Account based marketing took 2016 by storm. The resurgence shows no signs of stopping or slowing down in 2017, and many are racing to adopt the right account-based marketing tactics.
Knowing when and how to use account-based marketing effectively across the sales process means understanding why it works, and how it differs from other digital sales content strategies.
Today’s blog explores the five key reasons why account-based marketing is worth using across the sales process.
What is Account Based Marketing?
Account Based Marketing (ABM) is an approach to B2B sales and marketing communications that personalizes messaging to the needs of one particular account or prospect (TechTarget).
Why should I use Account Based Marketing?
There are five key reasons to adopt an ABM approach for your digital sales content.
One of the biggest challenges with digital content marketing is effectively delivering an integrated marketing communications (IMC) strategy across all client facing personnel.
ABM content has one focus – the account. It is focused on the mixed needs of one account, and integrates communications across all channels to meet those needs. There is zero-waste from the digital content being created, and everyone shares a common set of objectives.
Shared objectives are one-way to tightly align a sales and marketing team. Sales and marketing alignment has become the elusive buzzword, practiced by few but preached by many.
Misalignment between sales and marketing is one of the main reasons why sales professionals avoid the digital content created by marketing, instead choosing to create their own sales content.
ABM demands collaboration between sales, and marketing efforts that specifically address the communication needs of the account in question, removing the problems caused by lack of sales and marketing alignment.
Peter Isaacson, Chief Marketing Officer at DemandBase explains, "ABM is fast becoming the B2B strategy of choice because it truly aligns sales and marketing while focusing their teams on the highest value accounts” (PR Newswire, 2015).
Among companies practicing ABM, all indicated some degree of sales and marketing alignment, and 34% indicated strong alignment (PR Newswire, 2015).
While less than 14% of content marketing teams include sales in the creation of customer-facing content, 74% of ABM marketers worked with sales to define account goals and plans, and 67% received help from sales for account insights (PR Newswire, 2015).
Marketing teams are applying buyer personas and decision journeys to tailor digital content creation for unique value. The average B2B decision-making group consists of 5.4 buyers, and 2/3 of B2B marketers to state that ‘engaging the key decision maker’ is a top challenge (Integrate, 2015).
ABM ensures that communications are always relevant and never suffer from “random acts of content marketing”. B2B marketers are beginning to realize that they need to focus their efforts on targeting specific key accounts rather than large quantities of individuals.
Personalized account based marketing works.
75% of executives will read unsolicited marketing materials that contain ideas that might be relevant to their business (Oracle, 2016). 88% of prospects have stated that they value content targeted to their specific organization (MomentumABM, 2015). Lastly, 94% of senior executives believe that delivering personalization is critical or important to reaching customers (Forbes, 2016).
4) Full Funnel
Content marketers are often focused on lead generation (filling the funnel) meanwhile sales professionals assume the role of lead nurturing and closing, leading to silos and disjointed objectives.
ABM pushes marketing teams to instead, think about the entire sales funnel, and all of the different types of digital sales content needed to help nurture an account until close.
[For more information check out: How Sales and Marketing can Work Together to Drive Content Utilization]
ABM also acknowledges that the sale doesn’t signal the end of the relationship. ABM enables deeper levels of communication beyond the end of the traditional sales funnel.
Jon Miller, Founder of Marketo explains,
“At its core, account based marketing encompasses everything that B2B marketers do to support sales at target accounts. This includes selecting and prioritizing account lists, generating new contacts, gathering account intelligence, building account plans, running field-marketing events, prospecting into new relationships, and engaging accounts online” (Engagio, 2015).
Actionable data enables digital content sales to improve over time, but making these decisions requires analysis and planning for each buyer persona in question. Measuring content effective is one of the five biggest content challenges faced by modern marketers. ABM combats this challenge by channeling the focus to just one account, enabling faster decisions and more agile marketing.
A fully developed account-based marketing strategy enables marketers to engage and monitor key personas at their target companies, which is why more than 80% say that ABM outperforms other marketing initiatives (Forbes, 2016).
(5 reasons based upon: Engagio, 2015)
ABM is an outbound marketing strategy that focuses sales and marketing efforts without being intrusive. It works by leveraging sales engagement much earlier in the sales cycle with a consultative approach targeted to the account. Lead generation shifts away from being a marketing-focused responsibility and closing shifts away from being a sales-focused responsibility. Instead, ABM makes funnel success a shared responsibility between both teams.
How to use Account Based Marketing
Are you looking to enable an account based marketing approach? Sales content management is crucial for ensuring the right communications reach the right people at the right time. Book a demo and let our sales professionals show you how easy ABM can be.