Chief Storyteller + CEO Mark Jones sees Account Based Marketing (ABM) back on the agenda, driven by an emotive sentiment shared by teams: How can we get on the same page?
Sales, marketing and executive teams have for years used ABM to bring them together around a common desire to improve customer engagements.
Specifically, ABM helps them develop strategies and tactical plans that deliberately cultivate key customer relationships. I define it as “personalised sales and marketing programs for a market of one.” You look at an existing customer and find ways to deepen the scope and value of that relationship. It’s an exercise of combining collaboration with customer empathy and business strategy.
As a point of comparison, above the line (ATL) marketing is typically focused on the opposite approach. We start by communicating to the masses, then bring them down through the marketing funnel to an ideal state of 1:1, personalised communication that leads to a sale or conversion.
So why is interest rising in ABM? Simply put, it works. A survey of B2B marketers in January 2020 by webinar platform On24 discovered 78 percent (or 8 in 10), rate ABM as more effective than traditional marketing.
Likewise, research by ITSMA reveals 87 percent of marketers who measure ROI rate ABM as outperforming every other marketing investment.
“Account-based marketing (ABM) refers to personalised sales and marketing programs for a market of one.” – Mark Jones
Let’s think about that statistic for a moment. Nearly 9 out of 10 B2B marketers surveyed believe ABM delivers better ROI than advertising, direct marketing, digital, SEO, content marketing and a myriad of other activities. That’s a pretty good reason to pay attention and sharpen your focus on ABM, I’d suggest.
From experience I’d add that our clients are using it for these strategic reasons and very practical reasons – namely it brings clarity, focus and accountability to sales account plans. If your account plan is strategically developed and backed by the team, it sparks an energy that flows right through to client engagements.
For these reasons, it’s easy to see why it doesn’t take marketers much convincing. The real issue is the c-suite and other departmental stakeholders. ABM, they ask? What distinguishes it from any other three-letter acronym bandied about?
Picking up on this sentiment, I delivered a virtual event recently during which I talked about why you and your colleagues across the business should care about ABM. It sparked a few questions and a request for more information, so here’s a handy guide you can take to your next meeting.
Top 10 reasons why ABM matters
- It works
87% of marketers say it delivers better ROI than all other marketing investments (ITSMA).
- Sales and marketing alignment
82% of B2B marketers report it improves sales and marketing team alignment (LinkedIn).
- Less customer churn, better retention
84% of marketers believe it helps retain and expand existing relationships (Adobe/Marketo – Alterra Group).
- Better customer engagement
75% of customers prefer personalised offers, making them more likely to engage with your content (Adobe/Marketo – Aberdeen Group).
- Improved brand, business reputation
74% of leaders employ ABM to change perceptions and strengthen reputation with targeted accounts (ITSMA and ABM Leadership Alliance).
- Bigger deal sizes
91% of ABM leaders say deal size is larger for ABM accounts, with 1 in 4 saying deals are more than 50% larger (Forrester/SiriusDecisions).
- Pipeline growth
45% of leaders with ABM experience report pipeline growth (ITSMA and ABM Leadership Alliance).
- Close more deals
86% of B2B companies report ABM improves win rates (TOPO).
- Budgets are growing
ABM accounts for 36% of digital marketing budgets, growing at 9% p.a. – a sign your competitors are likely using ABM (LinkedIn).
- C-level engagement
27% of ABM leaders report c-level engagement in ABM accounts rose more than 50% (Forrester/SiriusDecisions).