5 Common ABM Misunderstandings
Account-based marketing, better known as ABM, is becoming increasingly popular among B2B companies. Terminus defines ABM as, “a focused approach to B2B marketing in which marketing and sales teams work together to target best-fit accounts and turn them into customers.” As ABM attracts more attention in the B2B community, research has shown that there are many benefits from using this strategy – the most notable being greater return on investment.
Salesforce states: 84% of B2B companies say ABM delivers higher ROI than other types of marketing.
However, there is still some confusion about what ABM actually is. So, with the help of this Demand Gen Report, we’ve put together a list of five common misunderstandings that’ll clear up any confusion.
1. ABM is not Marketing Automation.
Account-based marketing is successful because of its personalization and authenticity. Marketing automation, or MA, does the opposite of this. MA focuses on “more equals better” – more leads, and tons of spammed inboxes. But in the end, this just leads your customers to feel that your company is disingenuous, creating emotional distance between you and your customers.
On the contrary, ABM focuses on connecting with customers that already have an interest in what you’re selling. This helps create stronger, longer lasting relationships.
As Terminus says, “Instead of starting with marketing channels in an attempt to generate leads, an ABM strategy begins with identifying and targeting best-fit accounts that have the biggest revenue potential for your business. Marketers can then use technology to serve personalized messaging to decision-makers at these accounts on the channels they are actively using. In an ABM program, this marketing outreach is supplemented by personalized, one-to-one sales outreach to the same list of target accounts.” Bottom line – Instead of targeting a large group of leads, focus on the accounts you want as customers.
2. Sales and marketing alignment is crucial.
We’ve talked about this topic before, but propre alignment really determines whether your ABM strategy will be successful or not. The way Demand Gen Report puts it, “ABM’s success is measured by its impact in every department, partner, supplier, and beyond. Anyone with skin in the game has a role in reporting on the ABM metrics such as accounts, engagement, created opportunities, closed deals, etc. It’s one team, one scorecard, and one goal.”
Furthermore, at RenderTribe we believe when sales and marketing are aligned, B2B strategies are much more efficient and effective. When working together, activities will align to the customer buying journey, which will result in a greater ROI.
3. ABM is actually a strategy.
It is important to have the right tools, but if you don’t know how to use them – or how to approach a task, then they are useless. You could have all the pricey ABM tools, but if you don’t fully understand ABM or how to create and implement the strategy, it is not going to work.
Think of it like this – “When you align yourself to the strategy of ABM, you’ll naturally use the tools at your disposal to document the process, optimize your efforts, and track results. But the strategy must always come first and play the lead role for any of this [ABM] to work.” At the end of the day, the most important thing is engaging with your customers, and any tools you have available should only strengthen this approach.
4. Building awareness drives success.
For a moment, imagine you’re the customer, scrolling through your inbox. You see a bunch of emails from health and wellness brands with subjects full of all caps saying things like, “last chance to buy”, “20% off”, and “new products now available”. None of this is new and none of it is interesting. But when you see an email that says, “5 Reasons Why Fat is Actually Good For You”, it peaks your interest.
After reading an interesting and informative content piece, you’re much more inclined to go to the site and try out the brand. That company knew what they were doing and how to capture the best customers. Customers are overwhelmed with emails, ads, and commercials and tire of seeing the same wording and marketing tactics to get us to buy something.
Instead, an approach that teaches and educates is more likely to drive results. If a company teaches us something about a relevant topic, it helps us to remember that company, building awareness.
The same is true when it comes to ABM – “The fact that channel partners often sell an array of similar (and even competing) products means that B2B companies who can gain mindshare among them are already winning. Most people don’t remember more than a handful of brands at any given time for anything (shoes, coffee, etc.), and the same is true for channel partners. So, B2B companies who sell in the channel must have awareness as their number goal for ABM.”
5. Engagement is the most important measurement.
Marketers have always been told that leads are the most important thing, “How many MQLs do I have? SQLs? Is the top of my funnel big enough?” This is no longer the case. The most important measurement with ABM is engagement.
As Demand Gen Report says, “ABM requires that you flip your funnel upside down, so only the most qualified, ready-to-buy channel partners are getting your attention. Instead of focusing on lead numbers, figure out what your engagement goals are.” When you shift your focus to analyzing engagement, the true effectiveness of a campaign, it helps you make conclusions from a smaller, more focused set of targets.
It can be intimidating to change how you approach sales and marketing workflow, but ABM doesn’t need to be complicated. With the right strategy and messaging, you can increase revenue and build lasting relationships with your customers.
At RenderTribe, our RenderLab process helps you identify the unique pieces that fit in your overall marketing strategy and align your plan with overall business objectives. We help build the foundation for measurement, expertise, and the tactical execution needed to support the plan.
Let us help you grow your bottom line. Contact us today.