Marie Hattar is CMO at Keysight Technologies, responsible for brand and global marketing efforts
Today’s evolving digital landscape can have a significant impact on corporate budgets — and marketers are continually expected to do more with less. As a result, demonstrating ROI and maximizing efficiency are of the utmost importance.
Many CMOs are using account-based marketing (ABM) to drive results. In fact, a whopping 94.2% of over 300 respondents in Terminus’ 2020 State of ABM Report have an ABM program — up from 77% just one year prior. With its focus on revenue generation or customer retention, I’ve found that ABM can help to improve lead quality, streamline sales and create customer stickiness for greater ROI.
What Is ABM?
ABM is a strategy in which marketers design and execute highly personalized marketing programs that target specific companies or accounts. With ABM, marketers treat individual accounts as entire markets — creating tailored strategies and omnichannel campaigns that address specific business needs of customer buying groups.
ABM strategies are typically categorized by:
• Quality over quantity: Rather than generating a high volume of leads (of which many are unqualified) ABM strategies focus on building relationships with a smaller number of key stakeholders or high-value accounts.MORE FOR YOUWhat Makes An Athlete Female? Here’s How The Olympics DecideLinkedIn Is Going With A Widely Applauded ‘We Trust Each Other’ Approach For Employees Returning To WorkThe End Of The Housing Boom Will Be When Mortgage Rates Rise In 2022
• Active collaboration with sales: A key part of any ABM strategy is marketing and sales alignment. ABM marketers partner closely with sales reps to identify the highest-value accounts that are most likely to drive revenue for their company.
• Tailored campaigns: As opposed to “spray and pray” marketing — where marketers cast a wide net using generic messaging — ABM is all about personalization. Leveraging deep customer insights, ABM marketers create relevant content and offerings tailored to the needs of the target company, team of decision-makers or even the individual buyer.
Benefits Of ABM
Seventy-three percent of respondents in Demand Gen Report’s 2020 ABM Benchmark Survey found that ABM strategies greatly exceeded their expectations, 53% said ABM has led to an efficient use of marketing resources and 37% saw a clearer path to ROI. With a more focused approach, ABM can deliver several key benefits to marketers.
Focus On Revenue
By focusing on accounts with the highest potential ROI, ABM enables a strategic shift from lead generation to revenue generation. You can efficiently spend marketing budgets and resources on the prospects who match your target personas and who are ideal customers for the problems you can help them solve. ABM can also help you gain revenue faster since the targeted approach focuses on highly qualified leads who are most likely to benefit from your product — and therefore are more likely to respond to your messaging.
Increase Sales And Marketing Alignment
One of the biggest challenges that marketers face is aligning with sales around who to target and the content that’s ideal for different personas. With ABM, sales and marketing teams are in lockstep. They work together to build shared objectives, identify target accounts, understand customer needs and define success metrics. This collaboration also helps create consistent communications throughout the customer journey, which can lead to a better experience for prospects and current customers.
Personalize High-Impact Messaging
ABM’s personalized approach helps ensure that you’re delivering the most relevant messages to the highest-quality prospects — which can help you achieve higher ROI. Before launching an ABM campaign, marketers should research target accounts to identify key decision-makers and then research these key decision-makers on an individual level. For example, what do they post about on LinkedIn or Twitter? What types of content do they engage with? Use these customer insights to fuel your own marketing strategy with personalized, value-driven messaging. Rather than highlighting product features and pricing promotions, focus on specific pain points and how your solution can help this person be more successful in their role.
Deepen Customer Relationships
Marketers and sales teams alike should realize that customer retention is becoming just as important as acquisition. The personalized, focused approach of ABM helps you understand your customers’ needs on a deeper level and deliver value over the long term — which can drive customer loyalty.
Three Tips For Getting Started With ABM
Once you’ve worked with your sales reps to identify target accounts and determine who your best research enabler is, you’ll be ready to build your ABM strategy. Here are some steps to take to get started:
1. Gain Account-Specific Insights
Go a level deeper to discover helpful insights on your target prospects. Identify internal account influencers, and when possible, find out how the company makes purchase decisions — e.g., is there a buying committee? Does every purchase decision have to be approved by the C-suite? Which stakeholders are involved?
Additionally, find out about the specific challenges that these internal decision-makers face. What are their day-to-day responsibilities? How is success measured on their team? What are their pain points? Once you’re armed with that information, you’ll be able to craft a relevant narrative that informs your campaign messaging and resonates with your target audience.
2. Work With Sales To Create A Go-To-Market Plan
ABM requires constant collaboration with sales. Review your marketing plan with the sales team so they understand the full buying experience. Be sure to determine which reps will take on what accounts so that once prospects show interest, the marketing team can seamlessly hand them off to sales and the experience is a consistent one.
3. Invest In ABM Infrastructure
Today’s marketing technology tools make it easier to hyper-personalize content at scale, automate outreach, track success metrics and collaborate with sales. Identify and set up all of the tools and integrations you need to successfully manage your ABM strategy. Without the right infrastructure in place, you may not be able to fully enjoy the benefits or demonstrate the ROI of ABM.
Delivering Results With ABM
ABM provides a framework for marketers to deliver the personalized experiences that customers today expect — while maximizing efficiency, improving internal collaboration and ultimately driving business growth. Stand out from your competitors and start pivoting toward this customer-centric strategy today.