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Marketing Strategy
What is Account-Based Marketing?

What if I told you that you could 100x your lead quality and customer value by decreasing your customer acquisitions? You’d probably think I was either insane or out of my element as a marketer. But with over a decade of experience leading successful enterprise marketing initiatives, I can promise you there’s a greener pasture waiting for you.

B2B organizations are becoming more customer-centric, with a focus on delivering meaningful experiences through sales and customer funnels. That means less time is spent on lead generation and outreach and more time engaging a target audience of key decision-makers and that process is called Account-Based Marketing.

If you're looking to implement ABM in your organization, this guide will give you everything you need to get started. I'll explain the basics of ABM, including how it works, the benefits it offers, and some tips for getting started.

What Is Account-Based Marketing?

Account-Based Marketing or ABM is one of the most effective strategies to tailor customer experiences for each account your organization engages with. ABM is a strategy that uses personalized marketing campaigns that focus on ideal customer personas to win over particular accounts.

ABM is all about targeting specific companies and decision-makers within those companies instead of casting a wide net in the hopes of catching a few prospects.

The term was originally coined by UK-based marketing leader, Beverley Burgess. But in 2016, Terminus Co-Founder Sangram Vajre wrote “ABM for Dummies” and made the practice approachable.

So how does ABM work? It's all about identifying your ideal customer profiles and creating tailored marketing programs that speak to their needs. By targeting specific accounts, you can focus your resources on delivering maximum results.

What Are the Benefits of Account-Based Marketing?

When I think about account-based marketing, I can't help but think about the increased ROI that I have seen implementing it firsthand. 87% of B2B marketers in 2022 said their ABM programs outperform non-ABM marketing investments by 97%! That’s a huge lift from changing marketing tactics.

Sales reps are able to focus their efforts on a smaller number of high-value accounts, and as a result, they see a significant jump in conversion rates.

Marketers are able to deliver bespoke content marketing to enhance each buyer’s journey through the sales funnel. There is also strong marketing alignment with sales and customer success to create a higher revenue potential for each deal closed.

But it's not just about the numbers—ABM also builds better relationships with customers. Cross-functional account engagement creates a better understanding of what customers need and want, meaning you can deliver more customized solutions that match a customer’s specific needs.

How Can Account-Based Marketing Be Used by B2B Organizations?

When it comes to B2B marketing, account-based marketing is one of the most effective strategies out there because the sales process, especially for enterprise B2B companies, because their deal sizes and periods can extend much farther than traditional sales cycles. And it's no surprise that over 70% of B2B marketers are using ABM. After all, it's a great way to get the most out of your marketing efforts.

ABM strategy focuses on target accounts that are informed by buyer personas. B2B organizations can design these personas based on high-value existing customers that share real pain points they face daily. By identifying potential customers that sales teams want to pursue, it can work in an organization's favor to reduce the total leads generated in favor of a select few high-quality accounts. By narrowing your focus and targeting specific accounts, you're able to allocate your resources more effectively and achieve better results.

Honestly, there's no one-size-fits-all approach to ABM strategy. Every organization is different and will have different metrics that they use to measure success.

Performing all of these marketing tactics for a small list of individual accounts might sound like a lot of work, but ABM can be really effective in helping you win new customers while retaining existing ones. I encourage every B2B marketing executive and leader to review ABM for their own organizations.

What Are Some Best Practices for Account-Based Marketing?

As I’ve already mentioned, ABM is a way of thinking about marketing and sales that puts the focus on specific accounts or customers. Instead of casting a wide net and hoping to catch some fish, ABM encourages marketing teams and sales organizations to work together to identify target accounts and key stakeholders to craft customized campaigns for them.

The best ABM successes stem from Iteration. If you constantly measure success and failure, you’re able to evaluate and identify opportunities to improve your ABM marketing programs.

  • Target high-value accounts and key stakeholders
  • Align marketing and sales to select your target accounts
  • Choose the right marketing channels for your ABM campaigns
  • Plan a cohesive ABM campaign for each stage of the funnel
  • Spend the extra time building relationships for targeted accounts
  • Analyze your ABM results and iterate

How can you measure the success of your ABM efforts?

When it comes to account-based marketing, there's one question on everyone's mind: how do you know if it's working?

For starters, you can look at the number of new leads and opportunities you're generating for targeted accounts. If your ABM campaign is successful, you should see a significant increase in leads from your targeted accounts. You can also track conversion rates and customer lifetime value, to get a complete picture of how your ABM campaign is impacting your bottom line.

At the end of the day, it's important to remember that ABM is all about aligning sales and marketing departments around a specific set of accounts. So make sure you're constantly communicating with each other about the progress of your campaign, and adjusting your strategy as needed.

Ready to Use ABM for Your Organization?

There's no doubt that account-based marketing is a powerful strategy for B2B organizations. But like anything else, it can be challenging to get it right. That's where MarTech software can help!
Your MarTech Stack is influential in your ABM program's success. Use my expert guide on how to Build a MarTech Stack for your ABM campaigns.

A Marketer's Guide on How to Build a MarTech Stack

By Stephanie Hood

Stephanie Hood is the Editor of The CMO and holds vast marketing experience in industries spanning media, publishing, tech, fashion and travel/tourism. Throughout her career, she has led editorial and marketing teams and strategies for small and medium-sized businesses, consistently turning six-figure budgets into seven-figure profits. With a passion for storytelling, Stephanie enjoys connecting with the world’s top executives to share their secrets to business success. Curious what else she’s uncovered? Be sure to sign up for The CMO newsletter so you don't miss a beat.

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