Account-Based Marketing is an approach wherein the B2B companies, particularly those seeking to reach the key decision-makers of specific accounts, prioritize and customize their marketing approaches for converting the most promising potential customers.
Account-based marketing (ABM), also known as key account marketing, is a highly orchestrated approach to business marketing. This approach is often based on account awareness. The ABM strategy is popular among enterprise-level sales organizations.
The ABM funnel, when compared to the traditional marketing funnel, is flipped on its head. The ABM universe functions on the ideology of targeting the best prospects & doing everything one can do to convert them. Prioritizing quality over quantity ensures that an ABM strategy helps optimize the sales revenue and can deliver actual results instead of trying to fill the top of the funnel with the maximum amount of prospects & hoping that some of them will eventually convert, as they move through it.
The businesses often don’t have the lists of gigantic accounts that they wish to target. The real test is making the decision-makers answer the phone calls.
With ABM, marketers can manage who will see their marketing content. They create targeted material which in conjunction with the areas of interest the prospects. ABM targets people holding specific job designations at specific companies, who they believe will be the best to reach out for a particular product or service. Targeted campaigns are run to convert VIP prospects. Running highly customized marketing to the ideal prospects consistently ensures that the marketers are likely to close more of the leads & achieve a higher proportion of sales closure.
Several insights from the industry indicate that ABM allows marketers to increase their marketing performances.
A research conducted by ITSMA & the ABM Leadership Alliance inferred that 77% of the respondents were achieving a 10% or higher return on investment from ABM compared to several other forms of marketing. Interestingly, close to half (45%) of respondents were “achieving more than double the ROI from ABM”. In the same report approximately, 67% of the respondents acceded that their ABM accounts have helped them achieve greater success than other accounts.
Since ABM requires more account-level personalization than traditional methods, it has historically been a dearer practice for the marketers more to implement an ABM program. Advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) & machine learning (ML) have revolutionized the field of Account-Based marketing like never before.
Ways to Set out Account-Based marketing to optimize Sales Conversions:
ABM has always been beheld under the purview of sales & marketing. Integration between sales & marketing departments is required to execute a successful ABM program. Moreover, the converse is also true that executing a successful ABM program unifies the efforts of sales & marketing teams. For the companies that have an ABM framework, the program is taking a substantial share of the total marketing budgets & impacts the way the B2B firms deal with the market at large.
ABM is a mainstream strategy that companies use to win new customers & to grow existing clients of all sizes & diverse types. Marketers use blended ABM strategies to scale up their sales.
These include One-to-One, One-to-Few & One-to-Many strategies. ABM-ers put special focus on improving business reputation, relationships & revenue. A successful ABM strategy, at the end of the day, has to be focused on generating more leads. ABM programs have to be executed in tight partnership & integration with sales. A successful ABM program has to be closely integrated with the sales endeavors; this means active ongoing collaboration throughout the lifecycle of the customers.
ABM is used to execute tailored & personalized programs & campaigns based on deep customer insights. With the evolution of the digitized landscape of B2B marketing & the evolution of the Account-Based Marketing (ABM) & the research methodologies of the prospects, the following methods can be used to optimize Account-Based Marketing (ABM):
1. ABM is not just a marketing technology but a corporate Etiquette:
ABM should be a way of life for corporate houses. While the success of ABM relies on the criticality of the sales & marketing departments working together, other departments also need to participate so that no opportunity to multiply the anticipated ROI is missed.
The ABM-ers should appeal to their Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) & other leaders to join their efforts to contact the target companies so that the sales conversions can be multiplied. The people at the higher levels of hierarchy often have profoundly sincerer relationships with the high-level decision-makers in the target companies which can prove to be beneficial in optimizing the sales efforts.
2. Having a High-Quality Customer Support Team in Place:
The ABM-ers should gather insights from the customer support team about what are the challenges being faced by their target accounts. Gathering insights about the challenges being faced by the target accounts helps the ABM-ers to architect their content strategy towards optimal conversions. Furthermore, it also helps them analyze how particular products or services fit into the needs of their target accounts.
3. Figuring Out the Target Audience:
Market segmentation & targeting is one of the most important aspects of an Account-Based marketing plan. The marketers need to figure out who they’re targeting & whether the people being targeted fall within the purview of their ideal persona. The targeting is often done based on diverse audience-segments being generated by using the demographic, firmographic, technographic, psychographic & the “fit-data” of the prospects. With the consideration of the specific industries being targeted, the marketers also need to keep in mind the industries to which their prospects resonate with, the problems that they are facing in their respective industries & what can be done to solve their problems.
Marketers also need to decide the specific niches they want to target.
Oftentimes, the ideal company size to be targeted, titles of people one wishes to target & the specific employees that the clients love to work with; all the aspects need to be examined.
4. Diversifying the ABM programs:
ABM-ers need to diversify their marketing strategies to align directly with the pathway of sales conversion. Ideally, different types & tiers of existing customers & prospects are required to develop programs & competencies in all the three types of marketing strategies mentioned below:
1. One-to-One ABM:
In this methodology, marketers work with individual account teams to architect & execute highly-targeted programs for individual accounts.
2. One-to-Few ABM:
In this strategy, marketers work with specific sales teams to focus on cluster-specific targeting of prospects having similar business necessities.
3. One-to-Many ABM:
In this strategy, marketers work with sales to define their priority list for targeting. Then they use diverse technics to personalize marketing to individuals with those accounts. The results for the individual accounts can be tracked.
Most ABM-ers are still working on strategies to optimize their account-based approaches. Some are taking the help of website personalization, others are using lead account matching or predictive analytics. Marketers need to see which strategies fit best to their budget & accordingly can blend a few or all of the strategies, as per their requirements to get the maximum out of their Account-Based marketing endeavors. The marketers need to scrutinize whether they can realistically support the convergence of multiple campaigns. They need to build a messaging platform & determine the pace of their outreach.
After defining their ABM strategies & executing them for a while, marketers should develop a quarterly, six-monthly or annual ABM plan & map the initiatives on a month over month as well as on the year over year scale. Analyzing the data over a while, allows the marketers to deduce which pieces of content they need to adhere to & how the ABM campaigns must be manipulated & split-tested time & again to optimize the sales conversions. Measuring & test-running the ABM-campaigns are the essential pre-requisites to optimize them.
With the progression of Artificial intelligence (AI) & Machine Learning (ML), the methodologies for intent-based targeting of prospects have evolved. The ABM-ers can analyze minute details such as whether their prospects click through their links or not & can build customized templates for each account. When creating campaigns, marketers should implement technics that might work. This can include an array of out-of-box ideas such as direct mail ideas, personalized videos to LinkedIn InMail campaigns & much more.
According to a report published by bombora.com, using a blend of intent & personal targeting can help the ABM-ers reduce the cost-per-registration by 41% while driving high-quality leads at the same time.
Through the evolution of machine-learning-based algorithms, the use of intent-data in account-based marketing campaigns has improved, its complete potential is still to be unlocked.
Following are some of the ways to merge first & third party intent –data to help the marketers optimize their ABM campaigns:
a. Using Intent-Data to guide demand generation & marketing teams:
Intent data can be used to plan events resonating with the interests of the target prospects in specific geographical areas. Intent data possesses the capability to optimize nearly all the ABM efforts, ranging from the branding endeavors at the top of the funnel to the after-sales initiatives for customer success and additional revenue generation by cross-selling.
According to a report by Forrester, B2B marketing teams allocate more budgets to in-person events than any other form of investment.
As such, using intent-data to create the interest-specific campaigns for the targeted accounts can significantly elevate the Return on Investment (ROI) from the ABM programs.
Intent data can be used to prepare highly targeted pieces of content to talk-to the pain-points of the key account holders & convert them. Be it the content syndication asset development for the top of the funnel to the pieces of content meant for the mid-funnel nurturing emails or the sales enablement material for the mid-funnel; intent-data can shape content strategies for driving higher conversions.
Furthermore, deploying precognitive marketing & content intelligence strategies helps in creating highly-targeted pieces of content, which can further optimize sales conversions.
c. Intent-data facilitates the generation of maximum number leads from the Target Accounts:
Showing the value proposition of the products or services at disposal, serving targeted ads to key accounts & strengthening the branding perspective, intent data helps the ABM-ers in all these aspects. Moreover, intent-data can also be used to execute highly targeted lead generation campaigns.
Intent data allows ABM-ers to prioritize the account-based leads. It can be used across a consolidated multi-channel marketing strategy to gain the maximum return on the marketing investment (ROMI). Intent data increases conversion rates, pipeline value & ultimately leads to the optimization of channel-generated revenue. Also, the ABM partners will benefit from the greater ROMI which will encourage them to focus on the marketing of brands who believe in intent-based targeting. Thus, account-based marketing (ABM) strategy can be increasingly successful across multichannel.
e. Intent data helps in Competitively Benchmarking ABM strategy, preventing the Account Churning & Aids Account Expansion:
Intent data can be used to monitor which of the ABM campaign strategies of the competitors are paying off the best results. Accordingly, the marketers can review & optimize their marketing strategies, time & again. Furthermore, intent data helps in the identification of customers who are most likely to churn as well as in the identification of well-engaged prospects & even the prospective accounts ready for cross-selling.
7. Firmographic data to optimize ABM endeavors:
Using firmographic data for ABM efforts enhances the marketing segmentation for the ABM-ers to bank upon. Not only the core segmentation criteria but the targeting, reporting & analytical capabilities for pre-cognitive marketing can all be redefined in the light of firmographic data. Examples of tools that allow integration of firmographic data with ABM strategy include the B2B Detect system by Evergage & Kickfire’s latest release – “IP address-to-company Application Program Interface (API)”.
Bringing It All Together:
ABM is not just about custom emails anymore. Marketers need to experiment with new strategies such as direct mail ideas, sending personalized videos to LinkedIn InMail campaigns and much more. To reach the key decision-makers effectively, the marketers need to create an in-depth analysis for personalized outreach of the prospects & align their efforts with sales teams. A successful ABM strategy multiplies revue like compound interest. Optimizing the return on marketing investments made at each level of ABM execution, from the bottom of the funnel to right at the top, translates into an exponential increase in the Return on Investment (ROI) for the organization from the closed sales deals.
Genevieve Erb, marketing Director at Capgemini, quoted the importance of ABM as follows:
“By aligning our sector and account marketers, the ABM leads bring better sector-specific insights to their programs, while the sector marketing leads gain deeper insights on the accounts’ needs as input to their segment marketing programs.”
Data has evolved as a central theme in shaping the morphology of modern ABM programs which needs to analyzed & implemented to optimize the revenue generated from ABM endeavors.
We, at Valasys Media, utilize our wealth of experience in helping our clients optimize their ABM endeavors. We also have an array of other B2B services, which have been tailor-made to help our clients accomplish their bottom-line goals such as optimized sales revenue, improved users’ experiences & bolstering their Return on Investment (ROI). These include lead generation, lead nurturing, contact discovery, event promotion, content syndication & list building services.
For the furtherance of high-quality sales pipelines and for optimizing your B2B endeavors, feel free to get in touch with us.