For B2B organisations, account-based marketing (ABM) is becoming an increasingly important focus.

Instead of broader marketing techniques such as online and offline advertising, PR and SEO, companies are now realising the potential of a laser-focused approach.

In line with this growing trend, here’s a basic run-down of ABM, as well as a few reasons why B2B marketers could benefit from using it in future.

What is ABM?

In a nutshell, account-based marketing is used to identify and target a key set of accounts, using personalised and highly tailored campaigns to generate leads.

It is based on the assumption that B2B buying decisions are usually made by a select group of people rather than a single person.

Targeting the core decision-makers (through IP addresses) should bring a greater chance of success.

Ultimately, it’s all about delivering a relevant message to the most relevant people within a company, and it utilises new technology in order to do so.

How does it work?

There are many software-as-a-service account-based marketing systems out there, as well as those that are able integrate with existing platforms. 

Most will be able to identify and manage data and offer the tools to deliver personalised campaigns.

For smaller companies, this is one of the biggest limitations, as it means investing in new technology as well as ensuring that employees have the relevant skills to use it.

What does it offer?

Social data insight

An important part of the accounts-based model, social data allows marketers to get under the skin of potential clients and find out what really matters to them.

With insight into company updates and general topics of conversation, marketers can greater personalise messages and tailor offers accordingly.

Direct conversation

As well as providing the platform for personalisation, ABM allows for much more frequent one-to-one communication.

Whether it’s an email or follow up phone call, its direct nature means that there is the opportunity for relationships to form rather than just a one-sided sales pitch.

Retargeting

The always-on approach of ABM means that marketers can target companies that have gotten lost along the way.

By retargeting at crucial moments – such as when an account is browsing a specific website or displaying buying signals – clients are much more likely to respond.

By using IP addresses instead of cookies, a specific account or group of accounts can be simultaneously targeted.

What are the biggest benefits for B2B marketers?

No more dead-ends

With ABM, marketers are free to prioritise the most important projects.

Instead of flogging a dead-horse, they will be able to determine ahead of time who is the worthiest target. This creates a more streamlined strategy and a great targeted approach.

Alignment of sales and marketing

One of the biggest benefits of ABM is its ability to break down the barriers between sales and marketing teams.

The process can only work if both teams work together (as well as get on board with each other’s way of thinking). 

Usually, it is the marketers' job to identify and satisfy customer requirements, and up to sales to persuade customers to close the deal.

However, with marketers getting closer to the point-of-purchase commitment, and sales reaching into earlier stages of the process, the traditional rules no longer apply.

Even without ABM, the changing customer journey means there is a growing need for integration between the two teams.

As highlighted in Econsultancy's new Convergence of Marketing and Sales report, with the customer's own online research driving much of the decision-making, there is no need to speak to different teams at different times.

Instead of a traditional funnel, a single evolving conversation with the vendor is much more typical of the path to purchase.

Increase in revenue

According the recent stats, 80% of marketers say AMB outperforms all other marketing channels in terms of ROI. 

What’s more, when ABM has been in use for at least a year, 60% of users reported a revenue increase of at least 10% & 19% reported a revenue impact of 30% or greater.

This certainly shows what a valuable tool it can be, and as the technology becomes even smarter, this only looks set to continue.

Continual optimisation

One of the best things about ABM is that it can potentially enable marketers to get instant results.

This means that as soon as the data is analysed, campaigns can be altered accordingly, and strategy can continously be tweaked and improved.

So…

With personalisation a growing focus for businesses of all kinds, it was only a matter of time before B2B companies realised its potential.

Of course, account-based marketing does not spell the end for inbound and outbound marketing, but with greater relevance to the individual client, there’s a reason it is the buzzword on every B2B marketer's lips.

Nikki Gilliland

Published 12 July, 2016 by Nikki Gilliland @ Econsultancy

Nikki is a Writer at Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

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