What is Account-Based Marketing?

Account based marketing is a highly personalized marketing strategy which aims to target specific customer instead of entire market. Account may be an individual or a company. Customized campaigns are run to acquire business from major accounts.

Definition of account based marketing

Account based marketing is a solution that helps target specific account that the enterprise is looking to target or value the most. It is a solution that merges the account data with technology to reach the audience at all four stage of marketing i.e. attract, engage, consider, and convert stage with customized messages.

ABM is entirely different in its approach as compared to any other form of marketing. It’s a business strategy which is primarily focused on aligning marketing and sales to achieve long-term relationship and seek business from high valued accounts.  It is not only concerned about producing leads but quality leads.  Account to be targeted is treated as a market of one.  The utilization of resources for a specific account often results in stronger customer relationships and accounts can be retained for longer. Strategies in ABM are tailored for specific customers. 

91% of B2B marketers who have implemented account-based marketing (ABM) say they are aligned with sales. (source: eMarketer)

Evolution of Account based marketing:

ABM has been around for more than two decades now and has improved significantly with time. This kind of marketing started around the year 1995 where maximum of 50 accounts could be managed at one go and where field work was the only major channel. The start in ABM was more of manual process which slowly in 10 years scaled up to a greater number of accounts (say 500 accounts) with an intervention of email marketing as an additional marketing channel. CRM and marketing automation was introduced which actually made email marketing channel possible to reach out to target audience. The advancement on technology is making ABM more strategic and successful, currently we have reached to a stage where thousands of accounts can be managed with higher success or conversion rate. The addition of data management platform has also made it possible to track or tap the audience at various stages of marketing funnel.

Majorly the ad agencies work on philosophical alignment for brands

Key steps to implement Account Based Marketing:

Before we just jump up to the steps of implementing ABM, the most critical action that need to be checked is how aligned the marketing and sales team are, it is really important for both the team to work hand on hand to get the maximum out of ABM strategy. Earlier model of ABM was just about passing leads to the sales team from marketing team and moving to the next program to get further more leads but that actually didn’t work and result wasn’t as expected, finally leading to stopping all ABM campaigns. It’s wise that both team should share each and every actions and results with each other so that a synchronised decision can be taken which will finally help in amazing results.

  • Define accounts to target: 
    This is the most vital step which involves identifying the high value accounts.  This requires collaborative effort from sales and marketing executives. Analysing firm data reveals a lot about the company. Traits like size of the company, culture, stability, revenue, and influence in the Market must be taken into consideration. Past experience in dealing with similar accounts can also be beneficial. 
  • Know more about your account: 
    Once the target account is identified, in-depth research about the structure of organization, key stakeholders, decision makers, hierarchy needs to be performed. Performing this research would let you know about the key players who would play a major role in finalising the deal.  LinkedIn serves as the best and most reliable source of information regarding organizations.  
  • Create customized content: 
    Next important step is to craft personalized content focused on specific account. This requires understanding the pain points of the organisation so that the content is customized to provide solution to these pain areas.  Content must be focused on specific deal. 
  • Delivery channel:
    Just creating quality content is not enough if it fails to reach the target customer. Hence, choosing the most effective communication channels is of utmost importance. Social media platforms are most widely utilized modes of communication. Also, mobile network and emails can also be effective medium of ensuring two-way communication. 
  • Running targeted campaigns: 
    This is where members from marketing and sales sit together to plan for a campaign which brings good revenue. All channels must reflect similar content and should be in sync.
  • Measure your performance :

Performance for each campaign is closely monitored and based on the numbers the campaigns is optimized. Results can be measured in terms of deals closed and revenue generated. 

Advantages of Account based marketing (ABM):

  • Optimal use of resources: Resources being utilized for specific customers minimises the wastage. ABM being highly focused results in effective use of resources which is usually difficult to achieve with larger target audience.
  • Highly personalised: ABM is dedicated to a single account with content and campaigns focused on one organization. Campaigns are optimized to resonate with the target account. 
  • Connects marketing to revenue: The visibility of marketing spends is much more clearer as compared to other mediums of digital advertising hence the connection between marketing to revenue is transparent and strong.
  • Collaboration of Sales and Marketing: This is one of the stands out feature which differentiates ABM from any other marketing. Marketing and Sales team must work in tandem to achieve effective campaigns for high-Value accounts. Primary objective of both the teams is to form strong bond with customers and generate revenue via repeated sale.
  • Quicker sales process: Finalising a deal with any organization requires go-ahead from multiple stakeholders.  More the no. of decision makers, slower becomes the process.  With ABM, the length of sales cycle is shortened as all marketing efforts are done towards a specific account. All decision makers are well informed and nurtured simultaneously.
  • Increase ROI: ABM has produced better results as compared various other marketing techniques.  Businesses have been able to yield higher returns on investments.  Although the implementation cost involved with ABM is slightly more but considering the profit margins being on higher side, businesses are keen to use ABM for their major clients. 

The four most important channels for ABM marketing are:

  1. Events
  2. Digital Marketing
  3. Field Marketing
  4. Customer Marketing (Renewal strategy)

You can try further more channels where only thing you need to take care of is “precise targeting”.