It’s a very logical response to the growing number of people involved in making a B2B buying decision. The main common characteristic of different aspects and applications of ABM is the focus on accounts, instead of on individual job titles or job descriptions alone.
Although account-based marketing has been getting a lot of attention in recent years, it’s not actually a new strategy. ABM was developed in the mid-1990s as a way for (mostly enterprise) marketers to distance themselves from mass marketing tactics and begin a more targeted approach.
As the strategy slowly gained traction, it became better-known and more likely to be employed in companies that don’t rank as enterprise. By 2015, SiriusDecisions reported that over 90% of B2B marketers believe that an account-based marketing strategy is a must-have; it also noted that only 20% of companies had actually implemented a strategy for longer than a year. Which begs the question:
Is ABM a fleeting buzzword, or is it here to stay?
Well, the Information Technology Services Marketing Association (ITSMA), a B2B industry expert for all things marketing, reports that ABM delivers the highest return on investment (ROI) of any B2B marketing strategy or tactic. Demand Metric also found that 60% of those who have employed ABM for at least one year attribute a revenue increase of 10% or more to its use.
Megan Heuer, Vice President and Group Director at SiriusDecisions said, “We’re in the early days of an important change in how B2B companies go about delivering on their revenue goals, and ABM is a critical aspect of this shift.” She added:
“What makes ABM so attractive right now is the way it combines insights for strategy and technology for execution. Marketing teams who understand ABM are in a powerful position to better align to what sales needs, and to make smart choices about the right actions to take and the right time to take them to grow high-potential accounts.”
Ready to take a closer look? Here’s a high-level overview of the five steps to plan and implement a successful account-based marketing strategy, and start creating more marketing-sourced leads.
1. Pick and Choose Your Highest-Value Accounts
Account-based marketing, in some sense, is the brainchild of sales and marketing alignment. The strategy is most successful when you choose high-value accounts that tie to key business initiatives and company goals.
Typical initiatives might be expanding into a new market, increasing market or wallet share, landing a major brand, etc. When you’re choosing your target accounts you’ll want to analyze factors such as industry, location, revenue, similarity to your best customers, technology stack, early-adopter tendencies, financial habits, and so on. You’ll need to target different buyers within an account, so take the time to build buyer personas, which will help you speak directly to those different buyers accurately.