Account Based Marketing – Laser focused marketing and sales campaigns

Now more than ever – as markets are changing, customers are facing new challenges and the workplace dynamic has fundamentally shifted, organisations should consider including Account Based Marketing (ABM) into their marketing strategy. Now is an opportune time to review your plans, and focus on where you think you can achieve the most success in generating new business or deepening your existing customer accounts.

We are all trying to do more with less resources – and marketing teams may well have been reduced over the last few months  – so forcing teams to become laser focused, to research and understand your markets thoroughly will only strengthen your value proposition, and create more effective outbound communications. 

Including ABM as part of your overall marketing strategy can be exciting, challenging, and rewarding. According to Research by ITSMA 87% of marketers that measure ROI say that ABM outperforms every other marketing investment.   I am not surprised by these statistics.  If you look at campaign success you will always see that the messaging has hit the spot – it resonates with the target audience by addressing a challenge, need or desire that they have – so they are more likely to engage with you.  ABM is a highly personalised and targeted approach with messaging that is underpinned by research and insights into target market, organisations and the individuals who influence buying decisions.  It is not the same as ‘one-to-many’ lead generation campaigns where often single messages are blasted out to multiple industries and people with different responsibilities. 

ABM is a tactic where marketing and sales have to work as a team – developing strategy, choosing which companies to target – using a one-to-few strategy, and then delivering personalised content across the relevant channels to actively engage with decision makers. Because of the nature of ABM most campaigns focus on winning high value business – usually from an ‘Enterprise’ or larger mid-sized organisation.  It is similar in many ways to sales account planning and mapping but this time sales and marketing work together to deliver multi-channel campaigns to individuals within the organisation. Because of COVID-19 and the work from home policy, the direct mail piece may need to wait – however there are plenty of digital channels and marketing opportunities to help you stand out.

Examples of some of the most successful campaigns can be seen here.  I especially like how GumGum, who was trying to sell its computer vision technology to T-Mobile attracted the attention of the CEO – who was a huge Batman fan by creating a personalised comic that promoted their product in an innovative way. They knew he was a Batman fan because they had done their research!. The CEO was certainly impressed.

GumGum ABM creative sent to T-Mobile

Obviously this is an example of a campaign targeting a large enterprise – however ABM can still be effective for smaller organisations where you can demonstrate that there is a need for your product or service, and the potential business value is justified for the campaign expense – the ROI should stack up. 

Change your mindset and go for it!

ABM requires you to think differently about how to measure success.  This is not about the lead generation that you are used to. If your strategy is ‘1 to few’ then you will have to cherry pick a small number of ‘high value’, important companies that you want to work with. It is a mid to long term strategy where your marketing team constantly review progress, track real engagement, and take time to have a ‘digital’ conversation with people to build trust, before they become a customer (hopefully!).

If you want to learn more about ABM then the ABM Leadership Alliance is a good place to start to gather resources.

If you need a reminder about what ABM is and how it is different from traditional marketing is then here are a few pointers:

  • ABM requires you to select WHICH organisations you want to target, and WHO within the organisations will be receptive to your messages (most likely multiple targets and job functions)
  • Your outbound strategy will either be focused on ‘1 to few’ (usually if you are targeting Enterprise accounts) or ‘1 to many’ (and we do not mean thousands of companies, more like 200)
  • ABM requires you to develop a clear insight into your target market and accounts – so you need to do your research or hire a data company to do it for you
  • You need to create a specific value proposition for the target sector or account
  • Send tailored communications (typically a combination of online and offline) that are relevant, timely and personal!
  • This is not a ‘lead generation’ funnel from marketing to sales. Marketing and sales work together throughout the process

If you want to talk more about how ABM could be incorporated into your marketing strategy then I’d be happy to chat it through with you.