Account based Marketing (ABM) is a B2B strategy which focuses sales and marketing effort on targeted accounts within a specific market. Instead of identifying and executing broad reaching campaigns across an industry (for example the “your employees can work anywhere with our amazing cloud solutions” email that EVERY IT Director received circa 2010) – marketers are now focusing on specific accounts and their unique issues, strengths and weaknesses where their solution can fit.
The trend kicked off around 2011ish where LinkedIn was becoming prominent and sales people were beginning to social sell. Basically stalking senior heads at organisations, googling their latest news and trying to make their recent affairs relevant to their product. This tactic was referred to as Basho and focused on personalisation and relevance in order to create engagement. At first, this tactic was highly successful for salespeople willing to take the time to do it (myself included). However as time went by, the emails became more frequent, less unique and more generic.
The reason messaging became more generic is because an account based focus is incredibly time consuming – imagine working on a prospect for 9 months to only find out that they were not the right person and the business had just signed a five year contract with a competitor. When it comes to new business, it is a risky strategy and arguably not worth your time when there are targets and short term pipelines to be cautious about.
Today however in the world of tech marketing, account based marketing has been simplified. Any company that uses marketing automation technology and CRM software can automate much of the tedious and time expensive work involved by mining potential customer data and personalising marketing messages to meet the needs of the account that is being targeted.
This approach is also shifting the way marketing and sales are now working together. Marketers are now beginning to think a little more like sales reps, focusing attention on the best way to bring a potential customer to the table and generate revenue.
One business who does ABM particularly well is Computacenter who are quick to create literature, branding and customer experiences on key prospects – particularly when they are part of a tender process. When pitching for the Post Office account (which they successfully won back in 2014) Computacenter stormed ahead with credibility by creating a virtual post office onsite in Hatfield and allowing the prospect to feel what being a Computacenter customer could be like.
Although many businesses won’t have the Computacenter budgets, it does show how successful going that extra mile could be. So how can your business get started:
- Build Your ABM Strategy – as with any strategy, you need to set and define goals and objectives before you begin!
- Identify Your Key Accounts – these don’t have to be prospects. There is a tonne of opportunity in expanding dormant accounts, plus you have a warmer relationship
- Align Your Team – ensure marketing/sales are on the same page with timelines, content and approach
- Prime Them on Social – engage and share content with key individuals in your key account
- Craft the Message and Identify the Channels – try to really understand what problems your solutions can solve within that account and keep it relevant when approaching them
You can then measure and monitor the success however as I have sufficiently rambled on enough today, I will save this for another post!