Account based marketing, better known as ABM, has been making its rounds on the marketing websites and forums. 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 has attracted more attention and gained popularity in the last few years, research has shown there to be numerous benefits from instituting this strategy – the most notable being that there is a clear return on investment. However, there is still some confusion about what ABM actually is. So, with the help of Demand Gen Report, we’ve put together a list of five common misunderstandings that’ll clear up any confusion.,
- ABM is not MA. When it comes to ABM, it is all about personalization and being genuine. Marketing automation, or MA, does the exact opposite of this. MA is focused on increasing leads, sending countless emails to anybody and everybody, and more. The end result? Severely spammed inboxes and greater emotional distance between the customer and company. ABM flips MA on its head. ABM’s approach is focused on connecting with customers that are already interested in whatever you’re selling so you can build a greater relationship that is lasting. 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 – be more mindful about who you’re targeting, how you’re targeting them, and why.
- Sales and marketing alignment is key. We’ve talked about this topic before, but it really comes into play with ABM. In order to run a successful account based marketing strategy within your organization, sales and marketing teams have to work together. The way Demand Gen Report puts it, “ABM’s success is measure 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 both working toward the same goals, activities will align to the customer buying journey, which will result in revenue outcomes, not just lead generations.
- ABM is actually a strategy. For a moment, I want you to imagine you are a new carpenter. To be a carpenter you need some tools – a hammer, screwdriver, pliers, pry bars, and so on. Now say you are tasked with installing your first set of cabinets in a customer’s kitchen. You show up to the house with your tools in tow only to realize you have no idea how the heck to install kitchen cabinets – oh crap. You see, it’s great to have all those tools as a carpenter, but they are useless if you don’t know what you’re doing and are unsure how to approach an assignment. In a way, the same goes for account based marketing. You could have all the fancy ABM platforms and tools at your disposal, but if you don’t have a clue what ABM is in the first place and how to implement it as a strategy, then you’re screwed (pun intended). 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, engaging with your customers is the number one priority, and any tools you have available should only compliment this approach.
- Building awareness drives success. For a moment, imagine you’re the customer – we all are every day in some way so this shouldn’t be too hard. Say you’re scrolling through your inbox and there are a bunch of emails from a number of health and wellness brands. You read “LAST CHANCE TO BUY TODAY”, “New Summer Products Now Available”, and “This Week Only: 20% Off EVERYTHING.” These are great and all, but let’s be honest – they’re kind of obnoxious. Then just as you’re about to close the application, you see “7 Reason Why Fat is Actually Good For You!” Hmm, kind of piques your interest, right? You decide to open the email and give the linked article a read. “Very interesting and very informative,” you think to yourself. The company behind the email? They sell ketogenic (lower in carbs, higher in fats) protein powders and now you’re a bit more inclined to purchase and give them a try. Well, that company did its job. You see, as customers, we are berated with emails, advertisements, commercials, and more all day. It’s easy to get sick of seeing the same wording, marketing tactics, and honestly, annoying, pulls to get us to buy something. Instead, an approach that teaches and educates is more likely to drive results. Why? We only remember so much at once. If a company teaches us something or builds awareness on a relevant topic, we are more inclined to remember them, and eventually purchase from them. The same is true when it comes to ABM – “B2B companies who sell in the channel must have awareness as their number one goal. When it comes down to it, a partner thinking about them now can mean millions of dollars in deals for them in the long term.”
- Say hello to engagement. As marketers, we’ve been trained to automatically think, “How many MQLs do I have? SQLs? Is the top of my funnel big enough?” Forget all of that. What matters 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.” All in all, when you shift your focus to analyzing the engagement and therefore effectiveness of a campaign, it’s much easier to understand and draw conclusions from a small, focused set of targets.
Now, we understand it can be scary to change how you think about and approach sales and marketing workflow, but ABM doesn’t need to be complicated. With the right strategy and message, you can deliver highly targeted campaigns to meet the needs of your potential clients and win more business.
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.