ABM: Marketing to a market of one
Companies of all sizes make purchase decisions by committee. Sirius Decisions found that over a third of companies purchase by committee, while 53% take a consensus approach. Gone are the days of a single buyer. In smaller companies, the buying committee may be less formal than in large, enterprise organizations. But the types of participants and the need for buy-in are the same regardless of company size. Buying committees are not an enterprise-only phenomenon any more.
It’s now common knowledge that buyers conduct most of their research independently, before interacting with a seller. In fact, in a recent study, Forrester Research found that 74% of business buyers conduct more than half of their research online before making an offline purchase. They want to remain anonymous until they’ve collected enough information they need to feel like they can make an informed decision. So the impact of both sales and marketing on the buyer journey is now even more closely linked than ever.
So, where does ABM fit?
“Account-based marketing: a strategic approach that coordinates personalized marketing and sales efforts to open doors and deepen engagement at specific accounts.” – Jon Miller, Engagio
Account-based marketers sell very specific products and services to very specific clients. There are obvious advantages to this—not only is it easier to narrow the playing field and personalize campaigns, it’s also easier to align marketing with sales and measure ROI.
In the not so distant past, this approach to marketing was not feasible, not cost-effective. There would be no way you could rationalise the spend, not to mention the ROI you’d get from a strategy like this. But now a number of market forces have aligned to make an account based marketing strategy not only possible but highly profitable.
How do you get started?
Identify your target accounts: Align sales and marketing targets
It’s no secret that there’s often friction between sales and marketing teams. More often than not, that friction is a result of misaligned priorities between the two teams.
But with an account-based approach, you start by having sales and marketing work together and focus on accounts that really matter. No only that, an ABM approach can fortify your relationship with your clients. By networking with more people across the business, and delivering content that's laser-focused on their needs, you can increase the chances that customer will renew their contract at the end of the year.
Market to your target accounts: Building a seamless experience
Marketers who are considering switching to an account-based approach sometimes make the assumption that they’ll have to start from scratch with a whole new set of “tailored” marketing assets. In a recent Sirius Decisions survey about the state of ABM, 47 percent of respondents said they believe their team doesn’t have the skills they need to get started with ABM campaigns.
But you don’t have to start deleting your marketing collateral just yet. The beauty of ABM is that it provides the tools and strategies to supercharge your existing marketing campaigns.
To put it simply, ABM lets you scale your advertising materials effectively, without having to ramp up production of custom marketing collateral.
Measure progress against target accounts: Finding the right ways to measure success
“Don’t count the people you reach; reach the people that count.” – David Ogilvy
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the right KPIs can make a huge difference in understanding if your marketing is resonating with the right audience.
To measure the impact, you have to get closer to the business metrics — things like pipeline contribution, close rates, funnel velocity and actual opportunities with your target accounts. Sit down with a sales team and start talking about those metrics and how marketing is contributing to them, and you will have friends for life.
See how e-shot can help with your ABM aspirations, chat to one of our customer success advisers on 020 3320 8750. Or join us for our exclusive webinar on Thursday 26th September at 10am.
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