Account-based marketing (ABM) has really picked up steam in the past few years. According to SiriusDecisions, over 90 percent of marketers believe it is a “must-have” for B2B organizations. Many high-growth marketing and sales teams have adopted ABM in a coordinated effort to move sales targets through the funnel faster and boost customer engagement in a more personalized way.
What is Account-Based Marketing?
Account-based marketing is a highly targeted, personalized outreach strategy that focuses on your group of top accounts, essentially flipping the traditional marketing funnel. With this concentrated effort across sales and marketing teams on “high-fit” accounts, or companies with a higher likelihood to close deals, ABM’s theory is that accounts will move through the funnel more quickly. Contrary to the batch-and-blast method, ABM has been a game changer for a lot of marketers, especially those in demand gen who are trying to nail down a solid go-to-market strategy.
ABM Starts with Account Selection
Successful ABM programs are rooted in up-to-date, actionable sales data for account selection. Leveraging advanced data to select strategic accounts in your funnel is a more focused approach, and it leads to less wasted time on the wrong accounts and more customer acquisition in the long run. To do this, you will need to fine-tune your ideal customer profile (ICP) and typically rely on predictive marketing software and automation platforms in order to lay the groundwork for ABM outreach.
- Defining your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP): An ICP is an account persona that can be best described as a representation of your ideal account. ICPs are usually configured by a combination of demographic, technographic and firmographic data from past sales wins as well as accounts that are not yet in your funnel, but should be.
- Being more targeted with accounts: In the past, many demand gen marketers would choose their accounts based on existing connections or data from their CRM or marketing automation platform. Today, many high-growth marketing teams are looking to SaaS solutions to do the legwork of account selection for them by building predictive audience models.
ABM Supports a Personalized Sales Approach
The end game of any ABM strategy is to have a more targeted, personalized game plan for sales. With a “quality over quantity” outlook on marketing, you can look deep into your sales data within your CRM to find the right list of accounts for your ABM strategy. And with deep sales insights, you can then use that advanced data to hyper-personalize outreach and meeting prep. Think of an B2B AI platform as the ultimate strategic sidekick to your ABM efforts. Here’s how it works:
- Get smarter with your database. Using data models, you can get up-to-date insights into which accounts you should target with your marketing and sales efforts.
- Stop wasting time on the wrong accounts. With ABM, you can identify what size or type of company you should be targeting, and you can actually ensure you are reaching out to them in relevant way. Not only does this personalize your approach, but it also helps you avoid wasting money and resources trying to reach out to companies who are unlikely to buy your product.
- Focus on accounts that matter most to your business. As marketing delivers the right accounts with a “high fit” for your company to the sales team, the entire business can rally together.
“ABM is a strategic approach that coordinates personalized marketing and sales efforts to open doors and deepen engagement at specific accounts.”
—Jon Miller, CEO of Engagio and Co-Founder of Marketo
ABM is Forward-Looking
ABM requires a new commitment to doing business, and for many high-growth companies, creating multi-channel, targeted marketing programs with predictive technology is part of it. ABM strategies implemented in an B2B platform like EverString will allow you to grow your business at a faster pace. Here’s how:
- Accelerated Revenue Growth: Personalizing your outreach with AI insights enables you to go after the right accounts. Using data models, a demand gen marketer can provide key insights about accounts and contacts so that the sales team can prospect closer to the finish line. This hyper-personalized approach will lead to more closed deals in less time.
- More Alignment and Visibility: Using ABM within an AI sales platform lets you identify exactly what type/size of company you should be targeting. And, with intent data signals showing when your customers are researching your product or a competitor’s product, ABM strategies are targeted even further because you know exactly when your accounts are in buying mode.
- Better Communication Across Teams: When the entire business is focused on the right accounts, your chances of sales-marketing gaps go down significantly. Sales and marketing need to be focused on these high-fit accounts, as it rallies the business under one banner and allows for better communication.
Monitoring and Measuring Success with Engagement Metrics
If you’re going to execute an ABM strategy, measuring the long-term success of your programs is a must. However, if you want to effectively track your engagement metrics with ABM, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind that are different from traditional demand gen tactics:
- You’re measuring accounts, not leads. Chasing down one lead with a target company isn’t cutting it these days in marketing. With ABM, salespeople and marketers are trying to reach out to several key decision makers within their accounts.
- It’s all about quality, not quantity. With ABM, you need to keep your MQL threshold in context. For instance, having a meaningful conversation with a contact in one of your key accounts is way more valuable that 20 leads from unqualified accounts who aren’t really interested in your product.
- You need to measure progress throughout the buyer journey. With ABM you are usually closing deals with larger companies, which means your sales cycles tend to be longer. If you set up multi-attribution tracking, you can clearly measure those early-stage wins every step along the way. In time, your ABM tracking will impact long-term business initiatives like win rates, deal velocity and average contract value.
Practical Benefits of ABM
- Higher returns: When your team is focused on the right accounts for your business, the average ABM sale is longer – meaning returns are higher.
- Faster deals: When you are targeting multiple key contacts within your accounts, you minimize the chances of a single contact slowing down the process, leading to faster deals.
- Sales-marketing alignment: When sales and marketing are focused on the best possible accounts for their business, it is much easier for both teams to get on the same page and understand where their responsibilities lie.
- Less waste: No longer do demand gen marketers have to waste time on the wrong accounts and unqualified leads. With ABM, you are only focused on the accounts that are most likely to drive revenue.
ABM strategies allow your business to break through bad leads and unqualified accounts so that you can focus your sales and marketing efforts on companies that are more likely to need your products or services, leading to more ROI, better cross-departmental communication and higher revenue.
To find out how your team can get started with ABM or boost your current ABM efforts with an AI-powered sales and marketing platform, try out EverString for free with a 7-day trial or request a custom demo.