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Account-Based Marketing in a Nutshell

January 16, 2020


Personalized marketing campaigns have been a hot topic for some time now and for good reason—getting personal with your leads will help you close more deals.

And since the stakes are high, it’s no wonder that 65% of B2B buyers reveal in the State of Marketing report that they would not collaborate with a vendor that is not providing personalized content through their marketing communications.

What Does This Mean for Content Marketing?

In the past few years, content marketing has been the norm in B2B marketing, providing free eBooks, white papers, and other value-packed resources to potential customers for lead generation. On paper, it looks great, but this practice is already overused, and decision-makers all over the world have their inboxes full of how-to guides that they will probably never read.

So, What’s the Right Approach?

In a world where the majority of your potential customers demand individualized content throughout the entire journey, you should work harder on audience segmentation first, following the account-based marketing model (ABM). The traditional B2B marketing approach is not meeting today’s standards anymore and you need a new strategy.

What Is ABM and Why Is It Different?

“ABM is a structured approach to developing and implementing highly customized marketing campaigns to markets of one.”

The traditional approach to lead generation was based solely on creating content that speaks to the widest audience possible, which only led to narrowing down the sales funnel towards the end of the customer journey. In fact, according to Forrester Research, only one percent of B2B leads become actual buyers. ABM promises to turn the funnel upside down, converting more leads into customers at the end. 

The first step of ABM is identifying the most revenue-promising accounts, instead of trying to reach out to large masses through social channels. The next thing you need to do is to reach the decision-makers from these accounts through their preferred channel, using highly-personalized content. If done right, these techniques will skyrocket your sales.

Another differentiator between the two strategies is that the content marketing model dictates that the marketing teams should concentrate on building the widest audience possible, while the sales department has to assess the quality of the leads. 

On the other hand, ABM aims to improve the sales and marketing collaboration while also satisfying the B2B buyers’ demand for content that fits their specific needs.

High-performing B2B marketing leaders are 2.1x more likely than underperformers to be aligned with sales on goals and metrics, according to the State of Marketing Report.

The Main Benefits of ABM 

The reasons behind all the buzz generated around ABM are not few. Here are the three most important advantages of using ABM:

Sorting the Leads Before Handing Them In to the Sales Team

ABM will enable your marketers to tell the difference between potential customers and poor leads. This will improve the collaboration between the two departments.

Streamlining Your Sales Process

After the leads with the greatest potential have been identified, your sales reps will have an easier job, communicating only with the decision-makers that are interested in your products or services.

Increasing Your ROI 

ABM is the most efficient B2B marketing tactic to increase your return on investment.

ABM is a marketing example of high operating leverage. You invest. You may spend some time underwater. And when it pays off, it pays off big.

The Drawbacks of ABM 

Even though account-based management has a lot of advantages, it has its limitations. Here are the major obstacles you might have to tackle when following an ABM strategy:

More Content Will Be Needed

Gone are the days when you could send the same text to your whole list of leads. Tailoring emails to specific accounts will automatically increase the need for more personalized content.  

Not Scalable 

It’s impossible to craft special-designed emails for hundreds or thousands of accounts. An attempt to leverage ABM in this context would translate into new hiring needs, more revenue spent, and a lot of time invested in this endeavor.

New Investments Are Necessary

Unfortunately, even today’s most popular marketing automation solutions don’t offer high visibility into ABM activities. If you want to measure your results, you need additional tools such as Engagio or Demandbase.

Although it might seem like ABM promises a lot more than other marketing strategies, it should not replace your current plan, but rather complete and improve it. Sure, content marketing on its own is not enough. However, if you combine it with ABM techniques, you’re on your way to success.