Introduction to Account-Based Marketing & Concepts

May 26, 2020 |

INTRODUCTION

In a B2B environment, you often hear success stories of Account-Based Marketing (ABM) generating tremendous ROI, which keeps marketers on a constant lookout for ways to reproduce the success fitting to their organization. Additionally, with the rise of digital transformation – where new technologies, strategies, and channels have empowered marketers to bring engagement to the next level – ABM has been gaining more and more recognition. As ABM adoption continues to grow, we have designed a detailed yet straightforward guide to help you get started on your own ABM mission.

In this document, we are drilling down the concept of ABM from the very beginning. We intend to share our experience and expertise so that you can expand your collection of best ABM practices, cross-check the information you already know, and identify what you may have overlooked.

Once you have finished this guide, if you are interested in hearing more about building, executing, and measuring an ABM campaign, please look into our other guides in this series:

CONTENTS

PART ONE

ACCOUNT-BASED MARKETING IN A NUTSHELL

  • What is Account-Based Marketing?
  • Defining Account-Based Marketing
  • The ‘flipped-funnel’ approach
  • Benefits of adopting an Account-Based Marketing Strategy

PART TWO

S2M SERVICES AS PART OF YOUR ABM STRATEGY

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PART ONE — Account-Based Marketing in a Nutshell

WHAT IS ACCOUNT-BASED MARKETING?

A vast majority of our clients in B2B marketing are familiar with the term ‘Account-Based Marketing’. It’s a popular, yet effective concept and has been adopted / implemented by many. As a matter of fact, 94% of B2B organizations consider ABM either “extremely important” or “very important” to their overall organizational success, as discovered by SiriusDecisions in their 2019 research. The same study suggests that 70% of B2B organizations intend to invest “more” or “significantly more” in Account-Based Marketing (in technology, people, programs, and agencies) during the next year.

94% of B2B organizations consider Account-Based Marketing either “extremely important” or “very important” to their overall organizational success & 70% of B2B organizations intend to invest “more” or “significantly more” in Account-Based Marketing

With the rise of digital transformation – where new technologies, strategies, and channels have empowered marketers to bring engagement to the next level – ABM has been gaining more and more recognition. As ABM adoption continues to grow, we have designed a detailed yet straightforward guide to help you get started on your own Account-Based Marketing mission.  

DEFINING ACCOUNT-BASED MARKETING

Before diving into the concept, benefits, and the process, it is important to agree on a comprehensive understanding of the definition. According to SiriusDecisions, Account-Based Marketing is “a strategic approach that aligns resources against a set of defined accounts and goals in a way that is relevant and valuable to those accounts”. In other words, ABM is a strategy that is based on a customer experience-centric approach. It requires multiple cross-functional teams to collaborate on particular target accounts and engage specific buying personas with highly personalized experiences to drive revenue.

ABM can be regarded as an opposite to the lead-centric strategy, also knows as a ‘broad reach’ approach. With the broad reach strategy, marketers would cast a wide net with the purpose of fishing as many leads as possible. Those undertaking such approach might face various drawbacks, such as long queues of low-quality leads that are unlikely to convert, undistinguished or poor customer experiences resulting from mass campaigns, and so on.

Account-Based Marketing has evolved as an alternative philosophy and compelled marketers and sales to shift their mindsets to data-driven, proactive engagement with clearly defined (and relatively narrow) buying groups within target accounts.

THE ‘FLIPPED-FUNNEL’ APPROACH

Account-Based Marketing applies a ‘flipped-funnel’ approach with a clear objective of your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). Unlike traditional funnels where marketers would build brand awareness to the mass working their way down, ABM’s ‘flipped funnel’ approach focuses on investing in marketing activities and efforts on a selective, high revenue-generating number of target accounts.

Successful ABM involves many stakeholders beyond just the marketing team. With the harmonization between the marketing, sales, customer success, and product teams aligned, ABM not only drives revenue but also brings numerous benefits with influence reach at the organizational level. In fact, research done by Forrester has established that the businesses with a strong sales-marketing alignment see an average of 32% annual revenue growth, while less aligned organizations suffer a 7% growth decline.

THE KEY BENEFITS OF ACCOUNT-BASED MARKETING

Account-Based Marketing brings lasting quantitative and qualitative values to implementers / adopters and other involved stakeholders. Seeing the value, leaders of different industries run multiple ABM programs in parallel covering the different scope of activities. The main benefits Account-Based Marketing can deliver are covered below.

Enhanced cross-functional alignment

You may often find large organizations are not aligned on strategy due to the size of the organization, the complexity of organizational structure, lack of alignment leading to little awareness of the different stages of initiatives, etc. Successful ABM involves many stakeholders beyond just the marketing team. With the harmonization between the marketing, sales, customer success, and product teams aligned, ABM not only drives revenue but also brings numerous benefits with influence reach at the organizational level. In fact, research done by Forrester has established that the businesses with a strong sales-marketing alignment see an average of 32% annual revenue growth, while less aligned organizations suffer a 7% growth decline.

Besides, each cross-functional team can bring a new piece of data to the table, which in turn helps ABM leaders to see the full picture and make informed ABM decisions. Since the marketing team tends to own engagement and activity data, while sales reps usually hold CRM data, having these two squads working together will enable each team to identify exactly which campaigns, channels, and content made an impact along the ABM journey. Hence, closer alignment and consistent communication throughout the campaign, and harmonization on activities.

Smarter use of marketing budget

By definition, ABM strategy implies going after the best-fit targets that will bring ‘real’ revenue to the business. This approach generates several important benefits – fewer and better-quality leads to focus on, smarter resource allocation, more personalized and distinguished customer experiences, etc. – all resulting in higher overall win rates.

Businesses that embark on the Account-Based Marketing journey define a clear targeting strategy that allows marketers to spend their budget on areas that guarantee a return on investment and effort. By doing so, ABM practitioners avoid overexposing themselves to audiences that are not their target accounts / potential buyers. On top of that, having a smaller audience focus allows marketers and sales reps to boost engagement and orchestrate a truly personalized and memorable client journey, which in turn reduces the sales cycle and enhances the Return on Investment / Average Client Value.

Shorter sales cycle / better conversion to closed deals

Account-Based Marketing is all about getting the right message to the right stakeholders at targeted accounts without wasting time and effort on other prospective customers with little or no decision-making power or influence. Those undertaking an ABM approach can better define their right audience – buyer personas – as well as their needs, objectives, interests, and other relevant context. With such information at hand, some opportunities could already be entering the pipeline after the first meeting.

Increased revenue & average client value

ABM allows your sales teams to have a more fruitful conversation with targeted accounts as the buyers would have already been exposed to your messages. This not only accelerates the sales cycle but also can be a contributing factor to acceleration in revenue generation and lower Average Client Value by signing a large deal with less investment.

Better customer experience (CX)

It’s highly likely that the Key Decision Makers for your targeted accounts receive hundreds of unwanted marketing messages with little to no personalization. Properly deployed ABM allows you to get the right message across to your buyers at the right timing. This eliminates your company’s overexposure and reduces messages that are often undesired by the potential buyers.

At this point, we should also keep in mind another important factor: by 2025, 75% of the world’s working population will be Millennials. One thing we have already learned about Millennials – their expectations in terms of customer experience is very high. As representatives of this generation climb the career ladder and become key decision-makers in buying teams, the importance of relevant and personalized customer experiences becomes increasingly evident. Luckily, a well-designed ABM strategy can save the day by enabling B2B marketers to stay ahead of the increasing CX expectations.

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PART TWO — S2M Services as Part of Your ABM Strategy

Acquiring a third-party vendor to support your ABM strategy might pose a few challenges such as quality control and lack of tangible results. The quality of the work produced by external agencies might not match your expectations. As a consequence, your ABM teams may lack actionable insights and valuable data to carry on with the mission. Also, to compensate for the lack of results, you may find yourself in a situation where you need to perform the tasks on your own (again), duplicating and complexifying the work.

At S2M, we strive to design, refine, and power the most important elements of your Account-Based Marketing mission to help you achieve desired success. No matter how far you are in your ABM journey – defining ICP, building target lists, or running campaigns – we can pick up where you left off, and fuel measurable results. Thanks to the consistent close alignment with your ABM stakeholders, we can be 100% sure that the quality of our efforts matches your expectations at all times.

We have a proven history of enhancing opportunity creation while minimizing inputs on the client-side. Our methodology and expertise in conducting ABM programs have enabled our clients to accelerate their growth and boost ROMI.

How do we make it possible? Well, there are a few things:

Autonomous services

We provide hyper-tailored end-to-end premium services to our clients. Our services require minimum effort and time from our clients’ side. Our services scope covers designing your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and buyer personas to measuring, monitoring, forecasting, and reporting the campaign results.

No commitment or large HR investment

To support your ABM strategy, you need capable resources to support each milestone. In many cases, it is difficult for companies to allocate resources just for ABM activities or find suitable candidates with ABM background / experience. With S2M services, you don’t have to worry about recruiting, onboarding, and training. We come equipped with experienced inside sales who will be dedicated to your ABM activities full-time.

Best-fit account identification and targeting

Based on your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), we identify, design, and target 100% of your best-fit accounts and the Key Decision Makers. With S2M services, you can expect 100% evangelization of your target accounts with personalized messages fitting different personas based on needs / challenges / interests.

Easy onboarding

We only require spending 0.5 days with your sales team to kick-off the program. This leaves minimum effort and time investment from our client’s side, providing flexibility and additional free time for our clients.

S2M services do not replace or disrupt your existing marketing ecosystem. Rather, we enhance and improve your current processes after spending 0.5 days with you and your team.

Experienced team and proven methodology

Without having to incur additional HR costs for hiring and training, our experienced inside sales will be dedicated to your campaign full-time, along with other valuable resources including Senior Manager, Data Analyst, IT Support, and our Top Management.

S2M has been supporting software / tech clients for over 10 years, largely contributing to accelerated growth and market evangelization of our clients. Over the years, we have developed a sustainable S2M methodology reflecting our expertise and experience. Our methodology is not limited by the type of solution or providers and is universally applied to any type business / markets / geographies.

Shorter sales cycle

We reach out to the Key Decision Makers at your best-fit accounts, pitch the right messages, engage to generate interest, qualify using the agreed qualification questions, and pass the information to your sales team consisting of market intelligence and qualification information – so that the meeting is ‘sales-ready’, allowing your sales team to solely focus on performing the meeting.

Higher win rates

S2M enhances and grows opportunity creation, as well as marketing qualified meetings to sales confirmed opportunities conversion rate. Over the years, S2M has proven its high benchmark, and we’re trusted by clients in generating concrete results at any given time.

Pilot testing

To facilitate our new clients in decision-making, we offer risk-free pilot programs with preferential pricing and conditions. Depending on your needs, you can explore different options of the pilot program (standard and compressed).

Get in Touch

Whether you’re considering a Lead Generation trial program or ready to run ABM at scale, discover how we can help you get to results faster.