Account-Based Marketing (ABM) has been around for years. It involves personalising communications to address a number of stakeholders within a small set of ‘key accounts’. It used to be a fairly manual process when executed without the help of new B2B marketing technologies. Where marketing once cast a wide net to catch as many fish as possible, it has now become incredibly personalised and targeted. As reported in our latest B2B Marketing Research (BMR) Report, 46% of respondents reported they were currently investing in ABM, with a further 21% to implement it in future.
I first experienced the benefits of using ABM back in the early ‘noughties’ when I was working as a communications manager in a large IT company. I had been assigned to our largest client, a mining company, and was running our ABM program.
Our team worked globally to support and meet the needs of our client’s IT systems. As a wide-spread group, I worked closely with the global Account Executives (sales team) and the delivery teams – the updates they gave me were incorporated into regular outgoing communications, such as newsletters.
We’d use these communications to showcase the scope of work we were delivering, both internally and externally, including:
- Our collaborative successes
- Introducing new services and initiatives
- Exposing the broader organisation’s capabilities
- Introducing new team members
- Reporting on community programs – e.g. providing computers to a local school
Part of the process involved tailoring branding for all literature, boilerplate copy for proposals and bid documentation, and internal communications for new processes and tech implementations. For a team without the technology of today, we indirectly grew the account substantially over the course of the engagement. I think, in part, due to our ABM program!
However, had we access to new tools like a marketing automation platform (MAP), the impact of our ABM strategy could have been much greater and more efficient. With the MAP, integrated into our CRM, our sales team would have had ‘control’ over information sharing, pausing communications at sensitive negotiation stages and boosting them at others. Three areas we could have improved were:
Segmenting our audiences to receive personalised messages to target groups, rather than one blast for all.
Adjusting our content strategy based upon actual data and insights, because we would have better visibility and evidence of engagement.
Providing us with an indication of decision making power and intent – those consuming more content and demonstrating high engagement could have been contacted directly at the right time with relevant offers and propositions.
A well-designed ABM program and its success require the collaboration of the Sales and Marketing teams – the implementation design of the MAP and CRM to enable the business rules like triggers, scoring milestones and alerts. All stakeholders need to be involved in the process to ensure it runs as smoothly as possible.
Our B2B research reported 60% of respondents investing in ABM have shared goals between their Sales and Marketing teams. More than half reported strong to moderate ROI from their ABM programs.
As 2018 progresses, we’re hoping to see more B2B marketers invest in ABM as a strategic approach to their marketing. With customers’ desire for a personalised experience and tailored content ever-rising, it would be pertinent for any B2B marketers not already using ABM to start.
If you’d like to speak to us about Account-Based Marketing, you can call me on 03 9290 9777 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more B2B marketing and Best-in-Class insights, download your complimentary copy of the latest B2B Marketing Research Report.