As B2B marketers, we are all seeking to connect with the people that will most benefit from our product or service; our ideal customers. Today, buyers are becoming more discerning. They are not interested in hearing from businesses that can’t offer them exactly what they want and need – and when they do engage with you, they expect it to be worth their time.

So how can you ensure that your marketing campaigns hit the mark? Account-based marketing (ABM), also known as key account marketing, is a strategy that enables you to successfully target the specific individuals and businesses that you really want to connect with; the ones you can help. It allows you to provide a more personalised and meaningful experience that will ultimately result in more sales.

In this post, we will look at this strategy in detail and consider the resulting benefits.

What is account-based marketing?

SearchCRM provides this definition: “Account-based marketing is a strategy that targets high-value accounts (accounts that can generate high revenue if a deal closes) rather than targeting leads. The goal of ABM is to improve efficiency and gain higher revenue from marketing efforts while using fewer resources.”

This is not the same as traditional outbound marketing – although you’re choosing who to target, you are doing so in a very measured and relevant way. On the other hand, it is clearly different from basing your marketing campaigns around buyer personas (an inbound marketing approach), whereby you target as many people that fall under a particular umbrella as possible – for example, according to industry or job title. In fact, it’s somewhere in between outbound and inbound.

With ABM, you home in on a handful of key prospects and create carefully personalized campaigns for each. The aim is to increase the number of sales per customer, rather than simply accumulating more and more customers. In this way, each customer becomes more valuable.

So how might you do this? Writing for Marketing Land, Rachel Balik says: “The first step to implementing an account-based marketing strategy is to build your target account list – the companies you want to be your customers […]. This list can be as small as 50 accounts.”

You might decide to work with a good B2B data provider to hone this list. For instance, you might want to focus on named accounts or a specific industry segment. A good provider can analyze your current database to help you pinpoint the kinds of accounts you should be targeting and suggest new areas to consider.

This approach can feel daunting at first. However, as Rachel Balik says: “The truth is, when it comes to customers in B2B, you actually can make a pretty accurate guess about what accounts will close.” And, of course, you have the advantage of knowing that your marketing messages will definitely reach their intended recipients.

The benefits of account-based marketing

As we have established, this strategy results in more targeted marketing, thereby improving the customer experience. Since you are more focused, you can create content that truly speaks to your audience – from blogs posts to emails, telemarketing to direct mail.

Additionally, this approach results in a higher return on investment (ROI). In fact, according to research carried out by ITSMA in 2014, ABM outperforms other marketing investments in over 80 per cent of cases. For one, you’re reaching out to the right people from the start, thereby preserving time and resources. And this then feeds into your sales revenue chain.

Writing for Terminus, Sangram Vajre says: “By the time sales is reaching out to target accounts, buyers have already been exposed to their company’s messaging. This speeds up the sales process by cutting down on unnecessary sales introductions and sets the stage for a more personalized buying experience, increasing the likelihood that a lead will turn into a closed deal.”

Of course, to truly reap the benefits of ABM, you need to measure your results. This will help you to mold your strategy into the best fit for your business. Analysis is made easier by the very fact that you’re dealing with set accounts. You can see exactly what’s working and what isn’t and then adjust your tactics accordingly.

Account-based marketing is a strategy that enables B2B marketers to connect with the people best-suited to benefit from their product or service. It creates a laser-focus that improves the prospect experience, thereby generating more leads and sales.