Narrowly Targeted Marketing Campaigns
Rather than casting a wide net with marketing campaigns, ABM seeks to identify the best customers and prospects and then tailor campaigns specifically to them. With ABM, marketing content and campaigns can be narrowly targeted to individual customers and prospects, instead of to a mass audience. This can not only boost response rates, but also result in more highly qualified leads that eventually turn into sales.
According to SiriusDecisions, more than 90 percent of marketers believe that ABM is essential to B2B marketing. Meanwhile, more than 60 percent of businesses plan to implement an ABM program over the next year, according to Terminus.
In most instances, ABM shouldn’t replace mass marketing efforts — instead, it should supplement them. ABM can be especially beneficial when it comes to reaching the decision makers at businesses with multiple buyers and stakeholders, such as most B2B businesses. It helps you stay focused on new business opportunities and relationships that exist with your most promising customers and prospects.
Benefits of Account-Based Marketing
Account-based marketing can offer a number of benefits to your business, including the following:
• It allows a more personalized marketing approach. Many B2B buyers today expect vendors to tailor their sales and marketing efforts to them personally. The more personalized and targeted marketing content and campaigns are, the more likely these buyers are to respond positively to the marketing messages.
• It improves measurement of ROI. Gauging the return on investment on marketing efforts can sometimes be challenging. ABM improves this process by making it easy to track the results that are generated by specific campaigns and content initiatives.
• The sales cycle is shortened. Because ABM generates more qualified sales leads, it generally takes less time for these leads to flow through the pipeline and become customers. ABM also results in fewer poor leads so salespeople spend less time focusing on prospects that aren’t likely to ever become customers.
• Relationships with existing customers are strengthened. Customer retention is just as vital as gaining new customers for most businesses, so the importance of strengthening existing customer relationships can’t be overemphasized. By targeting your campaigns and content to the specific needs and concerns of your customers, you can demonstrate that your company knows them well and is concerned about helping them solve their unique problems.
• The sales and marketing teams are more closely aligned. Friction between sales and marketing isn’t uncommon at many companies. ABM helps reduce this friction and get sales and marketing more aligned with each other by providing the sales team with more high-quality leads and the marketing team with better visibility of customers and prospects.
More than 90 percent of marketers believe that ABM is essential to B2B marketing
How to Implement ABM
Here is a five-step process for implementing an effective account-based marketing program:
1. Identify and research your target market/audience. The first step is determining to which high-value customers and prospects you will target your ABM campaign. This determination should be a collaborative effort between the sales and marketing teams because information will be required from both areas to choose the right target audience.
This information includes the appropriate industry; business size, location and annual revenue; anticipated profitability; and the likelihood that the business will become a repeat customer. Such data can be found in government and industry publications as well as resources like LinkedIn and Dun & Bradstreet reports. Also identify the specific decision makers within companies that your campaign will be direct toward.
2. Create your campaign. With your target market identified, you can now get started on your marketing campaign. This includes the specific content you’ll use to make prospects aware of your products and services and the benefits of working with your company.
The most successful campaigns provide value-added consultation and education instead of a hard-sales message. Your content should line up with the target market’s buying cycle and be aligned with their unique needs, interest and challenges. Make sure the content clearly communicates your company’s unique selling proposition (or USP) to the target audience.
3. Determine which marketing channels to use. Perform research to determine which communication channels individuals within your target market use most frequently. These might include digital channels like the Internet and email as well as offline channels like traditional snail mail and broadcast media.
One good source of data for gauging social media usage by target audiences is the Pew Research Center’s Demographics of Social Media Users. This data profiles the demographic characteristics of typical users of some of the most popular social media platforms, including LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.
4. Execute the campaign. Unfortunately, this is the step where account-based marketing programs often come up short. After putting so much time and effort into identifying the right target market, creating a great campaign and choosing the best channels, some companies drop the ball in the actual implementation of the campaign itself.
Therefore, you should put as much planning and manpower into ABM campaign execution as you do all the elements involved in campaign planning and preparation. Assign specific execution tasks to marketing employees and hold them accountable for making sure the tasks are completed on time.
5. Monitor and measure the results. Mechanisms should be put in place to measure the results and ROI of your ABM efforts long before the campaign is launched. This includes tracking leads that can be attributed specifically to the campaign and following these all the way through the sales funnel to customer acquisition.
Investigate ABM Further
If you’re not familiar with account-based marketing, now would be a good time to learn more about ABM and how it could impact your business. Talk to the leaders of your sales and marketing departments about whether account-based marketing could benefit your company.
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