A growing number of B2B companies have turned to account-based marketing (ABM) in order to focus their efforts and resources.ABM requires B2B companies to draw the interest of specific target accounts and nurture them with personalized messaging towards the goal of making a deal. This is different from traditional inbound marketing methods many B2B companies swear by because it doesn’t involve casting a wide net to draw in as many top of funnel leads as you can, and that’s exactly the point. With ABM, you identify target accounts and focus your time, effort and money on attracting those companies, rather than spending resources towards filtering bad leads out of your marketing funnel.
Any ABM strategy involves your marketing and sales teams working together to identify companies that have the best business opportunity, best chance for conversion, and best match with your buyer persona. From there, your marketing team uses personalized messaging towards decision makers of your target accounts.
Let’s Get Personal
Personalization doesn’t just involve what you write in an email to a decision maker. It requires the content you promote to them be specific to their needs as well.
Your content needs to educate your target account on who you are, what you do and what you can offer this company. Be clear and detailed on how you can help each specific company, and make sure your content is personalized for them. For example, if the decision makers at a company already know of your brand, you can eliminate any type of introductory content.
When nurturing these accounts, be sure to keep in mind the size of the company you’re targeting, the industry it’s in, the regulations it deals with and the specific problems it’s facing that you can solve. Typical top of the funnel content is unusable under ABM.
Boost Your ABM Strategy
To get personalized content in front of these decision makers, you can use multiple different methods including email, direct messaging, social media and others, but an effective and discrete method is employee advocacy. When employees speak for your company, it allows you to leverage their insights, networks and be more personable.
By getting employees from sales, marketing and all other departments involved in your ABM strategy, it allows your company to reach its full marketing potential. It’s also proven to result in higher rates of engagement with targeted audiences.
People trust messaging that comes from a personal account more than when it comes from a brand’s account. Your marketing team can steer employees who volunteer to be a part of this initiative towards engaging with the right people at target accounts and promoting the right personalized content.
Employee advocacy is a tool that sharpens any ABM strategy through higher engagement rates, conversion rates and reach. It allows companies to be more strategic in personalization. For example, if one of your target accounts is a software development firm, your developers on staff can engage with them, message them about similar trends and challenges they’re seeing and promote relevant content towards them.
Similarly, if your company sells accounting software, your company’s accountants can engage with appropriate decision makers and accountants at your target company on Twitter.
The idea is to guide your employees towards being promoters of your brand by leveraging their insights to connect with others.
ABM Benefits And Results
There are many benefits to ABM for those who execute it correctly.
It focuses your company’s resources on nurturing strong leads rather than spending them on phasing out weak ones. You’re also shortening the sales process by cutting out the top half of the funnel, and you’re getting your sales and marketing teams aligned because they’ll be working together directly.
Lastly, personalization through ABM allows accounts to be more familiar with your company prior to even talking with a sales rep. This leads to decision makers at target accounts being more informed and interested in what you have to offer before even getting on the phone with you. The final result is higher conversion rates, and sales spending less time on the phone with customers who aren’t going to convert.
The proof is in the numbers. According to Altera Group, 97% of marketers that practice ABM found that it leads to higher ROI than other marketing initiatives. Additionally, 91% of marketers practicing ABM see larger deals, according to Sirius Decisions. Lastly, 84% believe ABM leads to better retention of existing customers and expansion of current deals, according to the same report.
Not One Size Fits All
Again, the difference between ABM and traditional B2B marketing or inbound marketing is that you’re starting your marketing strategy from halfway down the funnel. Of course, this doesn’t work for all companies.
If your organization services businesses of all sizes in any industry, you want to cast a wide net to draw in more leads. If your company doesn’t have a clearly defined buyer persona or have a firm grasp on who your best target accounts could be, then ABM might not be your best strategy at this point.
Again, ABM is a very different strategy than your more traditional inbound marketing methods, but it can work well if executed correctly. By focusing on target accounts, you can actually save time and resources spent on bad leads. There are many ways to nurture prospect accounts down your ABM funnel, but personalization is key to your success.