Account-based marketing gains traction, sales departments on board

By Laurie Fullerton | Freelance Writer

June 21, 2016 | 3 min read

While account-based marketing (ABM) remains a bit of an anomaly among B2B marketers, it is clearly gaining traction. With 96 per cent of those using it saying that it has been a key factor in their success, 71 per cent of B2B organizations are also interested in adopting ABM, already testing it or using it. 60 per cent of those who have employed ABM for at least one year attribute a revenue increase of 10 per cent or more to using it according to statistics from Demandbase.

There are five key benefits cited by account-based marketers as well and with 83 per cent saying that it helped increase target account engagement, an additional 70 per cent said better sales and marketing alignments were the key. With 67 per cent citing more qualified prospects as a key benefit, 59 per cent say a greater understanding of program performance has been a benefit. Moreover, 55 per cent say that account-based marketing offers more pipeline opportunities.

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The survey states that a strong technique for building an ABM strategy is to identify, market and measure. In other words, the first step in developing an ABM strategy is to build a target account list. The list should contain the companies with the most potential to a business including prospects, customers, partners or a mix of all three. There are several ways to approach this including using the list of accounts from the sales team. Further, by gathering key stakeholders from both marketing and sales and aligning that list or if no list exists, marketers can use data to generate a list of target accounts, and then have a discussion with a sales team to determine a set of target accounts. By leveraging predictive analytics to discern the attributes of best customers, and build a list of pre-qualified ranked accounts, the next step it to build marketing programs (both analog and digital) that focus on those accounts and then move them through the funnel.

The funnel or movement of these accounts can be achieved through an event, for example, selecting those that have the highest concentration of target accounts. Also, digital advertising is important — and a key strategy for moving ahead with ABM is choosing a platform that allows advertising exclusively to target accounts. Additionally, website personalization can serve engaging, targeted content by account segments allowing for conversion, or capturing valuable buying signals and serving them up to sales in an environment where they "live" such as CRM systems like Salesforce.

Finally, the survey suggests measuring funnel performance by accounts and not to rely on secondary metrics like unique visitors and click through rates. Measuring marketing performance with metrics that are directly tied to business impact are critical and can include opportunities, pipeline, close rates, annual contract value (ACV), funnel velocity, target account activity, lift retention and upsell.

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