ABM is an outbound marketing tactic that thrives on creating meaningful relationships and conversations. It is extremely targeted at accounts likely to close and tailored through loads of research. This is different from the mass mailing approach of traditional outbound marketing.
While ABM is not entirely new, it has gained renewed interest because of the following reasons:
Buyers demand relevance
A 2013 study by Janrain revealed that 74% of online consumers get frustrated when they are served irrelevant content, ads, promotions, offers, etc. They crave relevance, and brands are listening to them.
A report from Accenture recognizes this crave for relevance. It says 75 percent of consumers are more likely to buy from retailers that recognize them by name, recommends options based on past purchases or preferences, or knows their purchase history.
An ITSMA survey also revealed that 50 percent of customers are more likely to buy from a retailer when they personalize their sales and marketing materials to a customer’s specific business issues.
ABM empowers marketers to engage customers and prospects in a way that’s truly relevant to them, their business challenges and their organization. It’s all about being customer-centric.
In this post, Funnelholic author, Craig Rosenberg discusses how a social analytics company can drive its ABM program through personalization.
There, Craig used their analytics to create short, personalized social reports for their potential customers. For instance, the report to IKEA would be called the “IKEA Social Media Power Report” or something along those lines. Most potential buyers would want to open that report because it’s extremely targeted, relevant, and valuable.
Competitive pressure is pushing for ABM
There is a serious “battle for the buyer’s mind” as noted in Al Reis’ seminal book, Positioning. Winning buyer attention has produced a crisis of attention, to the extent that “buyers are inundated with thousands of messages.”
Consider the brand wars meant to retain market share. Enter Marketo, HubSpot, Pardot, Eloqua, and Act-On, just to name a few.
Sangram Vajre, the co-founder and CMO at Terminus, discusses this more in his book, “Account-Based Marketing for Dummies.”
There, Sangram comments on the enhanced connectivity in today’s world, leading us to wonder: how will the modern marketer out-compete their colleagues?
The reality is that your competitors are employing account-based marketing techniques that are delivering better, focused messaging – allowing them to win the war for attention. So you may stand aside, for now, wondering about the ROI of ABM, while your competitors implement and hone their customer-winning programs.
Indeed, marketers who use ABM technology can break through the noise, overcoming “thousands of messages” that buyers receive “every day. This is why it’s essential for marketers to identify their best-fit customers before ever creating that first message.” Terminus’ Sangram continues:
“By targeting your ideal customers and determining how to engage them on digital channels such as mobile, social media, display advertising, and video, you can connect with your buyers on their own terms.”
Sales Alignment is a Top Priority
ABM enables sales and marketing teams to work in alignment. They analyze data to identify key accounts and target messages for higher engagement.
Megan Heuer, Vice President, Research, SiriusDecisions, explains:
“Marketing and sales finally agree it’s no longer a battle for who plays the most critical role in the buying cycle. Instead, common sense and ample research evidence show that marketing and sales together are needed to support buyers on their journey. This requires a balanced strategy, where sales and marketing understand their respective roles and how those need to be coordinated in every stage of buying. ABM is the way to operationalize that strategy as a partnership that’s focused on delivering growth.”
ABM Delivers Marketing Credibility
Consumers trust businesses that run ABM programs. This is due to the personalized attention they get.
In his book, “Users Not Customers”, Aaron Shapiro, CEO of Huge, a digital design agency, says consumers “decide when and where to buy by evaluating four factors: trust, convenience, price, and fun (TCPF).”
ABM engenders trust as it enables businesses to position themselves as caring and genuinely interested in helping the buyer with his needs.
Corporate Initiatives Call for ABM
In recent years, boards have called upon the C-level suite to become “marketing efficient.” This pressure from the top has spurred management to investigate how ABM can deliver more sales with less waste.
“By integrating your sales and marketing efforts, you can focus your marketing team to work directly with sales to target and develop content for these key accounts. That will . . . maximize the efficiency of your B2B marketing resources” Link
John Hall, Co-Founder, Influence & Co., and author of Top of Mind believes organizations cannot do without ABM.
He says: “the competitive landscape for business marketers has become so crowded that account-based marketing is now a must for companies seeking to truly differentiate themselves with their most important customers and prospects.”
According to Megan Heuer at SiriusDecisions, ABM truly represents what the future of B2B marketing can be: insight-led, technology-enabled, and customer-focused. And your business stands to gain immensely from it. Want proof?
“Over 80% of marketers that measure ROI say that ABM initiatives outperform other marketing investments” (Source).