Marketing Evolution: Account Based Marketing

Marketing Evolution: Account Based Marketing

Account Based Marketing (ABM) is becoming increasingly popular amongst B2B businesses, but how did we end up with ABM? Let’s take into consideration the general shift in marketing which happens every 5 years as shown below.

  • 2000: Email Marketing
  • 2005: Marketing Automation
  • 2010: Predictive Marketing
  • 2015: Account Based Marketing

Email Marketing

In the early 2000 this was the latest marketing tactic at the time which allowed mass marketing at a low cost.

Marketing Automation

Marketing Automation came onto the scene off the back of so much email and content marketing and there was a huge demand to go one step further and capture these leads. Marketing Automation was the answer and allowed marketers to capture prospects on more channels via form fills and nurture them with further touch points through the sales funnel with the emphasis being on turing MQLs into SQLs. HubSpot is a great example of a marketing automation tool that just continues to evolve and offer more to marketers.

Predictive Marketing

With all the content marketing and marketing automation there’s the issue of what is a ‘real lead’? Just because someone downloads your content how do you know they are a ‘real lead’? How do you know they are from your target audience? Enter Predictive Marketing which helped marketers identify the correct leads and accounts to go after.

Account Based Marketing

So let’s look at a few components in the build up to ABM. We now can:

  • Email our prospects
  • Capture and nurture leads
  • Target the right contacts and accounts

So what was the next question and need for marketers? “How do I do more with these accounts from a B2B perspective?”

Times have changed and more people are involved in the decision making process. So how do you engage with all these influencers in a format and style that is suited to them? This would be a mixture of direct mail, web, mobile, advertisement, content etc. all done on scale.

Enter Account Based Marketing. ABM allows you to engage with all influencers in the decision making process and aligns sales with marketing. How?

  1. You do your research first. Identify the key accounts you want to go after. These accounts should be suitable in terms of offering and size.
  2. Data is key. Dig deep and use various tools (data fox, datanyze, linkedin etc) to find your key accounts and the contacts that are key to the decision making process.
  3. Content is king. Start to create your content in various formats and tones to appeal to your targeted accounts and influencers.
  4. Positioning. Position yourself (sales), and brand as thought leaders, experts, the go to people for real insight, advice within that specific industry.
  5. Distribute. Get in front of them, use various channels both off and online to get your message across and create brand awareness.
  6. Consistency. Make sure your messaging and perception stays consistent across every channel, platform and touch point used.
  7. Keep things moving. Momentum is key and you want to use every opportunity to stay front of mind, keep the targeted touch points coming.

Through the roughly outlined steps above you will hopefully start to capture leads (form fill or direct approach etc.) This is where sales and marketing need to align to work together. Once a lead has been captured it’s down to sales to nurture that lead and down to marketing to help support sales. Marketing need to step in and engage with all the other influencers associated to the account through the various channels. This raises brand awareness, aids the sales without interrupting their sales process.

The two key things I like about ABM is the alignment between sales and marketing, but also the fact I see it as “zero waste” marketing as it is so targeted and focused. The diagram below is described as “flipping the funnel” and as you can see an ABM approach offers a more linear and targeted approach if implemented correctly compared to a traditional marketing approach. 

funnel flip.png

Final Word

ABM provides an excellent opportunity for your sales and marketing teams to focus on the same goals.

The synergy created can help boost sales and grow your company.


Originally posted on LinkedIn