Being able to reach the right person at the right company in a timely and effective way is seen as the secret to successful Account-Based Marketing (ABM). But there’s a lot of noise online and with recent events like the coronavirus pandemic, it’s hard to get people’s attention and much harder to get them to convert.
We created a four-part ABM guide to share some ideas and tips we have with you to help you get started. This guide will walk you through the benefits and best practices. We will outline some broad examples as well as ones that are specific to each funnel stage.
- Part 1: How to deliver personalized experiences for ABM success
- Part 2: Best practices for ABM success (read here)
- Part 3: Examples of personalized ABM experiences (read here)
- Part 4: Personalize ABM content for each stage of the funnel (read here)
Let's get started!
Account-Based Marketing Defined
Account-based marketing is an approach to B2B marketing in which growth teams focus on acquiring specific target accounts. ABM adoption has increased steadily in the past 10 years. A 2016 study showed that more than 70% of B2B companies had staff that are fully or partially dedicated to driving ABM-specific programs.
An ITSMA study that was published one year later showed that ABM spend was already 25% of the overall marketing budget for over half of the survey’s participants. Those that were already allocated a budget to ABM were also planning on increasing it by more than 10 percent annually.
Chances are if you're in B2B you are already engaging in ABM in one way or another. The attention given to ABM can also be confirmed via Google Trends, with a mostly upward trend since 2014 as you can see in the screenshot below. We would hate to give you FOMO (fear of missing out) but hey, looks like a lot of people are picking up on ABM strategies.
What are the benefits?
ABM can be very effective, with a high return on investment (ROI). 85% of marketers say ABM delivers higher returns than any other approach. Another benefit is that there are clear goals and metrics. ABM is easily measurable, as you’re tracking a smaller set of target accounts across channels.
Furthermore, it promotes clear collaboration between marketing and sales, generating 208% more revenue when these functions are in sync. As Marketo explains, ABM puts “marketing and sales teams in the same mindset so they are thinking both in terms of accounts and how to target them, bring them to the table, and close the deal.” Yet, it’s not without its challenges, especially in times of economic uncertainty.
The impact of COVID-19 on ABM
The pandemic has caused B2B buyers to be conservative with their spending. 72% of respondents in a recent Edelman study say “preserving cash” describes their customers’ mindset in some way. Still, many are looking to strengthen their position.
Current challenges to ABM include dispersed buyer sets, the need to provide ROI faster, and a lack of in-person engagement. Judging by the current situation, these challenges are likely to persist for a while.
At the same time, people are stressed and even busier than before, juggling multiple roles at home: parent, teacher, cook…This leads to higher bounce rates, declining email open rates, and increased churn. Experiences that garner their attention are more important than ever. Longer sales cycles and increased scrutiny means you’ll need more touchpoints as well.
This puts considerable pressure on marketing teams. As a result, CMOs are seeking efficiency and optimization. Many will actively increase their investment in marketing automation technologies to facilitate better-targeted digital relationship building and engagement. The pandemic has further accelerated the need to leverage multiple data sources to drive ABM success. For instance, by combining information from CRM systems with ad-hoc behavioral data.
Check out part two for ABM best practices to get started or to improve your existing set up!