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Account-Based Marketing – personalized marketing on steroids
September 9, 2019 | Erik Meade

Time to fess up – are your marketing and sales teams working together?

For many organizations, they are not. In some cases, divisions may be siloed, meaning one department may not know what the other is doing. Other times, objectives may not be aligned, and one group’s focus may be completely different than the other’s.

If this sounds familiar, don’t worry – it’s a pretty common issue across the board. The result? Leads generated from marketing aren’t as qualified and ultimately don’t get connected to sales. Therefore, the sales team feels unsupported by marketing and gets inundated with worthless leads. The sad thing is that this comes at the ultimate detriment to the growth of your brand.

It’s this need for tighter alignment between sales and marketing to close the “loop” that has led to one of the most buzzworthy phrases of 2019 – Account-Based Marketing (or ABM).

ABM gives marketing strategies strength

What is ABM?

As a strategic marketing approach, Account-Based Marketing – also being coined as “Smarketing” – allows sales and marketing teams to work together toward the same goal to directly approach key prospects. So instead of traditional inbound marketing tactics focusing only on industries or personas, ABM communication tactics focus on specific accounts or people. It’s fishing with a spear instead of a net.

With this spear-like approach, ABM essentially takes the marketing funnel and turns it upside down. Instead of filling the funnel from the top – with lots of unqualified leads, many of which may never come to fruition – you’re starting out with a highly refined list of identified customers and accounts you want to work with.

a pyramid conveys ABM - starting small and then expanding

Here’s how it works:

  • The sales team identifies a short list of high-value accounts or prospects they want to land. This could consist of one person within the prospect organization or a few key stakeholders.
  • Then, the marketing team works with the sales group to identify specific messaging strategies to connect the specific prospect’s main pain with your value proposition.
  • Personalized messaging is then developed for each specific target to communicate your understanding of the target’s unique business issues.
  • Tactics are then developed to engage each specific target. These could include traditional marketing vehicles that are developed with the hyper personalized messaging.
  • As the plan is implemented, there are two ways to begin building a personal relationship. Either the target is driven directly to your sales team, or your sales team reaches out directly to the targeted individual.
  • As the relationship strengthens, sales will follow.

Consisting of a variety of different mediums, ABM tactics are highly personalized to the prospect’s unique business needs. Interactions and outreach by the sales team is needed to develop a personal relationship.

To put it simply, all tactics build upon one another. There is no one-and-done approach.

Here’s the thing…

If you’re thinking all this hinges on the quality of the prospects, you’re right.

Identifying the right targets requires diligent work by your organization. It’s all about quality versus quantity. This is the most important step in any account-based strategy because without it, there is no way to know if you are targeting the right accounts.

Another important point is that an ABM program requires you and your team to right size your expectations. In other words, you need to adjust the way you measure marketing success. A fancy presentation that celebrates the huge number of impressions you’ve generated all year will no longer be your only measure of success. Since ABM kicks off with higher value prospects, your ROI will ultimately be higher. It’s a long game with the potential of big results.

If you think ABM might be a good piece for your marketing strategy, give us a shout. Our team is ready to dream up some creative and engaging ideas to make those prospects pause and pay attention!

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