In this article, we’ll explain what you should know about account based marketing and marketing automation. We’ll also explore how these two can combine to deliver powerful results and increased revenue to your organization.
Most sales and marketing reps, especially in the B2B industry, agree on one thing: business can be incredibly difficult. With only about 16% confessing that their current methods are extremely effective, it’s not hard to see why.
Only 24% of sales emails are ever opened. It takes an average of 18 calls to actually connect with one buyer and call-back rates are generally below 1%. Even worse, Salesforce reports that 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. The sad reality for most B2B marketers is they spend more than half of their time on prospecting leads that will never convert.
But as we have learned time and again, organizations that are able to master the right tools, coupled with flawless execution, can live above the norm. In this regard, account based marketing through marketing automation just might be the ultimate combination.
What is account based marketing?
Account based marketing(ABM) can best be described as a marketing approach that is tailored to a specific target. It consists of highly refined strategies and efforts that are geared towards converting an identified target. While this sounds like what you would usually do if you were trying to convert a specific buyer persona, there’s one important difference.
ABM leverages highly on personalized content to reach and convert your target. Every effort involved is focused towards creating content and adopting strategies that can get that specific account to convert. This is why Marketo describes ABM as “the ultimate personalization tool”. And this is also why it is incredibly effective.
It works on the principle that if you put enough time and effort into showing specific high-value leads why your product is their best bet, you stand to gain more in the long run if they convert. So, instead of fishing for minnows with a net, you’re fishing for giant tuna with a submarine.
As you would expect, ABM is big with B2B brands. It enables a better focus on high-value accounts that will provide better business over the long-term. Since the 80/20 rule holds that businesses will generally make 80% of their revenue from 20% of their clients, it makes sense to develop a strategy for pulling in more of the 20%.
While ABM has been around for a long time, it was not feasible for most brands. But with the benefits of marketing automation, even small to mid-range brands can enjoy the benefits of ABM.
What role does marketing automation play?
Marketing automation allows organizations to streamline, automate and measure every process involved in their marketing workflows. It enables even the smallest organizations achieve peak operational efficiency, while giving them the tools to maintain an extensive marketing network. All at a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing.
Traditionally, ABM meant having one of your marketing reps spend most of their time on working to convert a single high-value lead. They’ll fix meetings with the lead, call them up, pitch them and try to make them see the value you’re offering.
Although there is a high reward, it usually means that businesses will have to employ more reps if they want to reach more accounts. Besides, when you consider that the lead they finally manage to convert may get sacked or resign, it adds considerably to the risk involved.
But with marketing automation, brands can utilize the effectiveness of ABM and set it up in a streamlined, repeatable workflow. With one marketing automation platform (MAP) and integrated ABM tool, businesses can target and convert several high-value leads in the same organization without needing a large marketing team.
In fact, if you already use marketing automation software such as Hubspot, you don’t have to change much. On the same platform, you can manage both your ABM and marketing automation strategies.
Account based marketing + marketing automation = sales on steroids
Businesses that leverage on ABM through marketing automation stand to enjoy significant gains. They can enjoy better revenue and more quality lead conversion. The range of benefits available include the following:
- Lends precision to marketing: Much of marketing is based on the “spray and pray” tactic. You create a campaign and put it out there, hoping that prospects will bite and convert into leads. Even then, most of these will drop out at the qualification stage. But ABM provides much more precision to your efforts. Your team can identify and pitch to specific accounts that need exactly what you offer. And with the quality, personalized content you send their way, they’re more likely to convert.
- Provides significant ROI: ITSMA, one of the pioneers of modern ABM, reports that the strategy delivers the highest ROI of any B2B marketing tactic or strategy. Since it is very precise, personalized, and accurate, it allows less waste and more benefits. 84% of businesses confirm that it delivers a higher ROI than other marketing campaigns.
- Solidifies relationship with existing clients: Every business knows that it makes more sense to work on retaining clients. As research indicates, it costs 6-7 times more to attract a new customer instead of simply retaining one. ABM works perfectly to help nurture an existing relationship and take it to greater heights.
- Seamlessly aligns sales and marketing teams: Misalignment between sales and marketing often leads to choppy customer experience. With ABM, sales and marketing can collaborate as to which targets are worth chasing and then both can combine to reel them in while delivering a seamless experience.
How does it work?
ABM starts with getting sales and marketing teams to collaborate as a cohesive unit. With both working together to figure out the ultimate goal of the ABM campaign, your efforts can better target the most fitting accounts and the best strategy for engaging them.
As Hubspot emphasizes, the process involves defining your target accounts, researching about them, creating content, then engaging and measuring results.
Here’s what each stage involves:
- Define: At this stage, both sales and marketing collaborate to define the most fitting accounts for your campaign. It would be necessary to use existing customer data to define what company profile and industries fit the target accounts.
- Research: Working from your understanding of what companies have been successful with your product, you can then use a tool like Hubspot’s company records to find the right fit. Once you have identified a list of target accounts, Hubspot’s lead scoring tool can help you identify and prioritize those that will deliver the highest value.
- Create: ABM’s most potent weapon is its ability to personalize marketing to a specific account. And since 75% of customers prefer personalized offers, you know you’re playing to strength here. Your focus at this stage would be to craft quality content that clearly communicates the value you can provide. You can leverage on Hubspot Insights to find the target company’s pain points and plan your message thoroughly.
- Engage: This is where you put your plan into action. With Hubspot’s social monitoring tool, you can listen in on stakeholders within your target company to identify their favored social media channels and the best platforms on which to engage them. Smart content – such as smart CTAs, highly-targeted ads, and personalization tokens – will help you deliver content that speaks directly to the target, whether through your website, email, or other social media.
- Measure: The effectiveness of your ABM strategy depends on how well you can monitor and optimize it. Make sure you’re asking the right questions so you can accurately determine ROI and the effect of your campaign. Hubspot’s Sources Report can help you understand how your campaign is proceeding and what points need fine-tuning.
And that’s it. Although it may seem difficult at first glance, ABM begins to look very doable once you’ve broken it down into a set of specific steps. From the steps you have identified, you can begin to build workflows to manage and automate internal tasks such as assigning accounts, and specific engagement with the target accounts.
There’s no doubt that ABM can help you access maximum value and returns on your marketing efforts. With automation, your team can provide personalized, valuable outreach to your high-value targets in an effective, repeatable process.
Will ABM solve all your sales and marketing issues? Probably not. However, it’s a perfect strategy to help you consolidate your biggest and most profitable clients. This way, you ensure that your business has a solid base of revenue and with this settled, your other marketing efforts won’t feel so painful.
Knowing this, you can allocate your marketing resources more efficiently, for maximum overall value.