How to Succeed With Account-Based Marketing in the Current Business Environment
Account-Based Marketing (ABM) has grown in popularity recently, yet many businesses find it confusing. It depends on a few variables how well one-to-one and one-to-few ABM programmes are designed. Here, Jason Ball, founder of Considered Content, talks about a few ways to successfully execute your next ABM campaign.
Many businesses are attempting to increase their cut-through with difficult-to-reach, risk-averse consumers in light of the uncertain business climate and the approaching potential of an economic downturn.
According to our most recent research, more than half of B2B buyers are delaying their purchases. It is more challenging than ever for them to win over internal stakeholders. And when making a purchase decision, 55% are taking a greater number of vendors into account.
When we discuss huge sales involving sizable budgets, this is amplified. These will frequently be for things that have the ability to completely change how a business operates. Even though the rewards are even greater, the risk is still substantial.
As vendors, we frequently concentrate on the 20% (or fewer) of the 80:20 rule customers. These are clients who have the potential to significantly increase revenue and profit. These will probably be the hardest sales we ever make because few customers will be in the market at once and most will already have an established incumbent vendor. However, by assisting in the development of our own brands as the preferred option for serious players, these opportunities also have the potential to have a profoundly negative impact on the future of our own companies.
Marketing to customers that fit this description is distinct from concentrating on the general market. They demand a more individualised, well-informed, and resource-intensive approach. And for this reason, account-based marketing (ABM) has gained a lot of ground recently. ABM is currently used or will be used by 98% of marketers, according to a 2021 ABM survey by Demand Gen Report.
But, while ABM’s popularity is not in question, what it looks like in reality often causes confusion. What most of us would call “true ABM” typically involves a one-to-one approach: targeting a single account. In the real world, this is likely to involve reaching out to multiple decision makers in that company, as there may be several, even dozens, involved in B2B purchasing.
This one-to-one strategy is typically only appropriate for significant enterprise sales of at least six figures. We can only rationally justify the associated costs and efforts at this level. It requires in-depth analysis of the customer’s priorities, the creation of a unique value proposition, and content created especially for them, typically focusing on the points at where the value proposition and the customer’s needs overlap.
ABM can also refer to one-to-few, which targets a small number of accounts at once and can be effective at a sector level. In this case, the research typically entails identifying the most significant problems the sector is currently facing. The resulting material is intended to show that we are aware of these problems and that we have a practical solution.
When businesses employ ABM for one-to-many targeting, confusion results. We are led to assume by Martech and LinkedIn that ABM can involve hundreds of accounts that have previously interacted with our material. They will assert that their marketing technology may be utilised to target and retarget particular accounts that are in-market as well as access intent data. Here, there is a lot of discussion regarding the challenges of large-scale personalization. However, the only real similarity between it and true ABM is the effort made up front to choose the target audience. ABM is not macro; it is micro. Scale issues are not necessarily relevant.
It depends on a few crucial elements how well one-to-one and one-to-few ABM programmes are designed. One example of close coordination between sales and marketing is a willingness to invest in thoroughly understanding your target demographic. Can you identify the actual pain points of a target consumer (as opposed to merely the ones you wish they had)? Can you make a strong connection between their problems and the value your business offers? And are you able to produce the precise content needed to make this all stand out and be memorable?
If not, continue on.
How to Run a Successful ABM Campaign in Seven Easy Steps
1. Correct your targeting
Decide who you will target and assess if they are worth the effort by consulting with sales and other internal stakeholders.
2. Research your topic
Find out where they are having trouble. What do they have their attention on right now (in your area)? Who makes the decisions regarding purchases? Anybody from an administrator to the CEO could be in charge of this, depending on the type of purchase.
3. Develop a value proposition.
What are your points, and more importantly, why should people care? What contributions do you make? Where do their needs and your value proposition overlap?
4. Produce valuable, tailored content
Anything you write should be about them, not about you. They don’t care about you, and that is the harsh reality. All that matters to them is what you can do for them.
Consider that more customers prefer to self-serve information before contacting vendors when planning content: According to a 2022 survey, 66 percent of B2B buyers Via Considered Content. In fact, more than half (53%) of consumers prefer to make purchases without speaking with salespeople.
According to a survey by Demand Gen Report, 40% of vendors are likely on the right track when it comes to catering to independent buyers and planning to establish a centralised content hub that is personalised and targeted to particular accounts.
5. Select the next action you want them to take.
What are you asking them to do? Is it inspiring? It is probably more motivating to say, “Attend a workshop to explore this problem you are having,” as opposed to, “Let us show you our product demo.”
6. Make sure you follow up and distribute properly.
Your finest SDRs need to be well briefed and ready to follow up, perhaps more than once, so that you can reach the correct people through a combination of integrated approaches. Because of this, effective communication between sales and marketing is crucial.
Consider leveraging your findings to produce some one-to-few pieces of content for usage in the larger market if you are employing one-to-one ABM. Thus, the “all eggs, one basket” problem is avoided. From an effectiveness and financial standpoint, it makes sense to repurpose your content because the pain points your research identifies are frequently industry-wide issues as well.
7. Think about how you define success.
According to the survey by Demand Gen Report, 63% of ABM campaigns track quality leads, while just 37% track pipeline velocity. Qualified leads are frequently insufficiently qualified. You need to see movement on the opportunity stage rather than just downloads because actions speak louder than words.
These sales typically take a year or longer to complete. It can take a long time for a company to realise it has an issue before starting to hunt for a solution. Therefore, it’s crucial to target the roughly 95% of prospects who aren’t currently in the market. Don’t just write them off because they aren’t scribbling with their best pen on the contract. Take a long view. Continue showcasing your knowledge, worth, and dedication. By doing this, you increase your chance of being one of the three or so brands that come to mind when they have a problem that you can solve.
Ultimately, ABM can have a significant impact on success if done correctly. Three-quarters of marketers think these efforts either meet or surpass company goals, according to research by Demand Gen Report.