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The traditional B2B sales and marketing funnel is not as effective, leading to a revenue impact gap in marketing. B2B marketing, in its current form, utilizes a broad approach to lead generation to maximize lead capture. One challenge with this method is that the number of leads decreases as they move through the funnel, resulting in a large portion of B2B leads, as reported by Forrester Research, not converting into customers.

Now imagine a world where the sales process begins with selling directly to your most suitable and valuable accounts. No wasting time on marketing to leads who are not the right fit for your business. One can proceed to the stages of engaging and pleasing their target audience. This is what Account-based marketing is all about.

Account-based marketing involves identifying and targeting high-value B2B companies early in your sales process to ensure alignment between marketing teams and sales teams. Your team can quickly start engaging and delighting target accounts by diving into the critical processes.

This guide will explore the concept of ABM, its significance, advantages, and strategies.

What is account-based marketing?

Account-based marketing (ABM) is a strategic approach in business marketing that focuses resources on specific target accounts within a market. It utilizes personalized campaigns tailored to engage individual accounts, aligning the marketing message with the unique attributes and needs of each account.

ABM is a modern approach that focuses on targeting specific accounts and developing a personalized approach to generate sales leads, as opposed to the more traditional demand generation approach that uses broad methods like advertising and marketing automation. ABM involves integrating marketing strategies and personnel into the sales process. The collaboration between marketing and sales teams is necessary to identify key accounts, understand their needs and challenges, and strengthen relationships through personalized content and personal interaction.

What makes account-based marketing such a hot topic?

Interest in ABM strategies is increasing due to advancements in technologies for targeting key accounts and the growing availability of relevant data.

This is based on the recognition that B2B  purchase decisions are often made by a group of individuals within the company. ABM tools automate many of the data and workflow processes that enable these groups to be targeted.

Account-based marketing involves alignment between sales and marketing departments. By shifting the focus to customer accounts rather than individuals, the gap is bridged by directing attention to a targeted list of companies.

Marketing and sales strategy should be focused on specific targets, as broad email campaigns or marketing campaigns may not be effective for B2B with a smaller pool of potential buyers. When using ABM, resources are focused on engaging with important accounts and decision-makers. 

ABM helps improve the customer experience by targeting stakeholders at specific companies with relevant messages at the right time to guide them through the sales funnel. Account-based marketing is an important strategy for customer retention, cross-selling, and upselling. It is a completely different approach to traditional marketing.

Benefits of account-based marketing

Account-based marketing has numerous benefits. The benefits of implementing account-based marketing are described in the following section:

Ensures alignment between marketing and sales

Effective communication and collaboration between teams within an organization can contribute to its growth. In account-based marketing, ensuring transparency and alignment will help ensure that marketing and sales teams are working towards common goals, staying within the agreed-upon budget, and understanding the specific responsibilities of each internal stakeholder to secure high-value clients.

This alignment guarantees uniformity in all communications, interactions, and content across the accounts you oversee. This system allows for smooth transitions between team members, ensuring a consistent customer experience regardless of who is assisting them.

Ensures reliable customer experiences

Creating a long-term sense of delight among your accounts is essential for a successful ABM strategy. Each account should be treated as a unique market for your business. Achieve this by providing consistent customer experiences.

To ensure a reliable customer experience, it is essential for your sales and marketing team to be fully aligned and focused on delivering personalized messages and timely communication, campaigns, product information, and pricing details to your customers.

Easy ROI calculation

Account-based marketing is known for its precision and measurability, making it one of the most effective B2B marketing tactics regarding ROI. This helps confirm whether the accounts you invested in suit your business. After acquiring those accounts, you can engage with them consistently to maintain their loyalty while also identifying and pursuing similar accounts in the future. Companies can evaluate ABM's success by analyzing KPIs such as revenue growth and metrics, including deal size and customer retention.

Shorter sales cycle

ABM improves sales efficiency by streamlining the sales cycle. It also ensures that the accounts you target align well with your business needs by streamlining the prospecting and qualification process. The sales cycle is optimized through marketing and sales alignment and consistent and personalized customer experiences.

Major purchase decisions typically involve various stakeholders. In account-based marketing, the cycle length is reduced due to the simultaneous nurturing of all prospects. A report from Cyance showed that customers saw a 30% decrease in 'time to opportunity' after implementing ABM strategies. They decreased their "opportunity to close" time by one month, leading to a corresponding 8-10% revenue increase.

Better buying and customer experience

Account-based marketing primarily focuses on the customer. Buyers typically do not want to start their research process with a sales call or marketing email. They prefer to independently seek out solutions and only engage with vendors when the communication is pertinent and valuable. Account-based sales facilitate meeting buyers' needs throughout their entire customer journey.

Moreover, through personalized, thoughtful, and consistent customer experiences, accounts will likely develop loyalty to your business. In turn, loyal customers can be effective marketers, promoters, and advocates for your brand. In summary, utilizing your accounts can aid in the growth of your business by leveraging their networks for referrals, word-of-mouth marketing, testimonials, and other strategies.

Creating engaging experiences is an ongoing process that continues even after acquiring a new customer. The revenue flywheel encompasses awareness, pipeline creation, pipeline acceleration, customer retention, and expansion. Terminus aids in reaching prospects at different stages of the buying journey, providing value throughout.

In summary, ABM strategies can potentially enhance customer experiences across the entire sales process, from the initial stages to retention.

Account-based marketing strategy

A successful account-based marketing approach relies on having a solid strategy in place. Follow these steps for developing an effective account-based marketing strategy:

Ensure organizational ABM alignment

One crucial aspect of account-based marketing is ensuring alignment within the team.

This involves ensuring all internal stakeholders align with your account-based marketing strategy. This will help streamline your business operations for more consistent customer experiences. It will ensure that your strategy is optimized and efficient.

Your organization must be aligned on the following things:

  • Team members involved in executing the strategy

  • Sales goals and KPIs

  • ABM budget and resources

  • Personalized content strategy

In addition to marketing and sales, it's important to involve other internal stakeholders, like customer success representatives, who need to understand and align with your ABM strategy.

Identify and research your high-value target accounts

Once you've selected your team and aligned on the approach, it's time for your company to target high-value segments. High-value target accounts are those key accounts that have the potential to significantly impact your company's revenue.

These accounts are selected based on your ideal customer profile, which comprises those who are most likely to benefit from your products and services and also benefit your company. Simply put, you can serve these customers and who will benefit from your product.

Your research should provide an overview of their:

  • Pain points

  • Current solutions

  • Why the current solution isn't working

  • Factors such as business maturity, company size, and growth trajectory are important considerations

Create personalized content for these accounts

After identifying your target audience, it is important to engage with them effectively. The essence of ABM lies in crafting personalized content. This content can take the form of blog posts, emails, ads, white papers, and other formats. The primary objective is to tackle challenges that a particular company is encountering or a specific obstacle in its journey toward conversion.

Now that the content and ABM content marketing strategy have been created, it is time to distribute it effectively. Begin by developing tier and persona-specific campaigns, then adjust your approach for each marketing channel and tier. You're creating this content for a specific audience, right? Therefore, personalizing the outreach is logical. Personalization is a key component of ABM.

Attract these high-value target accounts

Next, it is important to attract the buying committee members and stakeholders of your target accounts. Depending on your business's longevity and past ABM experience, you may or may not already have established contacts for certain accounts. Personalizing content to specific accounts is essential for attracting high-quality accounts. This will increase brand visibility and improve relevance among audience members.

You can attract these high-quality accounts in the following few ways discussed below:

  • Interact with accounts on social media. Identify the platforms they use, join relevant groups, engage in conversations where they participate, and share your useful and pertinent content.

  • Create a podcast or video series and request a leader from the account to be a guest speaker.

  • Distribute industry-related content, such as blog articles or newsletters, on channels that are appropriate for each account. Utilize various channels such as your website, social media, and magazines to ensure your messaging reaches your target customers.

Develop strong connections with the purchasing team of the account

After attracting high-value accounts, it is important to develop strong rapport with their buying committees. It is important to note that the development of these bonds can often take months or even years. The primary objective is to ensure customer satisfaction and continuously strive to exceed their expectations.

Here are some strategies for building strong long-term relationships with an account's buying committee:

  • Generate and distribute custom content, such as case studies, demonstrating how expectations will be exceeded and challenges resolved.

  • Provide information about the importance of your business and the value of your product or service.

  • Organize events for account members, such as dinners, lunches, or social meetups, to foster familiarity with your brand and team.

It is important to ensure that both sales and marketing are actively engaging all key contacts involved in buying decisions as relationships are built. While sales usually spearheads this stage, marketing should be prepared to assist. 

Analyze your ABM results

Evaluating the effectiveness of your ABM campaigns differs from assessing a demand generation campaign. It is important to consider typical digital marketing metrics such as impressions, open rates, and conversions. It is recommended to connect your marketing metrics with sales metrics for a more comprehensive evaluation of your campaign's effectiveness.

Marketing and sales teams can utilize the following metrics to analyze an ABM strategy:

  • Customer acquisition cost

  • Customer lifetime value

  • Sales velocity (calculated by measuring the length of the sales cycle)

  • Influenced pipeline

  • Target account coverage

  • Account expansion

Refining your ABM strategy can help improve the ability of your marketing and sales teams to consistently attract and retain high-value customers.

[h2]Concluding remarks on the implementation of account-based marketing

In discussions about account-based marketing strategy, one point is frequently overlooked. While utilizing various tools and accessing abundant information, it is important to remember that interactions still involve dealing with individuals. Regardless of the audience, the fundamental concept remains the same - people engaging in transactions with other people. Account-based marketing is often most effective for enterprise clients, as it aims to establish personal relationships with key stakeholders and decision-makers.

When implementing your ABM strategy, it's important to keep in mind that individuals are the main focus, rather than companies or metrics. Consider targeting individuals who have a significant impact on the purchase decision of your product or service. By analyzing the connections and overall picture of each individual on your target account list, your efforts in building stronger relationships will be more genuine and successful.

When it comes to crafting tailored content, one area for personalization is product demos. By utilizing tools like Fable, your sales or marketing teams can create personalized demos during calls with potential customers, resulting in improved and expedited conversions. Create your kickass interactive demo today with the help of Fable.

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