What to do to ensure your ABM activity remains focused, practical, and profitable? There’s a lot of commentary in the industry, but when you get down to basics there are five key principles that when followed give most B2B marketers what they need to get ABM-tastic:
Account based marketing: the five key principles
Principle #1: Appreciate that time and attention are your most valuable assets
ABM, whether proactive or reactive, is all about identifying the most appropriate and timely account-focused opportunities – and committing your resources to them. In other words it’s about rigorous, disciplined, and informed prioritisation, meaning you (and your sales team) will have to be prepared to say no as often as yes when an account doesn’t closely fit the preferred profile.
Principle #2: Sales, marketing, and customer success teams are all equal partners
Think the Three Musketeers, The Three Degrees: three teams working hand-in-glove to define the characteristics for what makes a key account, and the actions and behavioural factors to be scored. When working in unison, marketing’s branding messages are infused with input from sales and customer success – with each team deploying these messages in concert to assure a consistent customer experience across each and every touch point.
Principle #3: Use the tools and resources already at your fingertips to establish an ABM programme
Introducing ABM into your day-to-day doesn’t have to require sizeable investment in new tools and capabilities. In fact most B2B marketers can employ an account-based strategy – and employ it well – by utilising their current knowledge, experience, and marketing technologies. The reason here is simple: ABM is really about repurposing common B2B marketing fundamentals and technologies to achieve a different objective.
Principle #4: Use marketing automation to personalise ABM and content strategy
Delivering more tailored marketing outputs should be a primary goal of any ABM activity. Do this and you get to dial up the relevance of any information being sent to contacts, thereby earning the highest possible engagement and conversion rates from key decision-makers and influencers. In effect ABM has made personalisation possible on a mass scale. It’s the modern equivalent of hand crafting individual letters to a few dozen (or a few hundred) of your best prospects – based on their particular areas of focus.
Individual customers who perceive supplier content to be tailored to their specific needs were 40% more willing to buy than those who don’t
Principle #5: Go for a quick, early win to get traction within (and budget from) the C-suite.
It obviously helps to ‘prove’ the value of any investment in ABM to sceptical executives. Hence the value of starting with efforts designed to expand business within the existing customer base – before going after new ones. Keeping the focus here gives you a good shot at achieving relatively quick and easy gains, which in turn can build the support, patience, and funding required for sustained, longer-term ABM programmes.
It’s an approach that aligns with the long established truth that keeping and expanding an existing customer relationship is cheaper than attempting to land new business. It also ensures your customers experience the extra care and attention that accompanies an ABM campaign, which in turn helps:
Strengthen loyalty and advocacy
Increase referral business
Generates wins in the form of up-sell, cross-sell, and other types of account expansion
Increase the lifetime value of an account
These are credible, long-desired benefits that help spread the reputation of ABM beyond those pioneering souls who initially champion its usage.
ABM, done well, can transform B2B companies from being product pushers to account champions. That ultimately is why account-based marketing works. With the right strategy and the right technology in place, ABM can support all aspects of your strategy from brand awareness and demand generation, through to customer retention and expansion.
At the same time, it also inspires greater alignment and collaboration between all customer-facing teams. And because of this concerted focus on individual accounts, success measurements are simplified and based on the impact to your company’s overall objectives – rather than the achievements of siloed, disconnected teams.
Best of all, it puts your key customers front and centre, which is exactly where they should be.
How to drive profit from Account-Based Marketing
There’s a time for spray and pray marketing: For casting your net wide when sharing news in the expectation that a small percentage of recipients will have that ‘aha’ moment. But let’s face it, when the emphasis is on delivering immediate results (and timely opportunities), then the more targeted your activities the better.
Which is, of course, the central promise behind Account-Based Marketing (ABM). With it comes the ability to deliver more meaningful and relevant messages that are tailored to a precise audience. But then you already knew that. What you possibly don’t know so well are the key factors behind a successful ABM programme or the main pitfalls to avoid.
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