Being a digital marketing agency – specifically one focused on marketing automation – we’re asked about Account Based Marketing all the time.

“Should we be doing it?”

“How can we get started?”

“Does our marketing automation platform support Account Based Marketing?”

You get the idea. And to address the questions above, the answer for each is yes. Before we go any further with the specifics, let’s first explain what Account Based Marketing actually is.

What is Account Based Marketing?

Account Based Marketing (ABM) is a fundamental change to the sales/marketing approach many businesses have operated under for years. ABM requires a company-wide commitment to a new approach, measurement and responsibilities. At first it requires a leap of faith to get behind and build a program for. Then it requires a commitment to the approach which defines the strategy and supporting tactics.

Operating a true Account Based Marketing strategy requires sales and marketing buy into a shared strategy. Without being too dramatic, it’s a shift in the traditional sales-marketing relationship and an agreement of responsibilities and subsequent actions. It’s about moving from a broad “one-to-many”  to a personalized “one-to-one”, approach in driving prospect awareness and engagement.

I’ve seen Jon Miller (of Engagio – more about Jon below) talk about ABM as hunting with a spear. I like that analogy. I regard ABM as a process that says “we are proactively going to communicate to this group of prospects” (ideally organizations that best fit your product/service) instead of hoping inbound marketing efforts reach good or qualified audiences. To go back to Jon’s analogy, pick where you hunt rather than hoping the prey comes to you.

Finally on ABM – I really believe organizations should balance both inbound and outbound marketing (otherwise known as lead generation and demand generation). I wrote a piece on the role inbound marketing should play in modern marketing programs (read that here), but I also think it’s crucial organizations invest at least some of their budget into Account Based Marketing (or otherwise known as demand generation or outbound marketing).

The standard reasons to invest in ABM are well defined, however, here’s a few other immediate benefits I see as well:

  1. Ensure you hit the right audience
  2. Diversify the sources of your opportunities
  3. Maximize sales and opportunity velocity (quarters go by far!)
  4. Reduce/Focus some of your marketing spend (it might be more cost effective to target specific audiences instead of another trade show or two)

Now that we’ve explored the concept of Account Based Marketing and given a longer description, here’s how several marketing organizations define it:

a strategic approach that aligns demand creation programs and messaging against a set of defined accounts and goals, in a way that is relevant and valuable to those accounts and to sales.
SirusDecisions

Account Based Marketing is a strategic approach that coordinates personalized marketing and sales efforts to open doors and deepen engagement at specific accounts.
Engagio

A focused approach to B2B marketing in which marketing and sales teams work together to target best-fit accounts and turn them into customers.
Terminus

ABM focuses marketing and sales resources on a defined set of targeted accounts and employs personalized campaigns designed to resonate with each individual account.
Marketo

Making sure marketing and sales speak the same language.
Kissmetrics

Aspires to be ‘zero-waste’ marketing. It’s a model that targets only the companies and contacts that are likely to buy your product and that sales has pre-committed to try to close.
InsightSquared

Treating individual accounts as a market in their own right.
ITSMA

2018 figures to be another year of ABM-heavy interest and investments. Stay tuned to our blog to read more Account Based Marketing content, ready to go ABM Accelerators or contact us today if you have ABM aspirations as part of your marketing plan!

 

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