The ABCs of ABM

Is it a bird?  A plane?

Another silver-bullet fad?

Don’t think so.  Account-Based Marketing, or ABM, is taking off with technology organizations.  Marketing teams work more collaboratively with their sales counterparts and prioritize key strategic accounts.  They micro-target marketing efforts for these accounts – customizing, personalizing, and nurturing.

Assessing ABM

Why is ABM growing in popularity?  There are no unlimited budgets, and ABM very effectively helps prioritize dollars.  Rather than trying to raise awareness and influence everyone, you are trying to influence the top sales priorities.  While the concept has been around for a while, it was originally a highly manual process for only the largest deals – not scalable.

Today, there are new tools that help automate and make ABM more feasible for smaller marketing teams.

For example, you can take a small ad budget, and show a targeted ad to just the right people from the right organization at the right time.  Your website can serve up different content, depending on who visits – very powerful, as you are giving target personalized content when the audience needs it, not when you send it.  IP-address mapping means you can target and customize the experience for an individual viewer.

Sales & Marketing Love

The ABM process helps bring sales and marketing organizations closer together – definitely a positive and a key for the business results organizations experience when they implement ABM well.

Logically, research shows significantly higher close rates when the two groups are in sync.

In many organizations, ABM is co-owned by both groups and forces them to work together better.  This addresses a significant challenge in most B2B tech companies.

A 2014 study shows B2B sales execs fail to convert a sale about 70 percent of the time they engage with a qualified prospect…and they blame marketing.

And, there is disagreement on the effectiveness of marketing materials.  The majority of B2B marketers (76 percent) say their marketing assets are effective, but less than half (46 percent) of their sales counterparts agree.

Sales is also less confident in the level of sales/marketing collaboration.  According to the study, 47 percent of marketers said there is good collaboration with sales in the development of marketing assets, while just 24 percent of salespeople agree.

The issue is that research shows as collaboration increases, business results improve.

It Takes a Village

ABM helps influence a range of decision makers and influencers with a target enterprise account.  Targeting a broad cross-section (IT and importantly non-IT) of influencers within the target account will deliver better results than focusing exclusively on a single buyer.

What’s Needed for Success?

Cooperative sales/marketing relationship.  Deep understand of customer needs.  Customized collateral – developed jointly by marketing and sales.  New tools and tactics such as IP-address mapping capabilities.  And, new marketing metrics that focuses on quality targeting over quantity of impressions or engagements or downloads.

What’s been you experience with ABM?  Share thoughts & advice…

Nicole Burdette, 11mark

February 3, 2016

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