Account based marketing (ABM) is the new kid on the block, and lots of businesses are getting very excited indeed about its ability to attract, nurture and convert the most valuable leads they could dream of landing. In this blog though, we want to talk to the companies that aren’t excited yet. Let us tell you what you’re missing.
Bear with me just a moment, while I quickly recap the evolution of marketing.
Many brands have already said goodbye to “spray and pray” outbound marketing, which flings your message across a broad audience in the hope that something sticks. Direct mailers, outbound email marketing, billboard advertising and shouting from rooftops tend to be fairly expensive and often poor-performing methods of lead generation.
In contrast to outbound marketing, inbound marketing tends to generate more relevant leads. It does this by publishing and promoting content that identifies a target audiences’ pains, discussing potential solutions and offering genuine value.
For instance, we could share content which considers common pains faced by accountancy firms, and discuss potential rewards for accountants working with a marketing agency. Job’s a good ‘un, right?
While inbound marketing does attract leads who are well-matched to the industry you’re focused on, there’s no hard and fast guarantee that these leads will hold the right job title, or that their business will be the right size.
For instance, if your company provides software designed for large accountancy companies on expensive multi-year contracts, there’s probably not much point in you speaking with an intern based at a small family-run accountancy firm. Wrong person, wrong company.
Welcome, ABM. What ABM does is concentrate on a clearly-defined set of target accounts within your specific market, and use personalised content to resonate with each as a ‘market of one’. By marketing to leads as individuals, rather than as a broad audience segment, you’re much more likely to strike a chord with the perfect person in the eyes of your sales team.
ABM works best for B2B products or services which have a long and complex sales process. In these sectors, multiple stakeholders are often involved in making the final purchase decision, due to high costs and long term commitment associated with the product or service.
For instance, some ERP, CRM and other software platforms with catchy abbreviations come with lengthy contracts, command high prices and involve lots of time and effort on the part of various teams. Only a few people in any company will have the authority to make a call on the purchase.
This complexity can often slow down sales and marketing processes. Everyone’s had that one nightmare when they can’t get past a particularly tetchy gatekeeper, or they put in hours of effort only to find their lead isn't senior enough to exert any influence in their company.
According to a recent report by ITSMA, 92% of marketing leaders think selling at the executive level is more important to their sales strategy than it was two years ago.
ABM, however, allows businesses to only engage with primary decision makers who can control the sales process. By focusing exclusively on prospects who are relevant to your needs, your business doesn’t waste time or money chasing the wrong people.
In a nutshell, ABM challenges you to develop on a more personalised approach to marketing and really get to know your ‘market of one’, rather than have a broad understanding of a market of many.
“ABM is a shiny, new name for an age-old practice: personalisation and nurturing of key customers and prospects,” Cathy Atkins of Metis Communications recently explained to Forbes.
When approaching a specific account, it's important to spend time and effort creating relevant content which provides value for your prospective customer. Picture one specific dream client - consider what makes them unique, and think about how this impacts on their buying process. By immersing yourself in the mind of a very specific audience, you can learn about their needs, ambitions, fears and other very valuable bits of knowledge.
What’s more, viewing each account as a market of one allows you to tailor your marketing for the individual and present your brand in a truly unique way. Done right, you can differentiate yourself from all the market competition.
Combine those first two points, and what do you get? Better ROI! For businesses that can precisely pinpoint their most attractive targets, ABM makes perfect business sense, and all your departments will thank you.
“Marketing traditionally plays a numbers game, while sales just want a handful of qualified leads they believe will close,” Jody Resnick of Trighton Interactive told Forbes.
A lack of sales and marketing alignment can often cause friction, frustration and an eventual lack of engagement. However, ABM can actually improve communication between these departments, as they are able to identify and agree upon primary decision makers as targets.
ABM is precise, personalised and profitable strategy for B2B companies with a very particular audience in mind. Get in touch with Six & Flow to ask us how ABM could work for your business.