This ABM

Here is my definition of account based marketing.

ABM is a focused and targeted approach to B2B marketing where sales and marketing align and work together to identify, target and engage best fit accounts and turn them into customers. The concept of targeting and nurturing high- value accounts has been around for some time. What’s new is the ABM approach, methodology and technology that makes this strategy manageable and simple to implement. 

When it comes to B2B marketing, nothing can compare to the ROI you can expect from a marketing campaign informed by an ABM strategy, according to a recent ITSMA Survey. If you think that ABM was restricted to elite enterprise level businesses, you would be amongst many who do; but you would still be wrong.

ABM, thanks largely to marketing automation software and savvy marketing agencies, has now hit the mainstream, and providing you have the right agency behind you, anyone can take advantage of this very effective marketing technique. If you’re ready to start focusing both your marketing and sales efforts on a more targeted approach to finding, engaging and doing business, then you’re at the exciting start of the road to ABM success. 

Marketing evolution

ABM is becoming increasingly popular amongst B2B businesses, but how did we end up with ABM? Let's take into consideration the general shift in marketing which happens every

5 years:

2000: Email Marketing

2005: Marketing Automation

2010: Predictive Marketing

2015: Account Based Marketing 

Email marketing

In the early 2000s, this was the latest marketing tactic which allowed mass marketing at low cost.

Marketing automation

Marketing automation came onto the scene off the back of email marketing, thanks to the demand to capture leads. Marketing automation was the answer, allowing marketers to capture prospects on more channels via form fills and nurture them with further touchpoints through the sales funnel, with

the emphasis on turning MQLs into SQLs. HubSpot is a great example of a marketing automation tool that continues to evolve and offer more to marketers. 

Predictive marketing

After content marketing and marketing automation, market- ers were left wondering what was a real lead. Someone might download your content, but how do you know if they’re from your target audience? This is where predictive marketing helps by allowing marketers to identify the correct leads and accounts to go after. 

Account based marketing

Let's look at the components in the build-up to ABM. We can now:

• Email our prospects

• Capture and nurture leads

• Target the right contacts and accounts 

So, what was the next question and need for marketers?

“How do I do more with these accounts from a B2B perspective?”

Times have changed, and more people are involved in the decision-making process. How do you engage with influencers in a format and style suited to them? We can no longer stick to one channel of communication to attract today’s consumer, we must use a mixture.

Here’s where ABM comes into play. ABM allows you to engage with all influencers in the decision-making process, aligning sales with marketing. 

Where do I Start?

Having an actionable strategy is a big priority when starting ABM. You must be able to apply resources upfront in order to create a plan where both marketing and sales can collaborate, as they both have a big role to play.

ABM is really account centric marketing, which is all about identifying and targeting an organisation as a market of one, and subsequently making that the centre of everything you do. It’s not complex, but you do need a process, strategy and design thinking to do it well. 

There are three elements to a successful ABM rollout, which cover targeting, engagement and control. By defining these three components, we can start thinking logically about what’s needed to generate more effective B2B sales. 

Strategy

A true ABM approach is not off the shelf, and there is no cookie-cutter template available. Every ABM campaign should be tailored because each client, market and customer base are different.

One thing to keep consistent is the framework. In the book you will see the five key pillars of an ABM strategy. One of the biggest issues people have with an ABM approach is the investment of time upfront. If done correctly, you should spend two months or more planning and researching before any outreach. This can be hard - especially if we are used to a spray and pray approach within a short timeframe. But remember, to get quality leads we need to take a new approach which is at once focused and personalised. 

This is a snippet from my book, “Being Human: How to Sell in a Digital World”, which is available via Amazon. I hope you found this of use.

Still need some guidance? That’s what I’m here for. I’m always happy to have virtual coffees to offer my advice and support.

Sud Kumar

Marketing Director

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