Marketing is one of the biggest challenges faced by businesses today. The time, effort and resources that go into generating new leads, convincing them of the business value and finally converting them to satisfied customers, is substantial to say the least. Not to mention, that every lead does not pan out and the rate of conversion needs to be sufficiently high to be considered a decent return on marketing investments. As a result, most businesses tend to struggle under the yoke of ineffective marketing strategies and subpar sales campaigns.
Now, consider a scenario where the marketing and sales efforts are directly aimed towards the highest-value accounts, the accounts that are the best fit for the business, leads that have shown a genuine interest and those that one can be absolutely sure will be easy to convert with the right effort. Here, the business wastes no time in marketing and attempting to sell to ineligible, unconfirmed leads who may not be the right fit, and goes straight to ideal clients!
While this may seem like an unreal scenario that fosters maximum efficiency, this strategy is actually possible! Account-based marketing not only makes this scenario viable but also beneficial to businesses! It allows a business to align their teams, promote long-term growth, boost sales and augment their revenue streams! Here is everything one needs to know about account-based marketing –
At a glance:
– What is account-based marketing?
– Account-based marketing and Inbound marketing
– Benefits of Account-based marketing
– Which businesses should invest in Account-based marketing?
– Guidelines for an effective Account-based marketing strategy
What is account-based marketing?
Account-based marketing is a focused growth strategy wherein a business’s marketing and sales teams work in alignment to create personalized buying experiences for a mutually identified group of high-value accounts.
In simple words, it is a targeted B2B marketing strategy where a business’s marketing and sales teams work together to determine and target their best fit accounts and convert them into customers. In this marketing approach, rather than concentrating on attracting the maximum number of leads possible, the focus is shifted to working in a unified manner to target, nurture and convert only the qualified, high-value leads. It is a strategy that targets companies rather than individual customers. Undertaking such a personalized approach not only results in a considerable return on investment (ROI) but also boosts customer loyalty tremendously. According to research, 80% of marketers attest to account-based marketing improving customer lifetime values, while 86% confirm that it improves win rates substantially!
Although this marketing strategy has been known to the industry for a long time, it is only recently that businesses have started leveraging it to their advantage. This is primarily a result of two factors – the change in customer preferences and the ease in application of this approach owing to technological advancements. Customers in current times have much higher expectations from businesses and respond well to personalized touch-points as opposed to a conventional approach. Moreover, adapting to a strategy that demands such a high level of personalization was a complex, elaborate and highly expensive process in the past. The transformation brought about by the digital era has now made it a convenient and affordable course of action for most businesses.
Account-based marketing and Inbound marketing:
Now, before we move forward to understand the potent benefits of account-based marketing, let us understand the equation it shares with another powerful marketing strategy: inbound marketing.
Inbound Marketing focuses on creating value, relevance and trust for the customers to the point where customers are drawn to the business and its services or products of their own volition. This is done by creating and promoting high quality, SEO-optimized content tailored to the target group and establishing one’s business as a market leader in the eyes of potential customers. This targeted digital marketing strategy lays a strong foundation for a successful account based marketing plan. Reaching out to high-value accounts after positioning oneself as a reputed and trustworthy industry pioneer facilitates the process and produces exceptional results. Therefore, it is highly recommended to practice both – inbound marketing along with account-based marketing to yield optimum results!
To learn about the key components of a successful inbound marketing strategy, read this.
Benefits of Account-based marketing:
Next, let’s have a closer look at the benefits that come with account-based marketing –
- Strong Alignment Between Marketing and Sales –
As mentioned earlier, account-based marketing requires a business’s marketing and sales teams to work in sync towards a common goal – creating meaningful experiences to attract, engage and delight the targeted accounts. This cross-team collaboration results in streamlined work processes, improved communication and greater efficiency. Moreover, such consistency and alignment between teams allow every team member to stay well updated with the client deliverables and project status at all times, thereby smoothening the processes at both ends and effectively building customer relations.
- Enhanced Customer Experience –
Right from the first touchpoint, account-based marketing adopts a personalized approach towards the target accounts, making it highly relevant and appealing for them. Besides, after having them on board as well, due to the unified efforts of the marketing and sales teams, businesses are capable of delivering outstanding results, tailored to the client’s needs on a consistent basis (even if it is a long-term project)! Delivering this level of customer satisfaction won’t just delight the customers but would also further encourage them to spread the word, helping a business expand progressively in the long run.
- Shorter Sales Cycles –
Another undeniable benefit of practising an account-based marketing strategy is shorter sales cycles. As a result of adopting a targeted marketing approach and effectively nurturing the key decision-makers, the otherwise longer sales cycles are shortened considerably. Apart from quicker conversions, the personalized approach undertaken along with a unified marketing and sales effort to nurture the clients on a consistent basis, encourages customer retention significantly. Additionally, it also ensures maximum efficiency and judicious use of resources!
- Measurable Return On Investment (ROI) –
Tracking metrics and determining the ROI of a marketing strategy is one of the common challenges faced by marketers. However, account-based marketing allows businesses to track and measure their ROI with ease. By doing so, businesses can learn whether the accounts they invested in were ideal for their business, the effectiveness of their tactics – what worked and what didn’t, etc. Going forward, they can use these insights to understand their target group better and modify their strategy accordingly for better results!
Having understood these benefits, it is important to recognize which businesses should invest in account-based marketing to benefit the most –
Account-based marketing is a proven, profitable marketing strategy for companies in the B2B space, whose aim is to get targeted high-value accounts on board for large-scale and comprehensive deals.
Guidelines for an effective Account-based marketing strategy:
Now, let’s get a basic overview of the steps involved in creating an effective account-based marketing (ABM) strategy for a business –
1. Define Organizational Goals –
The foremost step for any successful marketing strategy is to have a clearly defined objective. In this case, it would mean having an in-depth knowledge of the overall business goals as well as a detailed plan of action. A few examples of the goals could be boosting sales, increasing the overall business revenue by a certain percentage, improving customer retention, etc while a detailed plan of action must include the important components of an account-based marketing campaign like budget allocation, resources, KPI’s, etc.
2. Build a Team Dedicated to ABM –
Thereafter, having established the importance of alignment between teams across the organization for the success of account-based marketing, it is imperative to have all the key stakeholders on board from the very beginning. This would include the marketing and sales heads, their respective account executives and the extended teams. Sharing the vision and goals with the entire team and keeping them in the loop from the early stages will foster the team spirit, help them stay aligned to the strategy and ultimately contribute positively to the overall outcome of the campaign in a big way!
3. Identify The Target Accounts –
Next, identify the high-value accounts for the business and recognize the key stakeholders of each account. Identifying target accounts can be done effectively by determining ideal customer profiles (ICPs) for the business by taking into consideration factors like the industry, company size, turnover, customer lifetime value, etc and then investing time and resources in targeting those accounts. Some of the other ways to discover such key accounts include reviewing the database for the companies that have connected with the business in the past or engaged in some marketing initiative, setting alerts for ICPs on platforms like Linkedin, etc.
4. Create Personalized Marketing Campaigns –
Once the target accounts are defined, the next step involves crafting compelling content to deliver a personalized experience to each account. The end goal of the content strategy is to effectively position one’s business as the ideal solution to all the client’s needs. In order to do so, it is important to know the targeted account’s key stakeholders, the best possible channels to reach out to them, map their customer journey, understand their individual pain points and then create content tailored to these needs. Reports indicate that marketers strongly agree that personalized content (56%) and advanced data management (43%) are vital to ABM’s success.
To learn how to generate content ideas for your business using detailed statistics with Google Analytics, read this.
5. Execute Targeted and Co-ordinated Campaigns –
The penultimate step involves running targeted, strategically planned and efficiently coordinated marketing campaigns to attract, engage and finally convert these accounts into customers. Since these are high-value accounts and the deal sizes are generally large, it might take a considerable amount of time to establish a strong bond with the company itself. However, the key is to consistently delight these accounts and make every encounter a pleasant, professional and valuable experience. Another important aspect to keep in mind while executing the campaign is that the focus is not to simply reach out and develop relationships with one or two key individuals but multiple team members of the organization.
6. Measure and Analyze the Performance –
The last step is to conduct an audit to measure and analyze the overall campaign performance. Doing so will assist in identifying the gaps in the current ABM strategy and help in planning future campaigns constructively. Some of the KPIs that can help in understanding campaign performance are the number of new deals created, account penetration and account engagement metrics, time taken to close deals, etc. Softwares like HubSpot, Terminus, Demandbase and Triblio are well known to facilitate account-based marketing processes for businesses.
For further support to grow your business, our team at Parkyd Digital is available and happy to help you. We are a B2B digital marketing agency focused on delivering cost-effective, innovative, strategic solutions that align with your sales and marketing goals.