ABM strategy photo

As brands explore ways to enhance their marketing return on investment, especially with high-value accounts, account-based marketing (ABM) can be a strategic solution.

According to the Information Technology Services Marketing Association, some 78% of B2B marketers say that ABM is important or very important to their marketing strategy, and the value placed on it continues to grow.

So what is account-based marketing? How does it work? How can it benefit my brand? These are questions we routinely receive from clients. Let’s dive in and explore the details.

What is account-based marketing?

Account-based marketing helps B2B marketers identify and target the accounts they value most. It concentrates sales and marketing resources on a clearly defined set of target accounts and uses personalized campaigns to resonate with each of those. It is an effective marketing approach for high-value, high-consideration services and solutions — especially when they involve connecting with multiple stakeholders, influencers, and decision-makers within the targeted accounts.

Account-based marketing:

  • Is a strategy, not a technology.
  • Puts the customer needs first. It is not about you.
  • Is a targeted and highly personalized marketing and sales effort.
  • Requires collaboration between the sales and marketing team for success.
  • Does not replace traditional brand marketing. ABM complements and personalizes the message.

Are there different types of account-based marketing?

Yes there are. This is one of the misconceptions about ABM. It isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. There are three categories of ABM to address the needs of an organization and help scale ABM initiatives.

  • One to one: This approach is quite strategic and focuses on building a stronger relationship with the most valued customers and prospects of an account. It is achieved by demonstrating an in-depth understanding of their business needs. A dedicated marketer works directly with one or a few strategic accounts to create highly targeted and customized marketing programs that will change perceptions, build relationships, and identify opportunities. It requires a high marketing resource investment, but also can provide a high return on investment.

  • One-to-few: This approach focuses on clusters of accounts rather than an individual account in the one-to-one approach. These smaller groups of accounts typically have similar needs and challenges, allowing the marketer to create and execute lightly customized marketing programs to build relationships and identify opportunities.

  • One-to-many: This approach leverages technology allowing one marketer to work across hundreds of accounts instead of individual accounts, providing coverage far beyond the other ABM approaches. Marketers use detailed targeting, analytics, and personalization to target specific segments, such as horizontal or vertical markets or groups of named accounts. This ABM approach is designed to generate leads and requires less intensive marketing resources. However, due to its more blanketed approach, the return on investment is lower than the other approaches.

What are the benefits of account-based marketing?

The benefits of account-based marketing can be broken down into five points:

  1. It is more efficient, targeted, and personal.
  2. It improves the buyer experience as content is customized to their challenges and needs.
  3. It can measure the success of marketing tactics in almost real-time.
  4. It enhances collaboration between the sales and marketing team.
  5. It focuses on upselling/cross-selling opportunities with existing customers.

What are account-based marketing best practices?

First and foremost, don’t rush into account-based marketing. Take time to determine how ABM can help achieve your sales and marketing goals.

Other keys to success:

  • Determine the approach. Evaluate which ABM approach is the right fit for your business and resource availability.
  • Select an ABM platform. Identify, research and demo various ABM platforms to determine which is the right solution.
  • Align with the sales team. The sales team should be an integral partner in ABM, not just a bystander. Marketing and sales both need to be involved in developing the account goals and strategies, as well as determining how to measure and track success within the ABM platform.
  • Create a scalable strategy. A repeatable ABM process will help you make the most of available resources.
  • Know what content to share. Delivering a good content experience will keep your target audience engaged throughout the buying journey.
  • Choose target accounts. ABM will only work if focused on the right opportunities. Therefore, it’s important to develop a manageable process that will identify the right accounts.
  • Deliver a personalized experience. Personalization is key and marketers need to find a way to connect with consumers by offering compelling and relevant information.
  • Create a robust website experience. Websites are key to engagement, so personalization is also key. Examine how your customers visit the website and what content they engage with.

Final thoughts

There are many considerations when it comes to account-based marketing and many brands are still on the fence about integrating ABM into their marketing strategy. This may be because brands don’t know where to start, are unsure if ABM will work for their business, or concerned about how to resource an ABM initiative.

Two Rivers Marketing has an ABM team that can help brands evaluate if account-based marketing is the right choice for your business. We will help guide you through the decision-making process — and if it is the right approach, we can help you implement an account-based marketing strategy.

Just reach out to start a conversation.