The Value Behind Account-Based Marketing

By Madison Taylor
February 21, 2020
birds-eye-view of a large circle of dots few scattered dots around the outside

Rather than casting a wide net, showing thousands of leads the kind of work you do and hoping some of them will bite, you pick specific clients and go after them, tailoring your offerings and marketing materials for the seven or eight people that will ultimately make the buying decision. It’s not a net, it’s a spear.

Who Benefits From ABM?

ABM is designed purely for B2B businesses, for obvious reasons. B2C businesses simply have too many customers, and it would be not only time-consuming but logistically impossible for you to pick out individual consumers and target your messaging accordingly.

Instead, ABM is best suited to companies that service one of two types of business:

  1. Industries with only a few big players. If you make software that helps shipping companies manage the logistics of their vehicle fleets, there are only a few dozen companies that might want your product — and if you land a multi-year contract with UPS, FedEx, or Amazon, you might not need another account. Tailoring your marketing to each client is well worth your while when there aren’t many to go around.
  2. Very specific industry needs. Maybe you make medical equipment for orthodontists or vehicle lifts for mechanics. It’s relatively easy to narrow down the businesses that can benefit from what you’re offering and customize your materials for them.

From that description, you might realize that you’re already doing ABM. In that case, good for you! Lots of B2B businesses already know that their list of prospective clients is pretty narrow — they know which companies they’re trying to sell to even before they start marketing. But there’s always room for improvement.

There are a few different levels of ABM. At its most granular, it’s essentially a pitch for one single company or even a few specific people inside that company. At its broadest, it’s targeted toward a specific industry, but it’s still marketed directly at a list of companies that you come up with.

The Benefits of ABM

Of course, you wouldn’t be a savvy marketer if you didn’t want some proof that ABM works. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

1. Much Clearer ROI

One of the most important metrics for any marketer is ROI — if you’re not getting more money out of a marketing campaign than you’re putting in, then what’s the point? According to the 2014 ITSMA Account-Based Marketing Survey, ABM offers the highest ROI of any B2B marketing strategy or tactic.

Given the precision of ABM marketing, this shouldn’t be a surprise. B2C companies spend a good portion of their time trying to create materials that appeal to a wide base of people — but think about how much more specific they could be if they only had to appeal to one guy. That’s essentially what ABM offers.

2. Less Waste, Less Risk

In any normal marketing campaign, you’ll spend money putting your message in front of people who don’t want to hear it — or just don’t care. It’s inevitable that some portion of your campaign will go to waste.

With ABM — and more importantly, with a good ABM tech stack and automation — your account managers can target, market to, convert, and upsell a huge number of contacts. You don’t need to hire and fire account managers based on the success of a single account. Instead, you can just find the next contact on the list, tweak your materials accordingly, and proceed as planned.

3. Clients Prefer Personalized Offers

Customers like personalized marketing when it’s done right, which is part of why email marketing continues to be successful. Since ABM is geared at a specific target, you can tailor every aspect of your marketing with a specific company in mind. They’ll know that you did your homework and they’ll appreciate the one-on-one touch.

4. It’s Easier to Set and Measure Goals

When you’re trying to decide if a campaign has gone well, you compare your analytics with your goals. With ABM, you’re looking at a smaller number of targeted accounts, so it’s easier to gather data. Not only that, but your goals are much more clearly established upfront — usually, they’re something like “sign this client.” With clearly mapped objectives, it’s much easier to judge your success.

5. Sales and Marketing Can Align

We’ve written about sales and marketing alignment before — specifically, how important it is to make sure that both departments are on the same page when it comes to who you’re targeted and how to do it.

With ABM, your marketing and sales teams will have no choice but to work closely together to identify targets, map out their needs, decide on a strategy, and establish sales initiatives. You’ll decide at which point the sales team takes over, and you’ll know ahead of time what kinds of marketing collateral they’ve already seen. It’s a match made in heaven.

The Sniper’s Approach to Marketing

ABM isn’t for everyone — it’s not suited to B2C companies or even B2B companies that target hundreds of small accounts. But in the right circumstances, and when applied correctly, it can be an incredibly lucrative new approach to marketing. You’ll save money and time on overly broad campaigns, and your clients will appreciate the personalized attention. It’s a win-win.