August 13, 2015

What You Need to Know About Account-Based Marketing

3 min read

Written by: Matthew Buckley  |  Share:


You may have already noticed, but account-based marketing is quickly becoming a buzzword in the B2B marketing space. In fact, a recent SiriusDecisions survey showed that 92 percent of companies see value in ABM, but only 20 percent have had programs in place for more than 12 months. However, 60 percent are planning to invest in technology for ABM over the next year. That said, ABM is clearly perceived as valuable and is positioned to become a growing focus of B2B marketers.

In today's post we're going to look at exactly what ABM means, where it's been proven effective, and if it might make sense as a tactic for your company. Additionally, we'll discuss if you do move forward with ABM how attribution and reporting works.

What is account-based marketing?

At its core, ABM is a process of targeting a few key standout accounts with targeted initiatives that span marketing and sales departments. With new technologies becoming available that aid in more targeted tactics and greater alignment between marketing and sales teams, ABM is becoming increasingly more sophisticated and scalable. It can be a perfect fit within your pipeline marketing strategy.

Beyond initial acquisition, SiriusDecisions has noted that ABM can "also include support for the post-sale customer lifecycle using marketing’s toolkit to contribute to the overall customer experience." This addition is critical in the buyer-centric world we now live in, where customer success is more important than it has ever been.

When and how to use account-based marketing

Account-based marketing is most effective in the B2B mid-market and enterprise spaces where the buying decision is complex and involves multiple stakeholders or buyer personas—such as your champion, gatekeeper, and decision maker—that all play a role in completing the purchase. By catering to each of their needs using an inbound sales methodology, you can effectively win their trust and overcome their unique objections. I recommend checking out this article from TOPO that covers ABM tactics in depth. But here are two examples of ABM that can align with an existing inbound marketing program:

Targeted content offers

By personalizing content offers to your target account, you can ensure that you're creating the most relevant experience possible. TOPO gives a great example of this, looking at a social analytics company that created customized analytics reports based on the account they are selling into.

Website personalization

Many ABM specific platforms will allow you to use IP addresses to target accounts and create unique experiences based on visits to that company. This is a great tactic if you have an ABM program up and running. However, even if you only have a platform like HubSpot that allows you to personalize your contacts in your database, you can create very personalized messaging for those contacts in ABM campaigns already.

Account-based marketing attribution

SiruisDecisions has noted that, ABM "provides guidance on how to measure marketing’s impact beyond demand creation within defined groups of prospect and customer accounts." With additional alignment, these departments are able to achieve better attribution and understand which tactics are driving the best results.

In account-based marketing, attribution is given at the account level, not the individual level. For example, a champion or researcher comes to your website via organic search, reads a blog post, downloads a content offer but doesn't come back to the site. However, her boss—who she mentioned your company to—finds you via direct traffic and then speaks to sales. Traditionally, attribution would be given to the direct traffic channel but this undervalues the channel that created the opportunity initially. In an ABM attribution, marketers must look at the entire funnel engagement from that account, not just the contact who signed on the dotted line.

ABM at your business

In the world of mid-market and enterprise B2B marketing, we're confident we'll be seeing and reading more about the success of ABM over the coming year. I know this post has only scratched the surface, and there's a lot more to learn and test with ABM. Check out these great resources I'd highly recommend to learn more:

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Topics: Inbound Sales, Demand Generation

About The Author

Matthew Buckley is a former New Breeder.

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