Account Based MarketingWhy is everyone talking about account based marketing? I hear the term thrown about these days especially on platforms like LinkedIN and amongst B2B Marketeers! It seems to be the "in" thing at the minute and by all accounts it works a treat. I was keen to find out more.
What is account based marketing?Let's start off by going back to basics and look at what traditional marketing is. You may have heard of a marketing or sales funnel which tracks the stages a consumer travels through before making a decision to buy.
Using traditional funnel based marketing from my advice is to follow these three steps.
- Focus first on what needs to be said
- Where to say it
- Who to say it to
- Focus on who you are trying to target
- What you want to say to them
- Where to say it
So what is the difference between traditional marketing and account based marketing?Nothing really except that account based marketing is targeting the customer at the account based level and delivering a marketing strategy and content that is specific to that account. Account based marketing is a combined effort between the marketing and sales teams to ensure no overlap when targeting the same account.
The rise in digital technology and digital content in the past decade has meant the B2B buying process has changed and the number of decision makers in an organisation or account has increased. In order to reach out to these decision makers a much smarter approach is needed. I believe that using traditional marketing efforts alone will generate a lot of potentially wasted leads that will not convert.
I have worked in numerous companies where the sales and marketing teams are working silently beside each other. This is will not work with account based marketing. Sales and marketing teams should be all singing from the same hymn sheet so to speak especially when implementing account based marketing. The sales and marketing team should be working as a team to target a group of stakeholders in a business rather than an individual.
Implementing ABM (Account Based Marketing)So now that we know what ABM is and how it can work for a business next lets find out how this can be implemented and how this methodology can be successful for a company. I have been reading about lots of different approaches to ABM and put together this short info video
Account based marketing and the rise of AutomationI couldn't talk all this time about account based marketing without mentioning automation. As mentioned traditional marketing involves casting the net wide guiding people through the sales funnel whereas ABM involves a more targeted approach and Hubspot use a brilliant analogy - ABM can be thought of as "fishing with spears". Marketing in the ways mentioned in this blog can involve a lot of repetitive tasks such as sending emails and different key times, Posting to social media, Posting blogs at certain times etc. From my own experience this can be an all time consuming thing and to be honest I don't think my brain could keep track of all required marketing activities. This is where marketing automation software becomes an absolute life saver and one of the most important tools to do my marketing job. There is a wide variety of marketing automation tools available.
- Infusion Soft
- Pardot and the list goes on...
I have been lucky enough in my marketing career to have used HubSpot and Co-schedule to help with marketing automation. both have their pros and cons but HubSpot has more features and more automation features. Marketing automation is built in to HubSpot allowing you to easily automate marketing activity such as emails and allows you to trigger certain emails to certain customers based on their journey in the sales funnel. A seriously powerful tool and highly useful in account based marketing where lots of unique targeted automation is needed. I could go on all day about automation but in today's crazy fast paced business world it is essential that there is a tool to help us manage repetitive tasks whilst increasing productivity and tracking and improving on our marketing activities.
5 Steps to effective account based marketingIf you watched the info video above you would have seen the "5 steps to effective account based marketing". The guys over at MRP are experts on ABM and have put together a 5 step plan which makes so much sense to me.
- Discovery - Select and target your audience. Set and define your target strategy based on segments, geography and revenue.
- Insights - Prioritise your target market and identify accounts that are in an active buying cycle.
- Orchestration - Create account specific content and create multiple tactics such as direct mail, email, messages to engage your account based on their buyer journey.
- Execution - Deliver effective go to market strategies.
- Analytics - Measure the effectiveness of your tactics and quickly make adjustments to optimise your strategy.
- I know I said 5 steps but I have thrown in a sneaky sixth step and it is one word - Automate.
Does account based marketing work?
In marketing there can be so many activities that are difficult to get a true ROI figure. However with ABM there has been proven success with increased website traffic, white paper downloads, emails registered etc and most importantly higher conversion rates and sales. Account Based marketing is also known as key account marketing meaning if you reach out to the right people in the organisation with the right content then you are on to a winner. In my opinion using ABM is a win win for any business especially a technology service business.
My top 5 reasons for using ABM for your business
- More personal - You are delivering more personalised content to the right people. We all know the saying that people buy from people. Building relationships this way is key.
- Better structure - with a clear ABM strategy all marketing activity will be planned and resourced correctly meaning you are using all your marketing resources effectively.
- Clear ROI - businesses surveyed said that account-based marketing delivers higher ROI than other types of marketing (Forbes). Using ABM there is clear measurable Return on Investment.
- Better analytics - As mentioned you will see an increase in ROI but using analytics you can also see what is not working and quickly make amendments to optimise any campaign.
- Better relationship between sales and marketing - This can only be a good thing for any business.