What if your sales staff could sift through all your potential leads and identify the high-value and best-fit ones? Take another step and now this process is automated. One last step and you’re in a world where your sales team is only addressing this high-value segment with customized messages, converting leads into customers quickly and efficiently.
Think, how would this impact your topline, growth, and customer experience? Is this a dream? Not at all! Thanks to account-based marketing (ABM), this vision is a reality.
What is Account-Based Marketing?
Account-based marketing is a focused B2B growth strategy where the sales and marketing teams collaborate to identify, contact, and convert high-value leads. Your ABM team engages the customers, identifies their needs, and presents them with a customized proposal cover letter that details your offer, its potential benefits to the clients, and a detailed description of a solution that’s tailored to their needs.
ABM enables your sales and marketing teams to weed out low-value leads and focus on best-fit leads that would provide a higher return on investment (ROI). Your ABM team identifies key stakeholders and decision-makers at these companies and presents solutions customized to the stakeholder’s needs and buyer persona. These solutions can be detailed proposals and customized video presentations made with video marketing tools.
Unlike traditional one-to-many marketing (one message to many clients), ABM means one-to-one engagement (message customized for specific clients). Account-based marketing focuses on converting a few large and high-value accounts.
As a marketing strategy, studies show that it is highly effective. A survey conducted by Alterra showed over 97% of respondents felt that implementing ABM helped them to achieve a higher ROI.
Before highlighting the additional benefits of implementing ABM beyond ROI, let’s look at the synergy between account-based marketing and your inbound marketing strategy.
Synergy Between ABM and Inbound Marketing
Your marketing team generates leads through both inbound and outbound marketing strategies. The leads generated through inbound marketing are of higher value since they are pre-qualified for buying intent.
The leads generated by inbound marketing have already experienced touch-points with your brand, whether it’s through the content on your website, SEO, social platforms, online courses you’ve built, or lead nurturing. They have well-defined needs and feel that your brand could offer something that meets their needs. Hence, they are already pre-qualified for buying intent.
The diagram below highlights the complementary relationship between inbound marketing and account-based marketing.
Inbound strategies end with lead generation, which, in turn, is the starting point for ABM activities. Your inbound marketing is the lead generation engine for your account-based marketing efforts, and you can measure the effectiveness of your strategies using website analytics tools.
Here are some more reasons to implement ABM and inbound marketing together:
- Inbound marketing helps you in attracting high-value accounts.
- Inbound strategies lay the foundation for a strong ABM program.
- It amplifies the power of your content. In addition to your regular inbound content, you can craft ABM content in the form of case studies on your website.
Pro tip: Audit the effectiveness of your inbound strategies before launching your ABM strategy. If you need to strengthen your content marketing, seek help from a team of qualified content creators.
Benefits of applying account-based marketing to your sales
According to a survey published by MarTechSeries, ABM attracted the highest allocation of marketing dollars at B2B companies, with over a third of their marketing budget allocated to ABM strategies. This indicates that B2B companies consider ABM an effective marketing strategy.
ABM has several spin-off benefits beyond higher ROI numbers. Let’s take a quick look at them:
1. Better alignment between sales and marketing
Successful implementation of ABM requires cross-functional coordination between your sales and marketing teams. This cooperation helps in nurturing and building transparency and alignment between the two functions. With ABM, both sales and marketing teams share a common goal and budget that keeps them on the same page.
The alignment ensures that the client receives consistent communication and smoother interactions. It helps to provide a seamless and consistent experience to the client, thereby creating a positive customer experience.
2. Shorter sales cycles
Decision-making at enterprise-level companies is typically slow. With multiple stakeholders and decision-makers in the sales closure pipeline, sales cycles can easily stretch into months, even years. At large companies, purchase decisions often involve up to ten stakeholders. Getting them on the same page to make a purchase can be both resource-intensive and frustrating.
Account-based marketing lets you cut through this red tape and shorten the sales cycle. Early in the sales process, the ABM team identifies the key decision-makers and leverages the personalization of ABM to build a rapport with the people who wield the most influence for major procurements. This rapport accelerates the sales process, shortening the sales cycle to a few months at most.
3. Beat the competition
Customization allows you to build relations with your clients that your competition can’t match. It helps in differentiating your product and service from that of your competition. The customization is especially relevant if your product or service is a commodity with limited differentiation offered in a market with multiple competitors.
By addressing decision-makers by their names, identifying their pain points, and offering specific solutions to these problems, customization allows you to distinguish your brand and product from the competition so that the client chooses you over everyone else.
4. Higher client retention
Account-based marketing impacts your customer retention positively by ensuring your brand’s continued relevance and creating a consistent customer experience. ABM requires everything to be personalized (content creation, product information, and campaigns), which takes substantial amounts of time and resources to develop. However, these investments in building a relationship with your customer help in keeping your brand relevant and important.
ABM is an ongoing process and every time you delight your customer, you make them feel like your company was built just to service them. Delighting your customers with a consistent experience will go a long way in improving customer retention and increasing the customer lifetime value.
Account-based marketing is an invaluable tool for companies in the B2B domain. It allows you to identify and shortlist high-value leads and focus your resources on converting them.
ABM strategies help in increasing the ROI of your marketing dollar while amplifying your top and bottom line. They help in improving the collaboration between your marketing and sales verticals. By offering customized and consistent messaging to your clients, it gives you a leg up on your competition while helping with customer retention.