The business-to-business buying process has changed with the digital explosion. And, today’s buyers are well informed, and the number of stakeholders involved in purchasing decisions has increased. So, who should you target to sell your products or services? Account-based marketing (ABM) aligns sales and marketing efforts to target key personnel in your key accounts. Sudhir Kumar, marketing director at Origin, shares the key steps to making this work in the electrical engineering sector, the benefits of ABM, and how it is different to traditional 'funnel' based marketing.
The majority of businesses still operate with marketing and sales teams working in silo, with no collaboration. ABM is focused on stepping away from this approach and aligning them to target key customers or businesses that you want to work with.
ABM vs traditional funnel-based marketing…
Traditional funnel-based marketing is broad in nature, a wider sales funnel, and more efforts are put on leads that are not ready to convert into sales, and it’s a numbers game and leads to a less than one percent conversion rate so you’ll need 1000 leads to convert just one lead. In addition, the marketing activity around it concentrates on what messages need to be communicated, rather than where they need to be said (e.g. whether it’s on social media or an industry magazine), and who to say it to (e.g. the key decision maker that will be purchasing your product or service).
ABM flips this approach on its head, and groups leads based on the account – so the business you’re trying to get in front of. The result? More focused leads which ultimately end up as converted sales.
The approach uses personalised messages sent to the right people, at the right time, on the channels they use, which means the activity is targeted.
The ABM process – step-by-step…
Your B2B marketing and sales teams identify a list of target accounts. To do this, you need to create “buyer personas” – which is a fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. This enables you to determine the industry and size of the companies that you achieve the most success with.
Using your collated list of accounts, expand on the company information with contact information based on personas. So, you’ll define the job description, role and responsibilities of the contact to create your buyer personas. Those contacts will then be the people you engage with directly during your ABM strategy. And, it’s worthwhile going a step further with ABM and identifying the “real” buyer persona rather than just mapping out the fictional one.
Through your research you’ll have a solid understanding of your accounts and the key decision makers within them. So, you’ll now be able to execute your marketing plan by posting relevant content on their preferred channels, so you’re within their communications ecosystem. You’ll be able to produce and push content such as whitepapers, e-books, webinars, events to nurture your targets through your ABM funnel. The idea of this activity is to take a “cold” contact and nurture them through your ABM funnel until they’re ready to engage with your brand.
It doesn’t stop when you’ve closed your accounts. The final stage focuses on making your customers advocates of your business. So, encourage your clients to share their experience with you, and share it across all your communications.
Benefits you can gain through ABM…
ABM deliver the highest return-on-investment (ROI) of any B2B marketing strategy or tactic, according to ITSMA. And, due to it being targeted, precise and accurate, it has zero waste.
75% of customers prefer personalised offers according to Aberdeen, and ABM focuses on this and allows you to create personalised messages and content to your buyer personas and gives your communications a human touch.
Convenience is key in our day-to-day lives, and when you’re engaging with your targeted accounts on the correct channels and giving them relevant and valuable content, you’ll achieve the highest value. So, it’s essential to use the channels that your targets use.
With ABM you remove unqualified leads which helps to shorten your sales cycle and allows you to focus your efforts on the accounts that are most likely to purchase from you.
You can identify which accounts generate the most revenue and use this as a profile to target other accounts and fill your ABM funnel. You’ll ideally want to look at purchase history, sales feedback, account profiles and buyer behaviour.
To take your marketing activity to the next level and ensure long-term commercial success, deploying a strong ABM strategy and reaching out to leads in a more account-focused and targeted fashion is a no brainer.