Shutterstock_130099715Having run a few different marketing organizations over last few years, I’ve become more intimately aware of how to drive leads into a CRM and how to continually email those leads using different types of lead nurturing programs. This works really well when the single person you’re nurturing is all three of the following: the decision maker, influencer, and the person who is going to use your product. As you can probably guess, this is most likely to happen with SMBs or small marketing teams, but as you move into bigger organizations, the likelihood of getting someone via email or phone dramatically decreases.

This is why there has been so much buzz about account-based marketing (ABM), which allows you to target your marketing (typically with online advertising) on the account level rather than at the individual level. This increases your reach and gives you greater exposure to other decision makers and influencers within an account — which is especially important at larger organizations where a single business decision can involve multiple key stakeholders.

Matt Sanatore, Research Director at SiriusDecisions, recently wrote a great article called “Are You Ready for Account-based Marketing?”. It highlighted the fact that over the past twelve months, ABM generated enough global search traffic to warrant its first appearance on Google Trends. Now that’s worth noting.

If that’s not convincing enough, here are five more reasons why one-lead, one-channel email nurturing isn’t enough on its own. What you need is ABM to supplement your email efforts and really reach those hard-to-target accounts.

#1. There are more stakeholders than ever

In recent years, the number of people involved in a large technology purchase has increased from five to seven, according to IDC Survey. That’s a lot of people that need to sign off on purchasing your product.

ABM allows you to reach all of these buyers on the channels that they use regularly with IP-based targeting, meaning you don’t have to have your buyers’ telephone numbers or email addresses to expose them to your marketing message. In larger organizations where this information can be hard to come by, especially for the multiple stakeholders you’re trying to get in front of, this targeting capability is critical.

#2: It’s all about the buyer

“People like to engage on their terms, using mobile, social, display, and video, and not on your terms, like calling and emails between 9AM and 5PM.” – Eric Spett, CEO of Terminus

Today’s B2B buyers want to engage with your marketing on their own terms, and they expect your marketing to cater to those expectations. The great thing about account-based marketing is that your message will be served up whenever your buyers are already engaging online, i.e. when they’re browsing the internet, checking their social channels, or watching a video — unlike a call from a sales rep that could come at any moment, whether your buyers are ready for it or not.

#3: Ultimately, it’s the account that closes

Consider the following quote from Kyle Porter, CEO of SalesLoft: “Sales close accounts, not leads.” This is an important distinction, and one that not all marketers take into account when they’re developing their marketing campaigns. By the end of the sales process, your sales reps have likely worked with several key players within an account, and the deal that they’ll receive credit for will have that company name associated with it — not the name of a single lead. ABM ensures that all of these stakeholders within an account are receiving regular touchpoints throughout the length of the sales process.

#4: More channels, more lead generation potential

According to David Raab, Principle at Raab Associates, “Integration of advertising with marketing technology potentially gives salespeople another route for generating their own prospects.”

Your salespeople aren’t likely to complain about that now, are they? ABM provides just one more outlet to reach your buyers, increasing the chances of making contact with those key stakeholders within an account. Plus, you can get incredibly targeted with your messaging, but I’m getting ahead of myself — we’ll get to that in the next point.

#5: ABM is hyper-targeted

Mathew Sweezey, Principal Evangelist at Salesforce, touts the hyper-targeted nature of account-based marketing. “Account-based marketing is a highly targeted and real-time marketing technique unlike anything we’ve ever used before,” Sweezey wrote in a recent article on ClickZ.

What do you think about using account-based marketing as a nurturing tactic? Feel free to start the conversation in the comments.

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