Account-Based Marketing: An Important B2B Marketing Strategy

Account-based marketing is growing in popularity in the B2B space for good reason. It’s very effective as it relies on communication targeting carefully and narrowly defined audiences rather than a scatter shot approach.

ABM encompasses long-term activities and has a strong focus on customizing content for the audience – not just for selected accounts, but also for selected people within a given company. As a result, it increases the pipeline speed and helps expand the checking accounts business.

What is Account Based Marketing?

AMB ensures complete synchronization of marketing and sales activities right from the start. The collaboration between these two departments begins at the stage of creating and prioritizing a list of target accounts or customers with whom the company wants to grow its business. The process is called Prequalification of leads.

In traditional digital marketing, qualification usually takes place after a lead has been generated. With the ABM approach, however, marketers select interesting leads before they even get their contact information. ABM is like hunting with a spear instead of a net:

A diagram shows that lead prequalification is the basic principle of account-based marketing

Account-based marketing can be done in the form of a one-time activity, e.g. B. Account-driven activation (think of a grand gesture as a marketing act), or it can serve as a long-term account-driven business strategy. The latter approach takes longer to develop, but produces more consistent results and affects the overall speed of the business. (This GENESYS case study is a good example.)

Two types of account-based marketing: account-driven activation and account-driven business

Core objectives of the ABM strategy:

  • Demand Generation: Stimulating business demand, influencing potential accounts, and creating better qualified opportunities for the future
  • Pipeline Speed: Shortening the customer journey through the funnel by driving the purchase decision with more compelling, targeted marketing messages
  • Account Expansion: Increase the income from an account and limit churn

Account-based marketing challenges and analysis

When using an ABM strategy, companies should understand that the success factor is demand generation – the impact over time – rather than the one-time lead generation activity.

Lead generation often means getting consent to send marketing and sales communications, even if those who do give their consent are often unwilling to contact due to their positions or would even consider a sales meeting (think of the C-level Management in the largest companies)).

This approach triggers radical changes in the way the results of campaigns implemented in the ABM framework are measured.

Rather than counting “leads,” marketers should measure the number of times individual people representing handpicked accounts have had contact with their company’s brand and communications materials.

The main challenge of ABM performance analysis is assessing the effectiveness of marketing communications and validating the individual tactics used. It is difficult to identify “last clicks,” a technique used in e-commerce or SaaS. Individual event registrations or e-book downloads may also not be as important in a success attribution model. B2Bs – especially the corporate segment – tend to have different dynamics and structures in the purchasing process:

The challenges of account-based marketing include many touches, many channels, many people, system constraints, and attribution models

ABM performance analysis should focus on the involvement of the account (and its employees) in the communications you conduct. Differentiate between so-called passive engagement (the account has seen our ad!) And active engagement (the account has clicked, downloaded and participated).

Active engagement over time can qualify the customer as an opportunity that sales can then validate – a key change as sales in ABM validate opportunities rather than inbound leads.

As activities unfold, the data collected over a period of time should allow marketers to confirm whether their strategy is increasing revenue from a single account and reducing the time it takes to make a profit. This requires close engagement with the sales team and tracking of CRM metrics (date advance added to CRM, date of opportunity, previous and expected opportunity value, etc.).

Types of Account-Based Marketing Strategies

Depending on the degree of personalization of the communication activities that you want to carry out, three types of ABM strategies can be distinguished:

  • One-to-one with full content personalization
  • One too few with strong but more limited personalization
  • One-to-many with produced content suitable for multiple accounts

The more personal the communication, the more effective it becomes.

Spectrum of content personalization in account-based marketing

In practice, ABM marketers take on the role of the salesperson and even the pre-sales advisor. The one-to-one process may seem expensive, as analyzing customer behavior requires content personalization and extensive research.

One-to-few and one-to-many are less extreme and also cheaper.

Account segmentation and personalization of content in account-based marketing

Bonus: Account-based marketing analysis on LinkedIn

When ABM comes down to defining lists of selected accounts and targeting those audiences, a marketer should be able to verify that the target account has been affected.

In Paid Campaigns on LinkedIn, you can see the top accounts your ad has appeared on.

When viewing campaign reports, select Demographics as the presentation criterion.

Then view the analysis by company. You can view the top 25 accounts for the past month.

Top 25 accounts that have seen an ad in the LinkedIn Campaign Manager

If you want to see more than 25 accounts, you can do individual analytics for different ads and ad sets, or run independent campaigns per geographic location. This gives you access to multiple views of 25 accounts.

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While account-based marketing can seem complicated and time-consuming at first, it is a force to be reckoned with. ABM is a great way for B2B marketers to trade one network for a spear and get the best accounts instead of multiple low quality leads.

More resources on account-based marketing

Plan Your Account-Based Marketing Efforts: A MarketingProfs Training Course

Orchestrating and Communicating Your Account-Based Marketing Campaigns: A MarketingProfs Training Course

The biggest challenges in running account-based marketing programs

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