM shift):
The proof is in the numbers: 75% of customers prefer personalized offers (Aberdeen Group). While personalizing every single email for a group of individuals is unrealistic and counteracts the idea of marketing automation, you can automate personalized content based on account attributes. ABM allows for industry, company, and role-based personalization in messaging, making your audience feel personally connected while keeping your efficiency in automation in tact.
The marketing automation tools we use every day (Marketo, Eloqua, Pardot, HubSpot, etc.) pack more power than most users realize. These tools can personalize content on a bigger scale with minimal effort. Marketing automation tools provide functionality supporting dynamic content within emails and landing pages. In addition, these tools also offer dynamic calls-to-action (CTA) that can be used on web pages, landing pages, or emails. By categorizing account attributes that align to your ABM strategy and defining the messaging for those audience members (see benefit #1), your marketing technology stack can enable this dynamic messaging for targeted and more relevant content.
By aligning account managers to specific industries, regions, or individual accounts, lead routing and assignment becomes more direct. Not only does this simplify lead assignment automation in CRM systems like Salesforce, but this allows account managers to become experts in their realm of accounts. It also saves administrative time spent assigning leads, allowing sales rep to focus on building revenue.
Instead of focusing on a piece of content or series of channels, ABM shifts the focus to its target audience first. Once target accounts have been identified, channels of outreach and marketing/sales strategy can be developed for those specific audiences. Based on these different accounts or attributes (industry, job title, etc.) and their strategies, you can identify specific channels that would provide the highest engagement. Instead of using a checklist of channels to market content that may or may not reach your targets, your strategy can purposefully put the right content in front of the right audience based on their proven engagement record. According to Terminus, “this hyper-targeting increases the effectiveness of your marketing messages without increasing the resources needed to run more targeted campaigns.”
By using more targeted messaging and strategies, marketing is better preparing leads to talk to sales. A sales-qualified lead will have been exposed to targeted company messaging through the top of the funnel, saving sales time and letting them skip introductory messaging. Plus with your account manager being an expert in their accounts (see benefit #3), your sales team will also be more prepared to have a deeper conversation with their SQL. This provides a foundation for sales and marketing to work better together – which “ultimately leads to the powerful, predictive marketing and turnkey targeted advertising that unlocks accounts,” according to Kissmetrics. This benefit may be the most valuable outcome of marketing and sales working in a more integrated way. If marketing is responsible for bringing in leads and sales is responsible for closing them, ABM’s approach blends this expectation so that both departments have a vested interest in the entire lead lifecycle – from the top of the funnel through to customer advocacy.
Because marketing and sales strategies can be tied to specific accounts or industries, account revenue can be associated back to those strategies. Not all CRM solutions, like Salesforce, are account based — something Agile Marketing points out: “although they do have an accounts database, it can be difficult to analyze your progress by account.” These opportunity- and contact-based systems may seem to present a challenge, but with upfront planning and clear account-to-campaign allocation, you can measure your account by account ROI.
Even with these clear benefits directly associated with an ABM strategy, many organizations perceive the scale of a marketing and sales transition to be too large or painful to warrant execution, while ignoring the strategic value it would bring. Being part of an agency working with a number of clients, we have not only been able to simplify this transformation and enable clear benefits like the above six, but we have also been able to get involved early enough to take partial ownership of the change management process.
Now that the benefits of ABM are clear, gain a deeper understanding of how to drive qualified leads and close more deals with ABM. Download your Account Based Marketing playbook today.