Although not a new concept, account-based marketing (ABM) has been trending in the B2B marketing community due to the wide swath of available tools from industry leaders such as Infer, Engagio and Marketo that allow an increasing number of companies to engage in ABM. In the age of algorithms, it appears the execution of ABM programs has become much more practical.

Not to mention, inbound marketing programs are experiencing diminishing returns. As a result, marketers are consistently looking for more profitable methods of adding to their revenue pipeline.

According to an ITSMA poll, 84 percent of marketers said ABM delivers a higher ROI than other marketing strategies. This is probably because, with ABM, the key metric is revenue. For far too long, B2B marketers focused on lead generation. On the other hand, ABM puts revenue first by focusing on matching the right prospects and customers.

 ABM has become standard practice

Critics have called ABM hype, but it really is a revenue generator. As a result, revenue is the main driver for high rates of ABM adoption. In fact, over 70 percent of B2B companies had a dedicated ABM staff in 2016.

How has ABM changed the marketing process? With ABM, you must look at your team through the eyes of what your target accounts want. The objective is to focus on specific accounts you want to target, aka hyper-targeting. You then increase the effectiveness of your marketing messages without adding to the number of resources needed to run more targeted campaigned.

ABM revolves around a more focused marketing strategy that results in an improved customer experience. When your customer is happy, so are you.

ABM brings together sales and marketing

With an ABM program, you get to establish a common definition between sales and marketing regarding which accounts to target. The synergy of having two departments focus on the same lists of accounts is quite powerful. It also puts to rest the days when sales people would target specified accounts by themselves without any assistance from marketing. Having everyone on the same page, targeting the same accounts, makes the marketing process much more efficient and effective.

It’s imperative to use only high-quality data

A recent ZoomInfo Benchmark report showed that around two-thirds of B2B organizations found data quality one of their biggest obstacles. In order to improve productivity, access to good data is critical. Almost every tool you use for ABM requires comprehensive and accurate information about your target accounts–otherwise, you could end up wasting a lot of valuable time.

The good news is many ABM vendors, such as Engagio, Infer and Marketo, are becoming much more responsive to market demands. You have options such as receiving real-time information and predictive analytics capabilities that successfully match new account contacts to the specific traits of your ideal target customer.

Enable a better customer experience

There isn’t any question that ABM is truly focused on the customer’s wants and needs. The necessity to remain relevant with your target audience is strengthened exponentially through utilizing ABM. Buyers do not want a generic sales call or marketing email. Instead, they want content which resonates with their needs and a hyper-personalized touch.

According to research from Ascend2, 305 marketers were polled and 51 percent say content personalization is one of the most effective ABM strategies. Next in the ranking is identifying high-value existing accounts.

Customers are overwhelmed with marketing messages and are well-equipped and experienced at executing their own brand research. With ABM, you can be more strategic in your account focus through grouping your target customers to receive more personalized content. Here are some common methods of segmentation:

  • Location
  • Industry
  • Company size
  • Job Title
  • Value to the organization

You can then enhance segmentation by digging a bit deeper. To illustrate, you might organize accounts by value to the organization then filter by job function. When it comes to personalizing content, it should be a diverse set. For example, send various types of content such as:

  • White papers
  • Blog posts
  • Case studies
  • Infographics
  • Video
  • eBooks

Frequency should depend on prospect actions, along with their segment, industry, company size and more. In addition, it is important to personalize your content based on your target customer’s behavior, engagement level and previous history.

You might use something along the lines of account-based behavior scoring, which automatically maps leads to accounts, from Infer. Of course, all of your content should solve problems and offer solutions for your targeted accounts. Consider this: you are selling to more than just the business at large, you are selling to people.

Artificial intelligence

Integration is leading the way for AI. For example, Engagio recently announced that its ABM solutions are now integrated with Eloqua, Marketo, Hubspot and Pardot. Jon Miller, founder of Engagio, was also the former CMO of Marketo. It makes sense to align several of the major marketing automation platforms available on the market today. The goal is to improve engagement and revenue.

One major benefit of ABM is it gives marketers the ability to work more closely with their target accounts. AI will then take personalized interactions up several notches. To illustrate, site visitors can get customized experiences through dynamic ad copy and 1-to-1 email content. Customers will feel as if they are the only person in the room. That presents a win/win scenario for everyone.

Final thought

ABM continues to prove a successful avenue for B2B organizations and shows no sign of slowing down. The ability to offer personalized and customized content helps your business stand out in a sea of marketing messages. Has your company tried ABM yet?

Measure and learn

Even with a strategic focus and good intentions, all marketing efforts will come with successes and failures. Nonetheless, it is imperative to get your teams together on a weekly basis to review your hits and misses.

At this stage, take a look at your ROI metrics including:

  • Conversion rates
  • Number of opportunities created
  • Engagement at the contact level
  • Number of qualified leads in the pipeline
  • Win/loss ratio

Measure your accounts by health over leads. Thousands of leads won’t do your company any good if they aren’t qualified or engaged. Use your takeaways to enhance and modify your future ABM campaigns.