The marketing world contains no shortage of buzzwords, and account-based marketing (ABM) is one of the latest.
From the outset, ABM sounds sleek and streamlined — a method that allows you to put in the same amount of effort and generate a higher return on investment (ROI). But does this mean you should abandon your inbound marketing strategy and fully embrace the ABM buzz?
Not necessarily. Here are a few things to consider to help you decide if ABM is the right marketing strategy for your company.
How Does ABM Work?
In execution, ABM is the opposite of the inbound marketing tactics that have been traditionally employed as a way to find, nurture, and convert leads.
With inbound marketing, companies aim to pull as many visitors as possible to their page, and then convert them with gated content or forms. For instance, you may require a visitor to enter their email address as a way to download your brand’s latest e-book. This action then allows inbound marketers to nurture that new lead through the buying process and towards a final sale.
Rather than attracting the masses by broadly appealing to everyone working in a particular industry, ABM focuses on a targeted customer base from the very start. That can be a company, an individual or a particular team of people, such as senior supply chain managers within manufacturing companies.
After you have identified the target — your “account,” in other words — you build a highly personalized campaign that will appeal directly to that customer. By zoning in on this very specific customer base, ABM leads are often higher quality and more likely to convert. Once you have their attention, ABM expands and maintains that customer relationship and presents them with new sales opportunities.
When Could ABM Work for You?
ABM may be the ideal approach for your business, or an effective supplement to your current inbound marketing strategy. Before you dive in, it’s critical that you understand its requirements and limitations.
ABM might be a good fit at your company if:
You Have the Right Data
Most marketing teams already have a set of basic customer personas that shape their marketing strategy. Given the personalized marketing efforts that define ABM, you’ll likely need to take your personas to the next level, and that means gathering more insightful data. For ABM to work, your customer profiles must be highly detailed.
You also need to gather firmographic data about an organization or company in your target market; including information about number of employees, management structure, revenue, industry, and more. This data will help you determine which cluster of employee roles is the best group for you to target through ABM.
You Can Cover the Costs
With greater specificity comes added cost. ABM is generally more expensive than traditional inbound marketing. It takes substantially more research and financial resources to create the highly targeted customer personas required for ABM to be a success.
Not only that, but once you have a target market pinpointed, there are costs associated with creating customized content for the small group. ABM can work if budget isn’t a concern — but if your marketing department is already strapped for cash, give this strategy a pass for now.
The Investment Makes Sense
Even if budget isn’t an issue, your company will want to consider whether the ROI of ABM makes sense. Simply put: is the potential revenue to be gained from ABM equal to or higher than the money, time, and resources you will need to dedicate to creating an ABM strategy?
ROI will typically be higher if your marketing team is orchestrating high-value enterprise deals that involve decision-making from many people within a company. The account-based approach can help your team consider each of these stakeholders, and develop a deep understanding of their needs and the sales messages that will appeal to them. It may not make sense if your clientele is smaller businesses, with smaller potential accounts.
Your Marketing and Sales Teams Are Aligned
Finally, an ABM strategy might be right for your company if you have strong alignment between your marketing and sales teams. While the marketing team will be responsible for strategically targeting and engaging initial accounts by creating highly customized content, it is ultimately up to the sales team to convert that engagement.
To take full advantage of ABM with your sales and marketing teams on the same page, consider investing in marketing automation software that can organize your leads and automate your marketing efforts.
ABM has a lot of potential, but if it’s not the right fit for your team, you may be diving into an unsustainable marketing strategy. Hiring a partner that can help implement the supporting technology and create the specialized content needed for an ABM strategy is an excellent first step.
Contact RelationEdge today to speak to our experts about the technology and content creation services we provide to support a successful ABM strategy.