Account-based marketing (ABM) is a strategic approach to business marketing that focuses on building personalized relationships with a select group of high-value accounts.
Unlike traditional marketing methods that target broad audiences, ABM takes a more targeted approach, leveraging data and analytics to identify and engage with specific accounts that have a higher likelihood of becoming customers.
Key characteristics of ABM
- Targeting: ABM focuses on a narrow set of high-value accounts (HVAs), carefully selected based on their potential to generate revenue and align with the company's business goals.
- Personalization: ABM utilizes detailed customer data to create personalized marketing campaigns and interactions tailored to the unique needs and interests of each account.
- Sales and marketing alignment: ABM emphasizes a collaborative approach between sales and marketing teams, ensuring that both departments are aligned on messaging, targets, and strategies.
- Technology integration: ABM often leverages technology platforms to manage data, track progress, and automate tasks, streamlining the ABM process.
Benefits of ABM
- Higher conversion rates: By focusing on a smaller group of qualified accounts, ABM can achieve higher conversion rates, resulting in more sales opportunities and revenue.
- Deeper customer relationships: ABM fosters deeper relationships with key accounts, leading to increased loyalty, repeat business, and expansion opportunities.
- Improved ROI: ABM's targeted approach and personalized campaigns often result in better ROI compared to traditional marketing methods that cast a wider net.
- Reduced lead volume: ABM focuses on high-potential accounts, reducing the need to manage a large volume of low-quality leads.
Common ABM tactics
- Account segmentation: Grouping accounts based on shared characteristics, industry, or buying stage.
- Targeted content creation: Producing personalized content, such as white papers, case studies, and email campaigns, tailored to each account's needs.
- Nurturing journeys: Orchestrating targeted interactions and campaigns that guide each account through the buying process.
- Sales enablement: Equipping sales teams with relevant information and insights about target accounts to enhance their interactions.
- Data-driven decision-making: Monitoring campaign performance and using analytics to refine strategies and optimize targeting.
There are many ABM platforms available, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Here are a few of the most popular options:
- Salesforce Sales Cloud Einstein ABM: This platform is part of Salesforce's CRM suite and offers a wide range of features for ABM, including account segmentation, personalized content, and sales enablement.
- Adobe Target ABM: This platform is part of Adobe's marketing cloud suite and offers a focus on data-driven personalization and customer journeys.
- Oracle Responsys ABM: This platform is part of Oracle's marketing cloud suite and offers a comprehensive set of features for ABM, including account profiling, marketing automation, and sales engagement.
- Demandbase ABM: This standalone platform offers a focus on account-based targeting, nurturing, and orchestration.
- Crayon ABM: This standalone platform offers a focus on data-driven insights and cross-functional collaboration.
- HubSpot ABM: This standalone platform is part of HubSpot's CRM and marketing automation suite and offers a focus on easy-to-use features and integration with other HubSpot tools.
- Microsoft Dynamics 365 ABM: This platform is part of Microsoft's CRM suite and offers a focus on integration with other Microsoft products, such as Office 365.
- IBM ABM360: This standalone platform offers a focus on data-driven insights and predictive analytics.
- Seismic ABM: This standalone platform offers a focus on personalized video and content experiences.
The best ABM platform for your business will depend on your specific needs and budget.
Factors to consider when choosing an ABM platform
- Your budget: ABM platforms range in price from free to several thousand dollars per month.
- Your current CRM and marketing automation stack: If you already have a CRM and marketing automation system, you'll want to choose an ABM platform that integrates with those systems.
- Your team's skills and experience: ABM platforms can be complex to implement and manage. You'll need to have a team with the skills and experience to use the platform effectively.
- Your specific ABM goals: What do you want to achieve with ABM? Do you want to increase revenue from your top accounts, improve customer retention, or expand into new markets? Once you know your goals, you can choose an ABM platform that aligns with them.
ABM vs B2B marketing
Target audience: ABM focuses on a select group of high-value accounts (HVAs) that have a high probability of becoming customers. Traditional B2B marketing targets a wider audience of prospects, hoping to generate a large number of leads.
Marketing approach: ABM uses a personalized and targeted approach to marketing. This means that marketing campaigns are created specifically for each HVA, and marketing messages are tailored to the specific needs and interests of each account. Traditional B2B marketing uses a more broad and generic approach to marketing. This means that marketing campaigns are not always targeted to the specific needs of prospects, and marketing messages are not always tailored to the specific interests of prospects.
Measurement: ABM is typically measured by ROI and closed deals. This means that ABM programs are evaluated on their ability to generate revenue and close business. Traditional B2B marketing is typically measured by lead generation and brand awareness. This means that traditional B2B marketing programs are evaluated on their ability to generate leads and raise brand awareness.
Technology: ABM often uses ABM platforms to help manage the ABM process. ABM platforms can help with tasks such as target account selection, personalized content creation, and sales enablement. Traditional B2B marketing typically uses CRM and marketing automation systems to help manage the marketing process. CRM systems can help with tasks such as lead management and sales forecasting. Marketing automation systems can help with tasks such as email marketing and lead nurturing.
Sales and marketing alignment: ABM requires a tight alignment between sales and marketing teams. This means that both teams need to be working together to identify and target HVAs, create personalized marketing campaigns, and track the progress of ABM programs. Traditional B2B marketing does not always require the same level of alignment between sales and marketing teams.
In summary, ABM is a more targeted and personalized approach to B2B marketing than traditional B2B marketing. ABM is typically used to target high-value accounts (HVAs), and it uses a variety of technology tools to help with the ABM process. ABM is a newer marketing strategy, and it is becoming increasingly popular as businesses are realizing the benefits of a more targeted and personalized approach to B2B marketing.
1. Deal Velocity
Deal velocity measures the speed at which deals move from initial contact to closed won. A faster deal velocity indicates that your ABM program is effective in engaging and converting high-value accounts.
2. Account Engagement Score (AES)
The Account Engagement Score (AES) measures the level of engagement and interaction with your target accounts across all marketing and sales touchpoints. A higher AES indicates that your target accounts are more interested in your offerings.
3. Account Conversion Rate (ACR)
The Account Conversion Rate (ACR) tracks the percentage of target accounts that convert into paying customers. A higher ACR indicates that your ABM program is successful in closing deals with high-value accounts.
4. Marketing-Qualified Accounts (MQAs)
Marketing-Qualified Accounts (MQAs) are target accounts that have been identified by marketing as being a good fit for the company's products or services. Tracking the number of MQAs is a good way to measure the effectiveness of your ABM targeting and qualification efforts.
5. Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) measures the revenue that a customer is expected to generate over their lifetime. A higher CLV indicates that your ABM program is generating long-term value for your business.
6. Revenue-to-Marketing Spend (R/M)
Revenue-to-Marketing Spend (R/M) measures the amount of revenue generated per dollar spent on marketing. A higher R/M indicates that your ABM program is generating a good return on investment.
7. Pipeline Velocity
Pipeline Velocity measures the speed at which opportunities move through your sales pipeline. A faster pipeline velocity indicates that your ABM program is effective in qualifying and nurturing opportunities.
8. Marketing Influence
Marketing Influence measures the impact of marketing activities on sales pipeline creation. A higher marketing influence indicates that your ABM program is driving more pipeline creation.
9. Customer Retention Rate
Customer Retention Rate measures the percentage of customers that remain with your company over time. A higher customer retention rate indicates that your ABM program is building strong relationships with your customers.
10. Win Rate
Win Rate measures the percentage of deals that are closed won. A higher win rate indicates that your ABM program is effective in closing deals with high-value accounts.