What is Account Based Marketing?

Yes, it is technically possible to grind your Blue Mountain Gold Cup arabica coffee beans by hand in a pestle and mortar...but who has the necessary free time and excess energy when there are state of the art electric coffee grinders...or indeed dedicated professional roasteries that will expertly grind your beans for you?

Bear with us. This talk of coffee beans is not just frivolous diversion.

We’ve been vocal proponents of Account Based Marketing* for a good number of years now and initially we would tell our clients that they could achieve the great increases in return on investment that ABM brings without having to invest in clever tech. This is strictly still true...BUT see above re. coffee beans. Our point is this: although at heart ABM is about having a clear and rigorous strategy for attracting precisely the clients who will be of most value to your organisation, the implementation will be significantly faster and more efficient with the help of the targeted, purpose developed technology out there.

 

Let’s do a little ABM 101 first, shall we? Just in case you aren’t yet clear on its advantages...

Much is made of the science and strategy behind Account Based Marketing (ABM), all of it valid, but in the simplest terms, ABM turns the traditional marketing funnel on its head and takes a highly targeted approach, narrowing the focus and working to attract a pre-qualified list of key accounts which your research tells you will provide greatly increased return on investment.

There is no doubt that taking an Account Based Marketing approach takes thought and will require buy-in from all relevant senior stakeholders. However, given that our favourite relevant statistic is that 97% of marketers questioned told researchers from the Alterra Group that taking an ABM approach had given them measurably higher ROI than other any marketing activity, in terms of your business development, it IS worth the time and trouble.

 

 Advantages of ABM

  1. Your pipeline will soon be of much greater value - containing only very warm leads that you know for sure badly need your product or service. 

  2. You will no longer be wasting precious time chasing those ‘slow no’ prospects who keep you dangling for months. 

  3. You will have an armoury of business intelligence that lets you tweak as you go, so that you can stay agile in your strategy and push more resource towards the methods you see are proving most effective. 

  4. You will see far greater return on investment, and this will only increase the longer you practice your strategic ABM approach.

  

Turning the funnel on its head...?

Whereas traditionally marketers would try and attract vast numbers of prospects at the top of a funnel, engage with them as a form of qualification... and hope a small percentage drops out of the bottom of the funnel becoming clients, ABM begins by defining a target list. This list could easily be mistaken for a smaller version of a traditional sales list but it has one extra crucial ingredient, and that is business intelligence. The prospects on a good ABM list are pre-qualified so that you know they genuinely need your product or service and, more importantly, you know you can deliver on their requirements to address and solve their pains. 

Moreover, with ABM Sales and Marketing teams within your organisation will need to work together, sharing a common goal and supporting each other by exchanging information and business intelligence and having hundreds of ‘leads’ counts for very little. The value is in having a small number of high quality leads which will, if you are doing ABM properly, be far easier to convert.

 

Clever Tech

Where does this super smart technology come in?

Well, pretty much all the way through your ABM journey. There are countless tools and applications out there that were developed specifically to help you with Account Based Marketing (Demandbase, Albacross and Clearbit ) - from defining and honing your list of target accounts through to automating and personalising your communication with them in various ways and at distinct points along the ABM process.

Choosing a smart, marketing focussed Content Management System and Client Relationship System (Hubspot, for example) will simplify, amplify and speed up your ABM campaigns, but there are also innumerable bits of software out there that can help you with particular parts of your ABM performance (identification tools such as Albacross or Leadfeeder and so on).

 

What should I do now?

The first step with ABM is to ensure all relevant team members within your organisation are committed to the approach and willing to support each other. This would be Director level representatives from both the Sales and Marketing teams and ideally also your CEO. Once you are in that position, you can begin to co-create and carefully define your target list.

If this feels like a Herculean challenge in itself, you might want to look at coming to one of our Account Based Marketing Seminars - a half day introduction that aims to give you the tools to really get started and overcome and initial obstacles.

 

*Or as one tech entrepreneur waggishly said, ‘Account based marketing...Or, as it will be known in the future, marketing.’