Account-based marketing (ABM), when executed correctly, can leverage truly incredible results for your business. We believe this is because ABM is about engaging with your prospects at a personal level. It’s about really, truly getting to know them. About discovering their objectives and unveiling opportunities for alignment. And speaking of alignment, ABM is all about uniting your business as one, integrated, slick dream team working together for the greater good.
Why account-based marketing requires a whole new analogy for the sales process
Usually, sales teams use the funnel analogy to describe the sales process. Prospects are collected or find their way into the top of the funnel and gradually make their way down until they drop out of the bottom as revenue-generating clients.
We believe the best way to analogise the sales process created when you use an account-based marketing strategy is to turn that funnel into a football pitch. The account you want to win is, naturally, the ball. This means your sales and marketing team are the players. Thus, the aim is to get possession of the ball (create engagement) and then collectively work to move the ball down the pitch to convert the goal opportunity into a goal (convert to revenue).
ABM: Another beautiful game
The beautiful game is so named because success involves every team member working in harmony towards an ultimate moment of glory. This is what ABM looks like in reality. Teammates skillfully move the ball down the pitch, whilst fending off the competition. They communicate seamlessly and instinctively. ABM looks like team members creating solid opportunities and protecting their other teammates; it looks like everyone working together towards the same vision.
ABM is the ultimate team sport. A high-energy, intensely focused, highly skilled end-to-end sales and marketing strategy. It combines marketing, sales, customer experience and customer delivery professionals all working together. Every single player is accountable for the end result.
Are you onboard with the ABM = football analogy yet?
Just one more.
In football managers’ speak: at the end of the day, it’s all about timing and creating clear opportunities. Just as a bad ball is as useful as no ball, a dead-end lead is actually even worse because it costs your business time and money to pursue it. The skill in ABM is in highly focused, consolidated efforts on the opportunities that are most likely to be worth your precious time.
How does ABM work?
Account-based marketing used data-driven, highly targeted marketing strategies to achieve massive ROI.
There are three main types of account-based marketing strategies.
- One-to-one – the most intensely focused. This is where you isolate a small number of really high-ticket accounts and put your all into converting them with intense one-to-one efforts.
- One-to-few – narrowing your targets down to a single sector or niche. Isolating 10-30 high-value accounts and targeting them using the same strategy.
- One-to-many – this is a bit more like traditional marketing strategies, just with must more data-informed, personalised messaging. This approach is usually suited to lower-value accounts.
Once you’ve determined the appropriate method, it all starts with defining your goals. If you don’t know what you want to achieve, how do you start figuring out how to get there? Maybe you want to build market share, enter a new vertical, launch a new product or you just have your sights set on a few big names.
After this, your next step is to identify your ideal profiles based on your goal and compile a list of target accounts based on how closely they match your criteria. Once you’ve researched and collected deeper insight into these accounts, it’s time to reach out to them with personalised, relevant engagement opportunities.
From that point, you nurture and build your relationship through aligned sales and marketing activities until they convert. Then you evaluate where it all went right and use that insight to inform your future ABM campaigns and make them even more successful.
Meet your ‘smarketing team’
The crucial aspect of the table above is the alignment of sales and marketing teams. The key to ABM success is changing attitudes and aligning priorities. Marketing teams, we’re talking to you here: Sales priorities *are* your priorities.
The entire purpose of your existence, really, is to generate revenue and growth. Yes, sure, that is broken down into lots of compartments. You’re agents for creating business success. Which, ultimately, comes down to how much money the business makes. So your purpose is to generate revenue. Whatever the sales team need to make this happen should be your priority.
ABM campaigns should involve sales from the very beginning to identify the whos, whats, whys and whens. There needs to be transparency between all departments, shared data and reporting platforms. This means all metrics should be aligned between departments as well. You’re part of the same team, with the same vision now. ‘Smarketing’, right? We think it’s going to catch on.
There may be some initial reluctance from sales teams regarding working with fewer leads. So marketing, you might have some selling to do to the salespeople in terms of the benefits of an ABM approach. It makes sense to focus on building relationships with the most lucrative opportunities rather than playing a numbers game. And when the pay-off is a conversion rate to rival Lionel Messi’s they shouldn’t take much further persuading. So long as nobody starts running around the office with their shirt over their head when you land a big account.
Are you ready to power up your sales and marketing strategy with account-based marketing? Talk to us about our full-service ABM approach.