An account-based marketing (ABM) approach requires a different way of doing things for most organizations. But it’s happening, because according to statistics, 60% of organizations plan to run an ABM campaign in the next year. That’s a seismic shift in marketing circles, and represents the latest revolution in the way marketing programs are planned, rolled out, and ultimately measured.
You may want to launch an ABM approach yourself, but you need to sell it to your board first. Here’s how you can sell ABM effectiveness internally within your organization.
What is Account-Based Marketing?
As strange as it may sound, the majority of organizations still have no alignment between their sales and marketing channels. Those that do stand at just 22%. But this, at heart, is what ABM is all about: aligning these two vital components of the business.
ABM is a business strategy and a highly focused one at that. The idea is based around the principle that just one account or prospective account can be treated as its own, unique, individual market. And that means that everyone associated with the organization’s marketing team can strategize, create content and track based entirely on that one account, as opposed to having a general strategy, which is still the most common way of doing things.
“It’s not surprising that ABM is great in terms of B2B marketing. Targeting that one, key business account deserves the time and commitment that ABM involves, and the rewards are not only highly prized, but eminently trackable and tangible,” enthuses Craig White, a marketer at Writinity and LastMinuteWriting.
What are the benefits of Account-Based Marketing?
So, how do you sell this approach to your board and C-suite? What are the inherent benefits of ABM, and how do you report them to show that value?
First off the bat it is vital to acknowledge that ABM shouldn’t be an alternative to your regular marketing approach – your global approach. This is a supplementary strategy in order to target key accounts. By no means, sell this as a replacement approach to anything. This will be on top of what you do. So here’s is how you pitch it:
ABM is personalized
This one is obvious, but if those individual accounts are that valuable, then personalizing a marketing approach aimed at them makes perfect sense. And if you are targeting a group of decision-makers within an organization, then it also becomes, in essence, a little easier to take aim.
ABM is easier to measure
This point is absolutely critical, and will take center stage in any presentations to the board to sell this approach. Quite simply, the ROI on ABM is much more tangible than with regular industry-wide marketing approaches. Attribution is always an issue within organizations – what new revenue can be attributed to a specific activity. And if this is difficult to do, then it’s difficult to scale up and repeat to see more success. Not so with ABM.
“If you are targeting one specific account, and of course you keep track of spend on that particular account in terms of marketing, then anything you get out of that organization can be immediately attributed, and measured. This lets you know if you are getting bang for your buck, and should be why it’s favored at boardroom level,” says Maisie Wright, a business writer at DraftBeyond and ResearchPapersUK.
ABM is a more efficient use of time and resources
And the problem is, when gains are difficult to attribute, there are inevitably large aspects of your marketing approach that are not yielding the desired returns. That is wastage in terms of money, and wastage in terms of effort and resources. In an ABM approach, everything is once again attributable, and if something is not working, it can be tweaked, or the plug can be pulled before good money is thrown after bad.
With ABM, the sales cycle becomes shorter
In more traditional marketing approaches, it’s all about generating leads. Once those leads are generated, they are pursued, with the inevitable high drop-off occurs. Once prospects have been ascertained, marketers must pursue then with a strategized approach, and then you will eventually see your conversion, somewhere down the line. Once again that’s a lot of time and effort, and the cycle can be lengthy. Not so with ABM, which is directed at those key decision-makers within an organization, and inevitably leads to quicker, and more efficient conversions.
ABM aligns your sales and marketing strategies
And almost by accident (but of course it was anything but) the two departments of marketing and sales are working hand in hand. Sales are getting those bona fide leads, and marketing is getting a target audience to aim at. Everyone’s job is made easier, and more fruitful. Now that is easy to sell at boardroom level.
Have you read the ABM Playbook? Download and read the definitive guide to nailing your account-based marketing strategy. No fluff, just good stuff.