What is Account-Based Marketing?
There was a time when marketers were obsessed with their blanket campaigns that were super-wide, and super-disconnected with the sales activities because at the core they were designed to attract anyone and everyone.
While the efforts of the marketing team were going in one direction, those of the sales team were going in the other direction. The result? Most of the marketing leads get rejected by the sales team and hence the term ‘Sales is from Mars and Marketing is from Venus.’ The relationship between sales and marketing is often too precarious.
Over the years, an alternative philosophy budded, which is slowly becoming the mantra of marketing today – Account-Based Marketing.
‘Account-Based Marketing’ term was first coined by the Information Technology Services Marketing Association, ITSMA, which claims it to deliver the highest return on investment (ROI) of any strategic B2B marketing approach.
Why Account-Based Marketing?
ABM is a strategic approach, one-on-one approach, and is typically focused on those few enterprise-level companies with more than 1000 employees that have a high chance of adding to your bottom line.
It helps teams to engage earlier in the sales process, align marketing initiatives with sales strategies, and maximize ROI from marketing campaigns.
About 97% of Marketers said that ABM had higher ROI than other marketing channels. (Source: Alterra Group)
ABM is the hot trending topic today amongst B2B Marketers. 86% of them inquire about ABM, and 92% have a plan to start an ABM program. (Source: Salesforce)
On the contrary, only 19% of marketers have confidence in executing the ABM programs. So why is it that hard to make ABM real?
Why is Account-Based Marketing difficult?
For those new to Account-based marketing, the whole thing can seem monumentally complex, requiring a massive stack of technology before you can even get started. ABM has been around forever; it’s just that instead of fishing with nets we are catching with the spears. Then why do you think that ABM is challenging in today’s scenario?
One of the primary reasons is the buying cycle has been altered. According to the Harvard Business Review, the number of stakeholders involved in B2B purchases has increased from an average of 5.4 four years ago to 6.8 or more today. These stakeholders have varied roles, responsibilities, and even geographies.
On top of these existing challenges, your business data lives in siloes department-wise like sales, marketing, finance, etc. along with fragmented tools and processes. With large data being added year after year, a raft of stakeholders involved in each purchase, and an ever-expanding array of options, how do you know that you are reaching the right person with the right content and right offer.
If you are using Salesforce, most of your account data is already living in your CRM. And some of the account data will be fragmented in different tools. Now the job of your team is to learn syncing data between different systems and have a 360-degree view of your prospects. Along with that, your IT team should figure out a way to use different APIs to sync that data.
At Solunus, we are striving to bring all that data together for you to run your account-based marketing activities on top of the Salesforce platform. We help marketers focus on those ‘Big Accounts’ that most likely generate revenue to scale growth.
What is the right approach to good ABM?
If you are reading this, you must be very keen on developing a full strategized ABM at your company. Solunus has helped multiple clients develop an ABM solution entirely on the world’s most intelligent CRM – Salesforce. It’s a four-step process.
Step 1: Discovery phase: Identify high-value accounts
To identify your high-value accounts, you need to have a clean and enrich CRM account data. Unless you are a startup, you already have an existing base of customer and prospect data in your CRM, and most probably in bad shape. Solunus can help you clean this data so that you can have a bird’s eye view on all of your accounts and pull the best-fit set of accounts.
Step 2: Engagement Phase: Improving customer engagement
Once you’ve identified target accounts, it’s time to engage with them. Depending on the stage of the purchasing cycle the account is in, your ABM can come in several flavors. Solunus can help you record every step of your engagement process with your contacts. We also help you extract and import data from other tools like marketing automation system to track engagement.
Step 3: Aligning Phase: Bring together sales and marketing teams
Every B2B sales team believes that ABM is incomplete without their intervention. It’s important for sales teams to understand the planning that marketing teams undertake. This step ensures that the marketing team creates a strategy that leverages the account segmentation you’ve developed across content creation, messaging, outbound and inbound.
Keep the sales team informed about business developments and trends that affect their key accounts.
Step 4: Optimizing Phase: Measure and optimize performance
Measuring the success of your ABM campaigns and tracking the progress of key specific accounts through the funnel is easy because our focus is a small group. It’s critical to include both the sales and marketing funnel when calculating the results. Are you able to appeal to the targeted audience? Are they travelling the same journey and imbibing the same content that you want them to? Is this entire process integrated into the sales process? Solunus helps you measure these aspects and more into the measuring process.
If your business follows the above steps, you’ll be well on your way to running integrated ABM campaigns that deliver results for your marketing efforts. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you with ABM, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Solunus, a North-American based Salesforce Partner, prepares businesses for their next-generation customers. Established in 2014, we simplify Salesforce for you to build more meaningful customer relationships. We partner for a win-win arrangement with a clear ROI that the client realizes by the end of the engagement. Our 350+ years of cumulative industry exposure and Salesforce experience underpin our position as the right Salesforce partner. We are a team of Salesforce Certified Professionals, CRM Architects, and certified Agile Scrum Masters with a passion for making a difference.
About the Author:
Lizia has over eight years of deep understanding of marketing in the software and technology space. She has professional writing experience – both in the start-up and SMB corporate context. Her specialities include content marketing, building, and establishing marketing and business development. Her work is widely published in industry blogs, as well as on the company publications.