ABM and How It Can Optimize Product Marketing
How is ABM Different?
Product marketers driving account-based marketing (ABM) programs operate with a different thought process when it comes to marketing to individual accounts because they think more like sales people.
The ABM marketer plays a role supporting sales proposals, and using ABM technology, has the potential to improve conversion rates and shorten sales cycles. ABM vendors claim that ABM delivers the highest ROI of any B2B marketing strategy or tactic.
While B2B marketing is typically organized by industry, product/solution or channel (direct/social/PR), ABM brings all of these together to focus on individual accounts.
ABM is a strategic methodology that combines targeted, insight-led marketing with sales to increase mindshare, strengthen relationships, and drive sales growth.
That alignment of marketing and sales in close collaboration is one of the defining traits that makes ABM valued as an effective way to address individual account needs and develop personalized offers.
The concept of ABM has been long been applied by large enterprise B2B companies as “major account” or “key account” marketing.
It’s only because of recent technological changes that what we now call ABM has become viable for mid-market vendors as well. Thanks to sophisticated marketing automation platforms, business intelligence technology, and advanced targeting features, it’s easier than ever for B2B vendors to identify their ideal target clients, apply those findings to the sales process, and customize their approach to specific accounts.
An August 2016 research report released by EverString and Domo revealed that 59 percent of B2B marketers surveyed had implemented account-based marketing within the previous 12 months. That’s a dramatic shift that demonstrates just how quickly the practice has taken over the B2B space.
So why is ABM emerging as a successful approach and what can your sales and marketing teams expect to achieve?
Account-based marketing can help you:
- Increase your relevance, credibility, and value to the account
- Engage earlier and higher in the decision-making hierarchy
- Enhance customer loyalty with customized, highly compelling content
- More closely align marketing activity with account sales strategies
- Optimize the value that marketing can deliver to your organization
Sophisticated B2B buyers tune out all but the most relevant, helpful messages.
Generic sales pitches don’t cut it for this buyer profile. You need to position yourself away from the average vendor. As markets become more commoditized, customers see little or no difference between suppliers and their competitors, with price as the only obvious differentiator.
ABM is increasingly adopted by companies in markets under pressure from commoditization.
ABM can help you and your company sell higher in the organization by helping you more quickly establish a level of trust.
Senior decision-makers value credibility. If your message isn’t relevant or credible, it will be ignored. Credibility can come in the form of third party endorsements, statistics and success stories from similar clients you work with.
When you provide a prospect or customer with value in the form of insightful information tailored to their interests and needs (not just a generic sales pitch), you are on the path to gaining the trust of strategic decision-makers in that organization and a richer level of engagement.
Customer loyalty is increasingly important to the profits of business-to-business marketers.
Companies that offer enterprise-class products and services face a long, complex sales process. While closing an initial sale can often take many months, this investment can be enhanced with effective account-based marketing after the sale is made.
The result can be a dramatic increase in long-term return on investment. That’s because the ABM process naturally moves marketing and sales to closer alignment.
You’ll want to make sure that your ABM programs are generating meaningful results. Make every effort to hold an account-based marketing program as accountable as the sales force.
Establish metrics and monitor them. Financial metrics, like cost per conversion; awareness metrics, like time spent; and direct marketing metrics, like conversion rates to sales calls are all important. You can apply the same marketing ROI approach to ABM as you do with your other campaigns and initiative.
Remember, while the Internet enables marketing to deliver relevant content at any time to help establish a relationship with the customer, nothing beats face-to-face.
Step away from that marketing automation dashboard for an hour, a day, or a week to interact with customers on sales calls. Despite all of the digital marketing tools are your disposal, it’s a time proven form of B2B engagement that will provide valuable insight into your customer’s world.