Let’s be candid about this one. You must be worried and occupied with the question — “Why should I add account-based marketing into my marketing strategy? How does it help my ROI?”
If you are complacent with the existing marketing mix you would not be so worried. But you are someone who constantly seeks excellence and believes in achieving the best strategy and marketing mix for your organization. End of the day you need to convince your board members, CEO, and other members of the management to adopt account-based marketing (ABM).
We will answer your questions.
If you are a B2B organization, an account-based marketing strategy becomes imperative. It allows you to focus on each of your clients exclusively and drives you to gather the information that provides the edge over competitors in your market. It also resolves the most challenging debate of alignment between sales and marketing departments.
Sharing a few benefits about account-based marketing would help in building the foundation, convincing your team to adopt ABM, and executing accordingly.
Benefits of Account-Based Marketing
Account-based marketing benefits are a residue of its philosophy where each account (customer) is treated as a separate market. Some of the benefits that are inbuilt into the execution of account-based marketing are –
- Improves and increases account relevance.
- Meet prospective clients with higher value ahead in the buying journey.
- Better alignment of marketing and sales objectives
- Shorter sales cycle which means a better return on time.
- Higher scope for personalization
- Reduced wastage of resources
- Better ROI
This is not just theory! Some companies have achieved million and billion-dollar deals.
Northrop Grumman, a global aerospace and defense technology company employed ABM to complete a $2 billion deal. Shell, an oil and gas MNC achieved a $13 million deal. The most beneficial industry has been the IT industry which is struggling long sales cycle.
What is Inbound marketing in the context of account-based marketing?
While inbound marketing focuses on fishing at the shore using a net, account-based marketing uses a harpoon to capture whales. The fish and whales that we are referring to are your customers. It simply means that inbound marketing is designed to attract quantity, which is as many leads as possible and ABM is designed to invite quality, those few customers that will contribute to 80% of your business.
If you call inbound marketing a search engine that will present and help you gather only qualified leads, ABM would begin its search from target companies. In the case of inbound marketing target companies would be at a much later part of the funnel.
To summarize that –
“Inbound marketing is a pre-screening process involved in the bigger picture, which is Account-Based Marketing. Account-Based Marketing uses some of the existing inbound marketing tactics, optimizes them, and delivers to achieve targeted sales, a high-quality customer pipeline, and a better return on time resulting in a better ROI.” — The Smarketers
How to introduce Account-based marketing in your B2B inbound efforts?
Convergence of inbound marketing and ABM leads to the application of some unusual combinations of tactics right from the marketing to the sales funnel. Here are some ways to introduce ABM in your organization’s B2B inbound marketing efforts.
These account-based marketing solutions blend seamlessly with inbound marketing tools and tactics.
Event marketing – It is offbeat to hear about an offline strategy in the digital era. What actually matters is the efficiency of the channel you opted for. If a channel promises the exact customer you should be serving, then why not? We are not just referring to webinars, tweet chats, or AMAs, we are talking about large sponsorships, speaker opportunities, or even targeted networking over dinner.
Inbound marketing tactics like standardized content, information bundling, lead (targeted customer) capturing, and source attribution can be applied here too. You do not bump into a customer head over heels, but create a lead magnet by creating opportunities at the event and inviting your prospective customers to confide in you with their challenges.
Pipeline Acceleration Campaign – This requires very close alignment with inbound marketing. The success of your inbound marketing campaign is determined when you have a sound pipeline of qualified leads that meet the benchmark of your buyer personas. While this process can get slow, the same pipeline could be accelerated by adding the principle of ABM.
ABM is built on the philosophy of profiling your customer even before you have one. Once, these leads meet the criteria of your customer profile, it is much easier and faster for the sales personnel to close the deal.
Personalized Communication Templates – Since, you are communicating with one customer at a time, you will need highly personalized content. Inbound marketing advocates standardizing communication with the use of templates. These templates could be used to eliminate redundancy in production and hence, save time. The use of these templates as a blueprint is a strong beginning in creating personalized campaigns and communication.
Upselling – To begin with, this has got nothing to do with prospective customers. It is all about more business with your existing customers. Since you already know who is 80% of your customers who can match your product, you can now start selling it. The cycle of demonstration, delivery, and designing can be adopted from inbound marketing.
Quantitative marketing – Marketing is no more left to branding alone. It is objective and driven by numbers, channel attribution, and ROI. This is very relevant in the context of measuring results and further testing better versions. A/B testing, use of reporting templates, and technology stacks recommended by inbound marketing experts are very relevant here too.
These scenarios are instances where ABM and inbound marketing philosophies learn from each other and create a newer opportunity.
To sum it up in the words of David Ogilvy.
“Don’t count the people you reach; reach the people that count.” – David Ogilvy
Aligning account-based marketing with inbound marketing could get complex at times. It is always good to orient yourself with account-based marketing for better results. Feel free to reach out to us for a free 30-minute ABM strategy session.