Account-based marketing (ABM) is one of the best strategies a B2B business can use to generate highly qualified leads and increase profitability. The idea of account-based marketing has been around since the 60s, however, it has become increasingly popular in the last couple of decades due to advancements in technology and increased accessibility of data.
Understanding account-based marketing is an absolute must for any B2B business, as it will ensure you stay ahead of your competition in the ever-changing sales and marketing landscape.
In this blog post, our account-based marketing agency will define ABM and compare it with traditional marketing strategies. We will also discuss the different types of ABM, and explain how it can positively impact your business’s performance and results.
What is Account-Based Marketing (ABM)?
Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is a customer-focused strategy that involves hyper-targeting a small number of accounts and building strong relationships with them through exceptional customer experience. It is a personal and humanistic approach that aims to nurture the key relationship over a long period of time.
For an ABM strategy to be successful, it is critical that the sales and marketing teams work in close collaboration and that their objectives are completely aligned. If you are using an account-based marketing agency to run your campaign, it’s important that they work closely with your sales department to ensure each client has a seamless buyer’s journey where pain points are minimised. Their individual buyer’s journey must be carefully thought through and planned to make sure that every stage of the process meets the lead’s needs at the right moment in time.
What is the Purpose of ABM?
The goal of an ABM campaign is to engage with the target client’s decision-makers. To do this, an account-based marketing agency will use insights gathered from account-based intelligence tools which allows them to identify and communicate with individual decision-makers within target accounts. This will help businesses build trust by demonstrating they are knowledgeable about their client’s business in order to be considered one of their key partners.
Who Should Adopt an ABM Approach?
Many businesses across several sectors have partnered with an account-based marketing agency to implement smart ABM strategies. However, that is not to say it is a strategy that fits all business types. Due to the long-term nature of account-based marketing, it is best suited to B2B companies that are seeking to gain and retain high-value clients with high growth potential.
ABM is most effective when it comes to marketing high-value, complex products and services. It is also useful for companies who are looking to target customers with large accounts, for example, Fortune 500 or FTSE 250 companies. A digital marketing agency or ABM agency should be able to help you make your account selection and gather the relevant information that will help you build relationships with targets using ABM tools and marketing automation.
By fostering strong relationships with this type of key clients, it is hoped that as the clients’ business grows that they will require more products/ services from your company to meet their ever-expanding needs. Establishing your company as a reliable partner will be advantageous in the future as the client’s business prospers and there are more opportunities to offer your services.
Take advantage of all the skills an account-based marketing agency has to offer to create unique content that will engage your target accounts and utilize the right technology to drive the highest ROI for your organisation. An ABM consultancy will help you identify which campaigns deliver results and drive growth for your organisation by breaking down the insights and data gathered during the campaign life-cycle.
ABM vs Traditional Marketing
The main difference between traditional and account-based marketing services is that traditional marketing focuses on the volume of prospects targeted, whereas ABM programs is more concerned with the value or importance of the prospects.
Traditional marketing focuses on selling to a large number of clients while ABM targets only specific accounts, typically through reaching out to senior decision-makers in businesses. The goal of account-based marketing is not to generate as many leads or sales as possible but rather secure an ongoing relationship with selected companies through personalised, valuable content.
Typically, traditional marketing takes a broad approach to targeting where generic messaging is used to reach a wide audience. In contrast, ABM focuses on providing highly relevant messaging tailored to specific companies. It targets a small number of high-priority accounts while increasing the focus on relationship building through personalized communication strategies. Content and campaigns are tailored and created with the target prospects in mind.
An analogy often used to help highlight the difference in targeting strategies is fishing with nets vs fishing with spears. Traditional marketing is similar to fishing with nets in that a wide net is cast in the hope of “catching” a large volume of clients. Whereas, account-based marketing is more like fishing with spears in that it is precise and aims to only “catch” larger, more profitable clients. The focus is on the quality of clients as opposed to the quantity.
The 3 Types of ABM
ITSMA are global leaders in account-based marketing research and education. They have identified that over the last few years three distinct categories of account-based marketing have emerged:
This is account-based marketing in its purest form. A very select few accounts are targeted and content/ campaigns should be made solely for each individual account.
Involves creating content directed at a small number of accounts that have similar needs and face common challenges. This may be a small cluster of accounts within your account-based marketing target list that are operating in the same industry and comparable in terms of size. The content is still tailored to that individual account, but it can be repurposed for other target clients.
This is the newest “type” of account-based marketing to emerge. It consists of a company utilising data and technology to scale up ABM efforts to target a larger number of accounts.
Developments in marketing tools have allowed companies to create personalised campaigns, content, and marketing resources to target accounts in less time and using less effort.
However, it is important to note that companies should be cautious when implementing this type of approach to sales and marketing, as spreading your resources too thinly across too many accounts is simply “marketing” not account-based marketing.
Why Implement an ABM Strategy?
- 92% of B2B marketers stated that account-based marketing was “extremely important” or “very important” to their overall strategic marketing plan (SiriusDecisions)
- Companies that implemented account-based marketing found that it resulted in an 87% higher ROI compared to all other types of marketing (ITSMA)
- Using an account-based marketing strategy saw ABM companies generating 208% more revenue related to their marketing activities (Act-On)
- Average annual contract value increased by 171% for companies that employed ABM programs (ABM Leadership Alliance)
To conclude, account-based marketing (ABM) provides a targeted, personalised approach to marketing that allows for increased focus on quality compared with traditional marketing strategies. Key target accounts that are perceived as valuable are pursued and the goal is to nurture relationships with those few accounts over a long period of time.
Many companies that have implemented an ABM strategy have found success as a result. It is a very effective marketing strategy that is recommended for B2B companies, as it is proven to produce positive results including increased ROI, revenue generation and average contract value.
As the world becomes more and more saturated with marketing messages, fostering strong relationships with clients in order to promote brand loyalty will become increasingly important to the survival and profitability of businesses.
Partnering with an Account-Based Marketing Agency
Azzurro-Blu is a digital marketing and account-based marketing agency that work with clients to develop and implement account-based marketing services that work for their business and its unique needs. Our team offer their knowledge and expertise to execute marketing campaigns through the right channels to reach your target audience. Our digital marketing agency will work with clients’ sales teams to create campaigns that drive lead generation through bespoke account-based marketing strategies.
Interested in learning more about ABM and how we can help your business? Send us an email at [email protected], or alternatively give us a call on 01224 600005.