“These days, customers really don't enjoy feeling like they're being sold to.
That’s why it’s crucial that your marketing—even when account-based—provides value,
and doesn’t push products.”
- Amanda Zantal-Wiener, Hubspot
As long as you’re living above rock-level, you’re probably beginning to see the myriad ways in which millenials are exploding the market, bringing new ideas, new needs, and new perspectives to the table. Across every industry, we’re finally seeing the fruit of a long-anticipated shift from traditional marketing and sales to completely new modes of communication and purchasing.
While there are a number of effective ways to reinvent your sales and/or marketing efforts, there’s one sure-fire way that covers all of your bases: account-based marketing, or ABM.
What is ABM?
If you haven’t been properly introduced yet, ABM in a nutshell is a strategic marketing method that uses inbound marketing to target specific organizations. Instead of buyer personas, ABM focuses on using firmographic data to identify ideal target companies to reach using the ideal content, and then creating a game plan that presents this content to these companies at the ideal time and in the ideal place.
How does ABM work?
ABM is the first real method to come along in the modern digital marketing age that requires the marriage of marketing and sales - a traditionally rocky relationship. Successful ABM requires both the marketers and the sales reps to take responsibility for lead nurturing along the marketing/sales funnels, making everyone accountable. Sound a little scary? There’s good news: according to Marketo, aligning sales and marketing makes your company up to 67% better at closing deals, generating an average of 209% more revenue.
Instead of focusing on the weight of lead-heavy CPL programs, ABM focuses on the quality of those leads by super-targeting the exact organizations expected to respond best to a product or service. It’s more about building lines of communication and deeper relationships with clients and prospects than just driving endless possibilities for new business. As a result, a good ABM campaign will likely not provide immediate revenue boosts, but is absolutely priceless in the long-term for any business looking to hang around for decades to come.
How to Find Success with ABM in 2018
Invest, invest, invest. “Eighty-seven percent of marketers measuring ROI say that ABM outperforms other marketing investments.” (ITSMA)
Give marketing the strategy reigns. ABM is a different breed of marketing, and you will need a team that can strategize and see things from all perspectives. According to Alterra Group, “Ninety percent of leaders described the role of marketers in ABM as either providing strategic direction or as driving the execution of specific elements of ABM programs.”
Ask sales for their experience. Picking the ideal active accounts and getting full data sets on each of them is half of the ABM battle. Your sales team is your most valuable resource, as they know your clients and prospects inside and out.
Balance programmatic and traditional inbound. Keep your content marketing up, and you’ll find it melds perfectly with ABM efforts. Don’t dive fully into programmatic ABM, as the leading marketing outlets foresee the same market saturation that affected CPM, CPL, CPC, and every other marketing method before.
Don’t Sit on Data. Update, revolve, recycle, revisit. Make sure you’re still targeting the right organizations a few weeks, months, and years into your ABM process.
- Lindsay Jawor