Account-based marketing is a growing. According to Terminus, more than 60% of companies plan to launch ABM- based campaigns within the next year. ABM’s reliance and subsequent progress is warranted. A whopping 97% of marketers say ABM has a higher ROI than other marketing activities. Not to mention it offers a go-to-market approach with a powerful ability to promote to specific companies instead of wasting time and budget on unqualified or undesirable prospects. Worldwide, B2B marketers say ABM is “extremely” or “very” important to their overall marketing efforts.
In traditional B2B marketing, we use segmentation, buyer personas, and targeting to find prospects that might be interested in our business. It’s like putting out a specific variety of bird seed in your backyard because cardinals like that type of seed, and if you’re going to watch birds, they might as well be cardinals.
In this analogy, content and targeting are the seed, and your prospects are the cardinals.
With ABM, you’re not trying to attract just any cardinals in the vicinity that are fired up about your free buffet of seeds. Instead, you focus on specific birds that all hang out in the same stand of trees.
Let’s say, for example’s sake, your business wants to work with the video communications company Zoom. Using ABM, not only could you reach all the appropriate people within a specific division of Zoom you’re targeting, but you would also customize each person’s content experience. Everything is tailored. You’re engaging the bird with what it wants, and in B2B, the more specific and resonant you can make your marketing, the more successful it will be.
While ABM is growing and demonstrating its impact, many still perceive it to be at buzz word status. If you’re still learning what ABM is, I’d like to help. Here are four ABM truths that will help you understand how to sort through the hype and chatter and get to the core of ABM:
1.) ABM is more than a marketing function.
I recently had an opportunity to keynote at a virtual summit, ABM Revealed: How to Align, Engage and Measure for B2B Success, hosted by the ABM Leadership Alliance. If you didn’t attend, don’t worry. For the time being, every presentation is available on-demand here.
Several of the summit’s speakers mentioned they feel the term “account-based marketing” is misleading. Some referred to ABM as ABE (account-based engagement) while others referred to it as an “account-based strategy.”
This is because successful account-based anything requires a full coordinated effort across a business, not just marketing. According to a recent survey by TOPO, the best account-based performing businesses involve more business functions than marketing and sales. They are 3x more likely to involve customer service and 96% more likely to involve account management.
2.) Not every account is engaged 100% of the time.
At the core of ABM are the accounts, obviously. It’s the list of target customers you have assembled with your cross-functional team. But not every one of those accounts is offered bird seed every day. The most successful account-based organizations embrace account prioritization. Those that do this have a 13% higher account win rate than those that do not.
The number of accounts a business targets depends on how small or large that business is. For example, businesses with more than 5,000 accounts actively target 16% of them. On average, organizations of all sizes, chase 38% of their target list at any given time.
3.) You must know your target.
According to Forrester, 74% of business buyers conduct more than half of their research online before they raise their hand and let you know they exist. At the same time, people are essential for the close: Nearly 90% of B2B purchases are completed by a sales person. ABM allows your business the opportunity to be part of buyers’ research phase while heightening the opportunity to earn the sale.
But only if you know your target.
The most successful account-based businesses have a strong ideal customer profile (ICP) and use it as a massively important tool to make decisions critical to the success of ABM. Not surprising, more than 80% of top-performing companies are confident in their ICPs. Organizations with a strong ICP have a 68% higher account win rate than those that do not.
4.) Acquisition is the focus today. Retention opportunities are largely untapped.
No two ABM strategies are exactly same, but today’s businesses are mainly using their account-based approaches for new customer acquisition. Larger companies use their account-based resources to acquire and retain customers, but smaller and mid-size businesses are using less than one-fifth of their budgets on customer retention.
I recently created a course about the importance of customer retention. Acquiring new customers costs 5 – 25x as much as keeping the ones you already have. The course covers the myriad of ways businesses can develop or fine-tune their retention strategies through customer experience and personalization. ABM can be another layer of your retention strategy, and I anticipate that as businesses get the hang of ABM, they will set their sights in this direction.
Jay Baer is the founder of Convince & Convert, a Hall of Fame keynote speaker and emcee, host of the award-winning Social Pros podcast, and the author of six books including Talk Triggers: The Complete Guide to Creating Customers with Word of Mouth.
To read more Jay Baer blog, click here!