Account based marketing (ABM) comes up in almost every conversation that we have with prospects and customers. It is hard to ignore the impact that it is having on sales and marketing alignment and importantly the bottom line.
Account-based marketing (ABM) is a powerful strategy that can help your business become more customer-centric and can empower it to reach its objectives for growth and sustainability. ABM is focused on attracting and increasing the lifetime value of key customers. It utilizes marketing automation, new tech tools and big data to help you discern, anticipate and meet their needs in ways that were never possible before.
A growing body of research demonstrates that a well-designed and executed ABM strategy is your best bet to power business growth in the years ahead:
- 85% of marketers measuring ROI say that ABM outperforms other marketing investments and that it provides significant benefits to retain and expand their existing client relationships. – ITSMA.
- 97% of marketers surveyed say that ABM has a higher ROI than other marketing activities. - Alterra Group.
- Companies using ABM generate 208% more revenue from their marketing efforts. – MarketingProfs.
How can your company use ABM to achieve its business goals?
Here are three big ways:
Expand your business by focusing on key accounts: Combining a key account focus with technology enables you to do a better job of discerning the needs and intent of complex B2B buying teams. That, in turn, enables you to deliver the right content that supports their needs throughout the buying process.
Model new prospect relationships based on your ideal customers: Once you have developed and refined an ideal customer profile (ICP), you can use look-alike modeling to find new prospects with similar characteristics. This technology analyzes your seed audience, identifies key characteristics they share and then finds people who are similar to them. It’s a powerful way to expand your universe of A-list prospects and customers.
Leverage your company’s competitive advantage to land key prospects: If your company has developed a product or service innovation that gives it a significant competitive advantage, ABM can help you to attract and land valuable prospects that you could never crack before.
ABM and the three layers of marketing
ABM isn’t a “plug-and-play” solution that can instantly fix all of your sales and marketing challenges. Rather, it’s an approach that must be used intelligently as part of a larger go-to-market strategy.
At Cultivate, we view ABM as a key element in a three-tiered approach to messaging and marketing:
Level 1: One-to-many strategy - brand messaging to all prospects. This is required to create a base level of awareness for your products, services and solutions. The information that you share on your website about your capabilities is an example. Without it, the next two levels of marketing will never be effective. It’s also where most marketers spend most of their time while ignoring opportunities for more targeted messaging.
Level 2: One-to-few strategy - targeted messaging to key markets or customer segments. At this level, you’re customizing your messages to meet the needs of specific industries and customer segments. For example, you may want to create messages that speak to the specific needs of engineers in the power distribution industry, or procurement managers at OEMs in the construction and mining industries. This level of marketing aims to be more relevant to your prospects’ needs. It’s a key element in every successful B2B marketing strategy.
Level 3: One-to-one strategy - account-based marketing. This level of marketing focuses your messaging and sales efforts on an even narrower set of needs – individual members of your highest value accounts.
Collectively, all three levels of sales and marketing work together to drive business growth in an integrated, sustainable and measurable way.
Content: The fuel of every ABM initiative
Once you've chosen your target accounts and designed campaigns to influence them, you need content to deliver your messages to them. That means one of your first tasks is to audit and segment your content.
According to SiriusDecisions, up to 70 percent of the content created by organizations is never used. That’s because content is created by many teams within your company and is stored in a variety of platforms and information silos. A content audit can help you understand all the assets you have available to power your ABM campaigns.
A content audit is more than just an inventory, however. It should also help you to determine how each asset aligns with your ideal prospect’s buyer’s journey and to identify content gaps you need to fill.
Your content audit should provide you with everything you need to organize and segment your content into relevant collections, based on criteria such as topics, product lines, vertical markets and personas. Your sales and marketing teams can then utilize these collections to send highly personalized messages to individual members of your key prospect buying teams – the right message at the right time.
In short, a content audit is a foundational element of every successful ABM initiative.
Use the Cultivate Content Audit to organize and assess your company’s existing content.