Leads. New customers. Revenue growth. These are music to any B2B marketer’s ears.
So how do business to business (B2B) companies generate leads, customers and revenue growth? Well, there’s everything from SEO to advertising to strategic partnerships, as well as marketing automation, content marketing and event marketing. What do many marketers find delivers leads, customers and growth more reliably, though, than any of these methods?
Account-based marketing — commonly called ABM. As a branding and marketing agency that has distributed thousands of ABM-based outreach messages, we can say from experience that ABM is marketing gold and can deliver results.
What Is ABM?
ABM flips the marketing funnel on its head. Instead of trying to fill the top of your funnel with the maximum amount of prospects and hoping that some of them convert as they move through it, ABM is all about targeting the best prospects and doing everything you possibly can to convert them. Basically, it’s quality over quantity.
Inbound marketing, in contrast, is all about quantity. Typically, with inbound, you create a value-added content piece, like a white paper, with the hope that you find some real prospects among all the people who download it.
With ABM, you decide exactly who will see your marketing content, allowing you to create more targeted material that resonates directly with each of your prospects. ABM targets people with specific titles at specific companies who you believe will be the best fit, and from there you proactively run campaigns directed at these VIP prospects.
ABM is all about customization to deliver better results. As prospects become smarter and better able to navigate the digital landscape, they want products and services that speak to the challenges they’re striving to overcome. ABM campaigns are customized for the industry, account or individual, so they deliver more relevant information to their audiences.
ABM also helps you to differentiate your brand from your competitors. When compared with competitors who employ more generic forms of messaging, your marketing is able to cut through the noise and stand out.
As we’ve found, if you’re directing highly customized marketing to your ideal prospects consistently, you’re likely to close more of them and achieve a higher average order value. Furthermore, research indicates that ABM is currently one of the strongest ways for a B2B company to increase marketing performance. One small survey of marketers found that 77% of respondents were achieving a 10% or greater return on investment from ABM compared to other forms of marketing. Amazingly, close to half (45%) of respondents were “achieving more than double the ROI from ABM.” On top of this, 67% of respondents agreed that their ABM accounts “have achieved greater customer success” than other accounts.
Make ABM A Corporate Way Of Life
ABM is typically viewed as being within the purview of sales and marketing. A partnership between these two departments is critical for seeing success with ABM. Without such alignment between sales and marketing, it would be difficult to achieve a high return on investment (ROI) through ABM.
However, not involving other people and departments can mean missing out on many other opportunities for your business to realize outsized returns from your ABM efforts. Instead of viewing ABM as a sales and marketing tactic, view it as a way of life for your business.
Tap your CEO and other leaders to join your efforts in contacting your target companies. Perhaps they already have relationships with some people there. Or maybe they will be speaking at a conference where an executive at one of your target companies will also be speaking. Or you could have them make an initial call to someone in a similar role at your target companies.
Similarly, lean on your customer support team to provide you with insights on the typical problems and challenges that companies similar to your target companies are experiencing. What messaging resonated with these folks? What were the final solutions?
How Do You Do ABM Effectively?
Ready to get started with ABM at your company? Here’s how:
• First, figure out who you’re targeting. Who is your ideal client?
• What industry are they in?
• What audience segments are they targeting?
• What problem are they grappling with that you can solve for them?
• What’s the ideal company size?
• What are the titles of the people you’ll target?
• Which clients do your employees love to work with?
• Which companies can you help the most?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you can create an ABM plan and calendar to target them effectively:
• Determine whether you’ll have one single ABM campaign in action or whether you’ll diversify and run multiple campaigns concurrently.
• Calculate the maximum number of contacts your team can realistically support.
• Build a messaging platform.
• Determine your outreach cadence.
• Develop a quarterly, six-month or annual ABM plan and map the initiatives month to month.
• Build templates that you’ll customize for each account.
• Use tools like IP detection and behavioral analytics to help track all activity, whether your prospects click through your links or not.
• Measure and optimize.
Each of your offers or pieces of content ideally should build upon the last, providing increased value at each stage. Remember: It’s not about you — everything in your campaigns, from blog posts to sales pitches, should be about the customer and providing them with real value.
When you create the campaign, think outside the box. ABM isn’t just about custom emails. Incorporate anything that you think might work, from unique direct mail ideas to personalized video to LinkedIn InMail campaigns and more.
If you haven’t tried ABM yet, consider making it a priority moving ahead.