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Why is Account-Based Marketing Important for B2B Marketers?
April 22, 2021 •Nikole Rose
If you have been exploring a wide variety of marketing approaches and strategies, you have probably come across the concept of account-based marketing.
For those who don’t know about account-based marketing (ABM), it’s centered around creating marketing campaigns that target specific accounts instead of appealing to an entire industry.
This marketing approach has risen in popularity in recent years, but why is ABM important for B2B marketers?
Here’s Why ABM Is Important
It works. Ridiculously well. Here are the facts that come from a survey of marketers conducted by Inbox Insight.
- 85% of marketers saw an increase in ROI
- No marketers saw a decrease in ROI
- 80% of B2B marketers saw larger average deal sizes
- 56% saw a rise in ‘best fit’ customer base
- 53% have been able to build strong relationships with top tier clients
- 53% generated higher quality opportunities
- 35% saw better alignment between the sales and marketing departments
- 35% were able to accelerate their sales pipelines
When companies focus their efforts on specific accounts that match their ICP, there is a massive benefit.
- Happier customers.
- Bigger deals.
- Faster closes.
- Better internal alignment.
If you’d like to see these results in your business, schedule a call today.
The Roots of ABM
Though ABM has gained popularity in recent years, account-based marketing began over 25 years ago. ABM takes heavy influence from our friends in sales as a strategic way to market to target accounts. It didn’t have the success it enjoys today for a few reasons.
- The 1990s: The ’90s was the real introduction of the ABM approach. Organizations targeted a small number of accounts and connected through personalized, high-touch engagements. The first iteration often came down to salespeople wining and dining potential clients. These dinners, in-house meetings, and personalized notes sent after events created a real connection between prospects and companies. The major issue came with the inability to scale this approach effectively.
- The 2000s: The early 2000s brought a wave of new technology. This new tech, like content management systems (CMS) and marketing automation systems (MAS), helped marketers scale their efforts and reach more people. This new tech also gave rise to the marketing funnel concept and the desire to touch as many contacts as frequently as possible. The focus shifted to touches conducted through email, reactive marketing initiatives to customer actions, and form submissions to drive conversions. In many ways, personalized touches disappeared.
- Today: The technology today has enabled marketers to have the best of scalability and personalization. With the technology available to organize and execute on personalized data, marketers can now engage with thousands of target accounts in a genuinely unique and individualized way. Digital efforts are streamlined to reach the right people with the right message at the right time by using ideal customer profiling, real-time bidder visibility, customized website experiences, personalized sales interactions, and improved data management systems.
With a clear understanding of where ABM came from, what makes ABM important for you today?
Potential customers expect to be treated as more than just a “lead.” The general and vague language used to email blast prospects doesn’t convert them into customers anymore.
Customers today expect that you will have access to their data and use their data to digitally wine and dine them. With a robust ABM strategy, you can create a personalized experience from start to finish of the customer journey.
Companies like Sendoso allow marketers and salespeople to send personalized gifts to their customers at scale. You can set up automated triggers based on a webinar sign-up, a booked appointment, or a deal closing.
These personalized touches meet customer’s expectations of being treated as more than a lead. Would you buy from the company that sent you a wine tasting kit or the one that sent you a “Just Checking In” email?
When people are treated like people, they buy.
Most marketers fell into just trying to touch as many potential customers as possible and seeing how many sales came out the other end. It’s challenging to create a customer experience that doesn’t feel like they are just a lead when there’s nothing personalized.
With ABM, you focus on a core group of accounts you know you can serve incredibly well. As a result of your focused efforts, contacts in each account feel truly valued.
When your marketing makes your prospects feel understood and valued, they have a significantly higher likelihood of buying. When you dedicate more resources to potential customers that start converting into your customers, you see an increase in the return on those investments.
According to Inbox Insight, 85% of marketers reported a higher ROI from ABM strategies compared to other marketing activities. Although 14% said it was about the same, no one found their ROI lower than other marketing techniques. In the worst-case scenario, your ROI remains the same.
Deals Close Faster
Account-based marketing matches the product or service to the specific use-case of the customer. Though this sounds like what you would expect from a salesperson, most salespeople don’t often tie their product or service directly to the customer’s use case.
For example, imagine two scenarios.
You are looking to buy something nice to wear for a wedding. You walk into the clothing store and are met by a sales associate. As soon as the sales associate sees you, they start showing you all of the clothes in their store to see what you might want.
You are shown clothes for men, women, and children. You are shown everything from dress shoes to flip-flops. After experiencing the entire store, you either grab something quickly or leave the store out of annoyance.
You are looking to buy something nice to wear for a wedding. You walk into the clothing store and are met by a sales associate. The sales associate asks you some questions regarding the occasion, style, budget and then takes your measurements.
The sales associate then shows you a few options. You could see yourself in any of them. You make your decision based on what best fits your needs today. The experience was pleasant, helpful, and painless. You know anytime you need help finding clothes for a specific occasion, you will come back to this associate again.
You have probably never experienced a clothing store sales associate like scenario one before, but you have probably met with a sales rep from a company that walked you through everything they could offer and then asked, “So what are you interested in?”
By the end of the sales presentation, you had a good overview of a company but weren’t sure how exactly their product or service would impact your business today. So you have another sales presentation, move forward with a different company, or just continue searching.
Potentially you move forward with this company with the sentiment of “We can try it for a year to see if it works for us.” We will touch more on this in a moment.
With the sales associate from scenario two, they matched you with the exact products that met your needs. When your company takes the time to understand each account’s needs and then provide clear insight into how your product or service directly impacts their business today, deals close faster.
When you offer direct and specific insight to your prospects, you answer the questions people aren’t asking. You eliminate any confusion. You become the clear choice because you showed the potential customer a glimpse into what the future looks like for their company when they partner with you.
When people start to envision their company’s future success with your product or service in mind, you have won their business.
Higher Customers Retention
Another clear byproduct of an effective ABM approach is your customers stay with you much longer. Higher customer retention closely relates to deal closing faster. By the nature of effective ABM, you set clear expectations for exactly what your product or service can offer the target account before they buy.
The deals close faster because the target account sees the value your product or service brings to their business. The target account often starts to envision their company’s future success with your product or service in mind. The target account trusts you before they ever signed the dotted line.
Once the customer has signed the contract, they view your relationship as a partnership. Your job is now to deliver on what you promised during the sales process. Now, it’s time to delight them with excellent results.
People want their expectations to be met and exceeded. If you set accurate expectations for your potential customers during the sales process and deliver on what you promised, your customers will become your most significant source of new business.
Which comes first? Do happy employees result in more happy customers, or do more happy customers result in more happy employees? Is it the chicken or the egg?
Though there’s some debate around this concept, an ABM approach shows that a rising tide lifts all boats.
When you implement ABM, three facts result in happier employees.
- Your marketing and sales teams align: When your marketing and sales teams align, numerous parties in your company collaborate and succeed. When collaboration leads to success, employees will enjoy their job more. Everyone loves it when a project succeeds.
Even if the project doesn’t succeed, marketing and sales alignment mean sales doesn’t blame marketing for bad leads, and marketing doesn’t blame sales for not being able to close. Both teams come together to assess what worked, what didn’t, and how the company can become better overall.
No blame games.
Just collaboration to drive revenue.
- You have more best-fit customers: When you have more customers that fit your company well, you see a decrease in customer complaints. You offer what they need, and they are happy.
Additionally, your workload will decrease. When you have existing customers that don’t fit well with what your organization offers, you try to create new offers to keep them as a customer. When you constantly spend time developing new offers to meet the needs of one good-fit customer, you miss opportunities to work with more best-fit customers.
Important Note: There are times when your customers come to you with an opportunity that could add significant value to your other customers. Consider the opportunity cost. When you invest in this opportunity, you aren’t investing in another.
If you think what the customer is asking for is something many of your other customers need, you may want to put in the work. People buy from you when you can solve their problems. Just make sure you solve profitable problems.
- You have more strong relationships with customers: When what you offer matches what your customers need, they trust you. When they trust you, you have a real relationship with your customers.
Customers will give you the benefit of the doubt when something doesn’t go perfectly. Customers will seek your insight regarding other potential partners. You become a go-to advisor to help your customers succeed.
Most employees want to work in an environment where they can make a difference and help others succeed. With strong customer relationships in place, employees have opportunities to help customers succeed in their business. These opportunities make employees feel valued, empowered, and happy.
Interested in Implementing ABM?
Account-based marketing has significant potential to change your business for the better. When implemented correctly, ABM will create better customer relationships, larger deals, higher ROI, and happier employees.
If you are interested in ABM and would like help to ensure success, schedule a call today. Our growth consultant will walk you through how Mojo partners with companies like you to deliver ridiculous results.
As President & COO, Nikole is obsessed about building a great company made up of an inspiring culture and highly successful client engagements. Outside of Mojo, Nikole is also pretty obsessed with traveling, spending time at their cabins in Broken Bow OK, her Golden Retriever, Bella, and enjoying Italian dinners and wine with her husband, Mike.
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