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Money, Get Back! How to Stop Wasting Money with ABM Strategies

admin September 18, 2023

Account-Based Marketing (ABM) made its debut in the early 2000s. It was a marketing tactic designed to engage and convert high-value prospects into a customer.

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What is Account-Based Marketing (ABM)?

Account-based marketing (ABM) is a marketing strategy designed to focus sales and marketing resources in the business-to-business (B2B) space.

Instead of creating broad-reaching marketing strategies, ABM targets accounts within a defined market to increase ROI.

It’s a strategic approach that used highly targeted sales and marketing messages to win new business.

In complex B2B sales, rarely a single individual makes the final decision. Usually, the decision-making process combines the thoughts of primary decision-makers, end-users, and influencers.

The goal of ABM is to identify those individuals who are actively researching products and services with intent.

Armed with this information, sales and marketing messages can then be customized to engage with these individuals.

Previously an ABM approach was very time-consuming and expensive, with many components needing to be managed manually.

With the advent of marketing automation technology along with customer relationship management (CRM) software, the process has become more manageable.

Technology allows marketers to personalize marketing messages to meet the potential client’s specific needs.

Marketers can target accounts that have been pre-qualified that translates into sales revenue more often.

The overarching objective of ABM is to identify and target high-quality prospects over generating a large volume of leads. Effectively it turns the sales funnel on its head.

Although ABM is not a new concept, its resurgence is due to a changing landscape and the emergence of technology-based solutions.

You can no longer shove a promotion in front of prospects and expect them to buy. Buyers today are far more sophisticated and want the marketer to meet them exactly where they are on their path to purchase.

How Account-Based Marketing Works?

ABM begins with developing an ideal customer profile (ICP) which is similar to developing a buyer persona and aligning the target company with the buyer’s journey.

The main difference between an ICP and buyer persona is that within an account, you may find competing objectives and conflicting opinions in regards to the desired solution.

This is noted in the ICP to understand your prospect and influencers at a deeper level. This requires exhaustive research of the individuals of a target prospect account.

You can waste money and time taking a shotgun approach to marketing. With ABM, time and money are spent identifying key individuals within a potentially high-value target account.

Data is then mined to identify relevant individuals to determine who the decision-makers are, along with key influencers.

Using data sources, information is extracted by companies who specialize in data mining to provide the names and email addresses of target individuals within a specific account.

The next step is to identify which communication channels will be used to deliver personalized messages that address the target prospects’ needs, challenges, and opportunities.

Once the messages and sales efforts are deployed, the strategy is monitored to make any necessary adjustments if needed. Evaluating the effectiveness of the sales and marketing efforts in real-time leads to a greater ROI.

Money, Get Back! How to Stop Wasting Money with ABM Strategies

Why do Companies Keep Failing With ABM Strategies?

ABM is widely misunderstood. ABM doesn’t replace traditional marketing methods; it should complement traditional marketing and Content Marketing efforts.

Historically marketing takes a top-down approach, attract, nurture and close. ABM takes the opposite approach, identify, engage, land, and expand.

An ABM strategy doesn’t work with every prospect. Companies that focus on higher volume and lower value deals are better suited to a more traditional inbound approach to marketing.

An ABM strategy should be reserved for complex sales dealing with high-value prospects only. If you use an ABM strategy for every single prospect, the likelihood of the risk and reward ratio will drop off dramatically.

When meeting with prospects face to face, an experienced salesperson knows how to read buying signals.

However, this is far more difficult in the age of Digital Marketing. Marketers must monitor the online behavior of their prospects through search engine queries, content downloads, and repeat website visits.

Taking an ABM approach to marketing only works if you have the financial backing and support from sales and marketing leaders within your company.

If they don’t see the potential for a healthy return on investment (ROI), they are unlikely to support your efforts. It’s critical you enlist their buy-in from the get-go, not just by providing the budget; they need to be involved at every step of the process.]

Money, Get Back! How to Stop Wasting Money with ABM Strategies

You don’t want to go through the machinations of setting up an ABM strategy only to find out later there is no budget or time to implement the strategy.

It’s important to also involve other functions within the organization such as customer support teams, sales teams, finance, and above all, members of the senior executive team.

Remember to include the information technology team, who have the responsibility of ensuring CRM systems and other supporting technology are easily integrated across the enterprise.

Without company-wide support, you reduce the probability of seeing an increase in ABM ROI.

For ABM to work effectively, it requires a large amount of data. Data is usually captured through an IP address and third-party cookies.

Company-to-contact IP address matching requires the services of a third-party who specializes in data mining. It’s important to find a data resource that offers a high degree of accuracy.

Failing to choose a data provider carefully might not support your ABM marketing efforts.

An ABM approach only works when you identify prospects who are ready to buy now.

Choosing a data provider should not be based on volume; it should be based on quality guaranteeing 95% email contact validity.

If your target companies are enterprise-level businesses, using a data provider with a large percentage of validated small business emails won’t work for you.

Why You Shouldn’t Give up on ABM?

ABM should not be a replacement for traditional demand-driven marketing.

Ideally, it should be used as a complimentary marketing strategy alongside other marketing approaches.

Rather than feeling like you must pick as a side, traditional vs. ABM, think of both as being complementary to each other. Both have a place in an overarching marketing plan because they serve different marketing needs.

What holds marketers back from implementing a robust ABM strategy is that they haven’t yet leveraged the tools needed to support ABM.

Relying purely on email, the web, CRM, and social media alone won’t maximize your results.

Looking ahead, marketers need to look at specific ABM platforms, marketing attribution software, analytics, and reporting in conjunction with intent and direct mail.

The research report conducted by ITSMA and the ABM Leadership Alliance states that 70% of marketers are using email, their website, CRM, and social media to drive their ABM programs.

Between 40%-60% are using analytics, events, marketing automation, and direct mail as well as account insights to drive their ABM strategies.

Only 25% of marketers are using ABM platforms, attribution software for reports, content management systems, and sales automation to drive their ABM initiatives.

It’s expected that the top planned investments for 2021 will include an ABM platform, attribution and reporting, intent, direct mail, content syndication, events, and third-party data as a way to increase their ROI.

This tells us that you will receive a greater ROI on all ABM strategies with a little investment in technology.

Keep in mind, ABM is a strategy, not technology. It uses technology to record and track data and enable a more effective ABM strategy.

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