I believe it was last fall when a colleague of mine told me that account-based marketing was “trendy” in the digital marketing world. And according to research by Sirius Decisions in 2016, she was right. They found that over 70% of B2B marketers are developing ABM-specific programs, with staff dedicated to account-based marketing. In 2015, only 20% of companies had AMB programs in place. And according to ITSMA, approximately 85% of marketers who measure ROI describe account-based marketing as delivering higher returns than any other marketing approach!
Working in customer success at the time, but also having a background in cell phone number list marketing, I was instantly intrigued. A consistent issue I've seen in different workplaces is the ability to properly align sales, success, and marketing. Could account-based marketing be the magic bullet? Marketing to specific high-value accounts looked promising, but challenging. How can we really do this effectively on a 40-50 hour work week? But before we think about that, we have to answer a crucial question: what is account-based marketing?
What is Account Based Marketing or ABM?
Account-based marketing is a strategic marketing strategy in which major business accounts are marketed directly, as units of one (versus the typical one-to-many approach). Essentially, high-value accounts or prospects are identified, key stakeholders of these companies are targeted, and then marketing strategies are implemented through various channels to appeal to their specific personas and needs. Account-based marketing is like one-to-one marketing on steroids.
"Account-based marketing focuses on a few large, important accounts or the potential accounts that offer the greatest promise of increasing your bottom line," says Elyse Flynn Meyer, President and Founder of Prism Global Marketing Solutions. "That's why it's so critical to send a highly targeted, high-target message to these people, because of their earning potential and impact on sales and marketing."
This is because there are usually multiple stakeholders involved in the sale. If your number of employees is less than 1000 and you're not in the B2B industry, this doesn't necessarily exclude you, but you should consider whether it makes sense for your business model and sales/marketing cycles. It may not be realistic to approach marketing on specific accounts if you are a small business with limited time and resources for marketing.