The rise of digital content over the past few years has resulted in two fundamental changes in the B2B buying process:

  1. Buyers are more empowered and well-informed than ever
  2. The number of stakeholders involved in a technology purchase has increased

This creates a unique challenge for B2B marketers that are trying to identify and reach out to relevant stakeholders within a company. Nowadays buyers can collect more information about products while remaining anonymous and the growing dynamics of a technology purchase result in marketer’s not having full visibility about buyer needs.

So traditional marketing and lead management processes have resulted in very poor conversions. That’s where Account-Based Marketing comes in.

What is Account-Based Marketing?

Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is a strategic approach in which organizations consider and communicate with a group of stakeholders rather than an individual. The approach of seeing the collective and grouping them into an account allows companies to realize greater revenue by fully understanding their needs, and sharing effective content that helps them move through the buyer’s journey.

Put in simpler terms, it takes into account the various stakeholders that are involved in the technology purchasing process. Rather than focusing on making investments anywhere and everywhere, Account-Based Marketing helps you focus your investments on those opportunities with a higher ROI. The core principles surrounding ABM also require marketing and sales to be aligned so that companies can build a relationship with specific targeted accounts.

How does it differ from Lead-Based Marketing?

Traditional Lead-Based Marketing is a reactive process whereas Account-Based Marketing is more proactive. With lead-based marketing you usually need a lead to initiate the engagement with you in some way i.e. show interest in a product, ask for information, or download content. You get their contact details and then follow up with more relevant information, content or even put up some ads on sites they often visit. The process works great but it can be a hit-or-miss, which is clearly reflected in the sales funnel where you see very low conversion rates.

Account-Based Marketing on the other hand, allows you to group all your leads based on the account or company that these leads represent. Imagine you have two or more leads for the same client, but they were collected from different sources and assigned to different sales executives. These leads could have originated from different parts of a client’s business, different geographical locations or most probably from the same business but different stakeholders. Typically, each sales executive assigned to these leads would pursue them individually. With Account-Based Marketing, all the leads linked to a client can be viewed at an aggregate level, which would help in formulating a strategic approach to tap on the combined potential that focuses efforts on these important deals.

Consequently, ABM helps draft a more strategic approach based on a variety of factors, which helps you to focus on more high-value leads.

What’s the Importance of Account-Based Marketing?

Traditional lead-based marketing efforts are broad in nature and can quickly overload B2B sales organizations with leads that have not been converted into customers. ABM allows you to improve efficiencies by focusing on a smaller number of accounts and focusing efforts on quality, rather than quantity of leads generated. You can also cut through the “noise” that’s prevalent in the digital space and deliver a personalized message to the right person at the right time.

Account-Based Marketing offers an easy way to understand your customers’ needs, get the full picture (by engaging with all relevant stakeholders) and target accounts at the right time.

But with ABM being at such an early stage in the adoption cycle, does it make sense for companies to make it a part of their B2B marketing strategy? And if so, what players are currently in the space and how do their offerings differ from each other?

Stay tuned for the details in my next post on Account-Based Marketing.