Account Based Marketing, often referred to as ABM, is a business growth strategy that focuses on targeting high-quality leads and accounts and is the ideal strategy for business-to-business (B2B) sales.
To put it as simply as possible, ABM is a B2B marketing strategy that identifies key accounts (companies) that match a businesses ideal clients, and targets the key decision makers in those companies through personalised messages and content marketing campaigns.
In order to implement a successful ABM strategy for 2021, businesses need to:
- Recognising the importance of high value accounts
- Align marketing and sales activities within the company
- Measure and track campaign effectiveness
- Invest in the right platforms, software or tools
While an ABM approach includes both leads based and accounts based funnels, the focus of the strategy is not to maintain a high value of leads, but to rather focus resources on more qualified prospects.
Instead of focusing on the number of leads brought in through marketing, businesses that use ABM focus on aligning their marketing and sales teams in order to engage with and attract key accounts that are the ideal fit for the business. Moving from traditional lead focused marketing to ABM dies require a shift in how your business approaches marketing as a whole - but it is not as daunting as you think.
There are steps your business can take to move from traditional leads based marketing and selling to account based marketing and account based selling.
1. Recognising the importance of high-value accounts
A survey conducted by Ascend2, proves the importance of identifying high value accounts when moving forward with an ABM strategy and measuring the correct metrics is the key to finding your high value accounts, as these accounts will be used to form the foundation of your strategy. The survey found that the most important data to collect when putting your strategy together is to learn more about your existing accounts, learn their value, engagement history with your business, and current planned projects.
There are certain tools and software available to help you gather this information, the most relevant being a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool such as HubSpot. A CRM can help your team identify and learn more about your high value accounts, and this tool does not only collect account information, it allows for transactional data including delivery notices, invoices, and payments, that will help your sales team close a deal. The information stored on a CRM also allows sales and marketing teams to share information and learn more about the company’s key accounts - and this is when sales and marketing align.
2. Aligning Marketing and Sales
One of the most important aspects of ABM is sales and marketing alignment. When you take on an ABM approach, it is vital that your sales and marketing team are able to work together seamlessly and both departments need to be involved from new account acquisition right up until a sale - and after.
This means that your advert creation and planning and sales must work together, with your marketing team having a key understanding of the value of deals and the customers. The goal with ABM is to guide the entire buying process, from identifying a prospect to converting them into a customer - essentially, both teams need to understand what a high-value prospect looks like.
So, how do you align your sales and marketing team effortlessly?
As we touched on previously, CRM's offer considerable benefits when it comes to B2B sales strategy. A Customer Relationship Management software such as HubSpot’s CRM, actually provide a dedicated place for marketing and sales alignment. A CRM stores lead and client information in one place, and your sales and marketing teams are able to share information, learn about prospects and understand where they are at in the buying process.
Because a CRM is designed to align the marketing and sales process, it has the ability to increase lead to sales conversion rates, help to close deals (with the help of personalised marketing efforts) and spot new business opportunities. A CRM is driven by real time data collection and streamlines all marketing and sales processes, ensuring your teams are more agile when it comes to lead nurturing and converting leads into clients. Learn more about how CRMs can better your business through sales and marketing alignment, here.
3. Measure and track leads through the buying process
As we keep reiterating in this article, tracking the accounts lifetime value, engagement history, and related information is vital in the ABM process as it helps your marketing and sales team know which types of accounts to target - which is linked directly to business growth.
When it comes to ABM, traditional sales metrics such as conversion rate, total leads and click through rates are not as important because these metrics are more about trying to increase numbers as much as possible, which means your marketing and sales team usually end up wasting time on too many unqualified leads.
The top marketing metrics to measure and track for ABM include:
- Account revenue generated
- Target account engagement
- Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs)
Of course, it is helpful to know which channels are working best for your marketing efforts, it is important that your team understands which channels your high value accounts are active on.
According to the Ascend2’s study we mentioned previously, social media has proven to be the most effective channel for ABM, closely followed by personalised Email marketing.
Switching to an ABM approach for your B2B sales and marketing efforts requires a change in mindset and by breaking it down into several steps, your marketing and sales teams will be able to adopt the strategy. By working together both teams will be able to reach the ultimate goal - generating more revenue and achieving business growth in 2021.
Nexa has been generating highly qualified sales leads for businesses of all types for almost a decade. We have both the experience and track record to help businesses in all industries generate highly qualified sales leads.
Contact Nexa for all your B2B ABM sales strategy needs or learn more about Account Based Marketing, here.