According to Forrester Research, fewer than one percent of leads turn into revenue-generating customers. Yes, you read that right: fewer than one percent. With that kind of lackluster return, B2B marketers, in particular, are increasingly searching for new tactics that will help them reach the right prospects at the right time with the right messaging.
Enter account-based marketing (ABM), an old school set of fundamentals that—thanks to new technology and fresh resources—allows marketers to scale their digital strategy in unprecedented ways. And the data proves it works: 84% of B2B marketers say that ABM delivers a higher ROI than any other approach.
Sound too good to be true? It’s not. You can adopt an account-based strategy today and quickly become a more competitive and successful marketer. You simply need to understand these five fundamentals of account-based marketing.
Successful account-based marketing involves embracing an end-to-end view of the buyer’s journey across all channels. In this way, ABM treats all accounts as a market of one.
In short, ABM is a highly targeted approach to B2B marketing. Rather than emailing a single mass campaign or message to a group of prospects and waiting to see what sticks, you tailor a singular version of your marketing message to each individualized company.
Instead of looking at one persona across many companies (“We want to reach CMOs!”), account-based marketing examines and attempts to answer the needs of all the separate influencers at a single company (“What does the CMO at ACME think? What about ACME’s Director of IT? Or the Head of Sales?”).
ABM tactics focus on providing the sort of high-level customer value that can actually increase conversions. By taking the time to pitch relevant information to each of the individuals at a company who have decision-making power, you inevitably boost the chances that your message speaks to all of them and gets them all on board with your plan.
Say you’re working your way through your morning influx of emails (inbox zero is the dream after all, right?) and you see two different unsolicited pitches from other companies. According to the subject lines, one directly addresses a problem you’ve been dealing with in your role; the other is so unclear you’re not even sure what the sales rep is talking about. Which do you open? Do you follow up with either?
According to ITSMA, 75% of executives will read unsolicited marketing materials, provided the materials contain ideas that might be relevant to their business.
(As for the second style of pitch, I think we all know it goes straight into the trash.)
If your subject line doesn’t immediately address a decision maker’s needs, you’re wasting your time. That’s why successful account-based marketers personalize their messages to address the customer’s problem. It’s the difference between shifting your thinking from “How my widget drives business,” to “How I can solve Mr. Smith’s problem at ACME.”
Depending on the size of your marketing team and the tactics you use, you might have sub-teams comprised of content marketers, social media marketers, press reps, event planners, and more. In order for you to make use of the other ABM fundamentals on this list, each and every one of those team members needs to be zeroed in on the same unified message and goals.
Similarly, the buck doesn’t stop with your marketing team. For true account-based marketing success, marketing and sales have to work together from the beginning. Marketing must align with sales during account planning by mapping accounts to identify quality targets (not just lots of targets), and then by focusing on the leads that align with those prioritized accounts.
And perhaps most important of all, these two teams need to check in on progress daily. After talking to leads day in and day out, sales will have key insights about decision makers’ needs that marketing needs to know.
For example, let’s say marketing thought that ACME’s CMO had a problem with converting her company’s leads. They have created an entire personalized campaign about how to boost conversion rates. But after talking to her, sales knows that conversions are the least of ACME’s problems; they can’t identify quality leads to begin with! Knowing that piece of information is going to dramatically affect the marketing messages for ACME’s CMO going forward (or, at least, it should!).
Rather than garnering a collection of the most leads, account-based marketing is all about focusing on the right leads to see real ROI.
By utilizing this highly-targeted and individualized approach, ABM allows your teams to deepen their relationships and broaden their understanding of prospects’ needs. When you infuse those key insights into your marketing and sales goals, you’ll turn more than one percent of leads into revenue-generating customers (perhaps for the first time)!
For more insights into getting started with account-based marketing, download Account-Based Marketing Guide for Modern Marketers today.