Account-Based Marketing: Is it Worth Implementing?
September 5, 2016
Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is a strategic method where marketers communicate with a defined set of accounts as markets of one. It’s sometimes called “key account marketing” and is often used by enterprise-level sales teams.
ABM can also cover support for the after-sales customer lifecycle to help improve the overall experience for the customer. ABM allows teams to effectively deliver strategy, planning, goal setting, insights, and sales alignment that are needed to achieve the team’s objectives when it comes to customer growth, loyalty, and retention.
“In its purest form, account-based marketing has been around forever. Account-based marketing is simply instead of fishing with nets, we’re fishing with spears. You identify exactly the prospects you want to do business with and then you market very precisely and narrowly to them directly.” Matt Heinz, President, Heinz Marketing
But, is account-based marketing worth the hassle of implementation? In this article, we’ve listed a few benefits to consider to help you make a more informed decision.
Benefits of Account-Based Marketing
ABM Provides Huge Windows of Opportunity for Your Sales Team
For instance, if a prospect fills out a form on your website, it acts as a trigger for your sales team to start targeting other contacts from that company. This instantaneous trigger ensures that all key stakeholders are always kept up-to-date.
ABM Can Increase Your Deal Size
ABM identifies the accounts that can generate the most revenue, which helps fuel the sales funnel with similar accounts. By reviewing the sales feedback, purchase history, and even buyer behavior, teams can better identify valuable types of accounts and focus resources on trying to close them.
ABM Can Increase Revenue
According to a survey from Alterra Group, 97 percent of marketers said that ABM resulted in a higher return on investment (ROI) compared to other marketing activities. Considering the fact that ABM targets accounts that are the most likely to generate revenue, increasing is suddenly quite doable with ABM.
ABM Maximizes Company Resources
ABM’s more targeted approach ensures that fewer resources are wasted. This is especially beneficial to teams with a limited budget like startups or small businesses.
ABM Makes the Sales Cycle More Efficient
Marketers are well aware of the many stages of the sales funnel. With a more targeted approach, your marketing and sales teams can drop unqualified leads right away to focus on the ones that are more likely to generate the most revenue. This cuts the length of the sales cycle, saving both time and resources.
ABM Ensures Alignment Between Sales and Marketing Teams
There is often a disconnect between marketing and sales departments. But ABM seeks to align them so they can work in tandem to deliver results. To make this happen, the sales team must provide marketing with useful feedback, and in return, the marketing team needs to provide relevant resources for qualifying prospects.
ABM Helps Retain Customers and Improve Client Relationships
The majority of marketing professionals agree that ABM provides huge benefits in terms of retaining and expanding their current client relationships. The fact that ABM is so focused on customer accounts means that marketing and sales activities are far more customer-driven.
Potential Challenges in Account-Based Marketing
Despite the obvious benefits, you should also know about the key issues and challenges facing companies using an ABM approach:
Issues with Ownership
For ABM to work, you need to assign a leader who will not just be in charge of connecting teams from sales and marketing, but also acts on the engagement opportunities with customers. Assigning accounts to salespeople is not enough. There has to be an appointed leader who’s in charge of rallying the troops.
Too Big Too Soon
Sure, ABM can be a key driver to success, but it doesn’t mean you should roll out ABM to hundreds of accounts all at the same time. This will not only end up overwhelming your teams, but the lack of control can also result in major errors and potential losses. It’s best to start small and build momentum over time.
Efforts Need to be Sustained
ABM is not a one-time, big-time deal. Like blogging, you need to commit to consistency. You can’t build relationships overnight; you need time and multiple touchpoints. Once you’ve established momentum, you need to devote resources to sustain it.
Like every other campaign, you need metrics to measure the success of your initiatives. For ABM to work, you need to monitor and compare your efforts to calculate its value to the organization. Essentially, you have to develop your own tracking system with your own metrics and goals to benchmark performance.
So, Is It Worth It?
Account-Based Marketing is definitely worth implementing in almost any circumstance. The proper alignment of sales and marketing teams alone is a good enough reason to try. However, you have to remember that ABM is not an overnight sensation, and a single massive rollout may not bring the best results.
The use of this strategy requires planning and alignment, as well as consistency and time. The key is to start small and monitor ABM success on your test accounts. Once you’ve determined its value, you can replicate it on a much larger scale.