Most B2B businesses have some kind of account-based marketing (ABM) strategy. At the very least, they know who their most valuable accounts are and they try to give them some extra care and attention. But how are they tracking that? In a CRM? Maybe just in shared spreadsheets.
At some stage the question arises: “Do we need some dedicated technology to automate these processes?” Because of the cost of ABM solutions, it’s a question to be considered carefully.
The benefits of ABM
Automating ABM data, analytics, campaigns and workflow processes can provide numerous benefits, including the following:
- Improved sales and marketing alignment. A successful ABM strategy requires marketing and sales organizations to work together to identify key accounts to target. This includes agreeing on the definition of a key account, as well as coordinating campaigns and outreach.
- Shortened sales cycles. B2B sales cycles are notoriously long. ABM helps solve this problem by putting the right messages in front of key decision-makers at target accounts. As a result, ABM opportunities move through the pipeline more quickly.
- Increased marketing ROI. Seventy-two percent of marketers say ABM gives them “somewhat higher return than other marketing initiatives, according to ITSMA. That’s because ABM efforts focus on growing pipeline and revenue from companies with a high propensity to buy more and more often.
- Expanded account value and revenue. Companies that implement ABM experience a nearly two-fold increase in annual contract value (ACV) according to research conducted for the ABM Leadership Alliance. And the gains are not limited to enterprise-level companies.
- Enhanced customer experiences. ABM isn’t just about acquiring new target accounts, it’s about retaining and growing target accounts through cross-sell, upsell and advocacy programs. As a result, ABM is more personalized and delivers more consistent customer experiences across channels.
Sounds good? Yes, but is your business ready for it?
Do we need an ABM solution?
Deciding whether or not your company needs an ABM solution calls for the same evaluative steps involved in any software adoption, including a comprehensive self-assessment of your organization’s business needs, staff capabilities, management support and financial resources.
How many of the following questions would you answer in the affirmative?
- Have we identified our ABM goals?
- Can sales and marketing work together to identify our target accounts?
- Do we have C-suite buy-in?
- Can we invest in organizational training?
- Have we established KPIs and put a system in place for tracking, measuring and reporting results?
It also needs to be clear which team (or combinations of teams) will own the solution.
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Once you have satisfactory answers to the above questions, you can start drawing up a list of vendors to contact with RFPs. For a deeper dive into what those questions mean, and profiles of leading ABM vendors, download our new ABM MarTech Intelligence Report (registration required).
Account-based marketing: A snapshot
What it is. Account-based marketing, or ABM, is a B2B marketing strategy that aligns sales and marketing efforts to focus on high-value accounts.
This customer acquisition strategy focuses on delivering promotions — advertising, direct mail, content syndication, etc. — to targeted accounts. Individuals who may be involved in the purchase decision are targeted in a variety of ways, in order to soften the earth for the sales organization.
Why it’s hot. Account-based marketing addresses changes in B2B buyer behavior. Buyers now do extensive online research before contacting sales, a trend that has accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of marketing’s tasks in an ABM strategy is to make certain its company’s message is reaching potential customers while they are doing their research.
Why we care. Account engagement, win rate, average deal size, and ROI increase after implementing account-based marketing, according to a recent Forrester/SiriusDecisions survey. While B2B marketers benefit from that win rate, ABM vendors are also reaping the benefits as B2B marketers invest in these technologies and apply them to their channels.
Dig deeper: What is ABM and why are B2B marketers so bullish on it?
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