ABM is a maturing discipline

January 23, 2020 Olivier Withouck

Account Based Marketing (ABM) is a maturing discipline. An important indicator for this statement is the increasingly growing share of total marketing spending that ABM programmes are consuming. Today, companies are spending almost one third of their marketing budget on ABM initiatives.

Account-Based Marketing can be defined as a strategic approach to designing and executing highly targeted, personalized marketing programmes and initiatives to drive business growth and impact with specific named accounts.

Sangram Vajre is a guru in this field. In a prior life he led the marketing team of Salesforce Pardot. He recently founded Terminus, a SaaS platform for account-based marketing. A few months ago he published the book "ABM is B2B" and these are my 5 key takeaways from his book.

1. SELECT THE RIGHT ACCOUNTS

"Some accounts deserve champagne, others sparkling water"

Not all accounts you are working on have the same value. Opting for the right accounts can make or break an ABM programme. It is therefore mandatory to create account selection criteria to stick to the rules.

2. START WITH A PILOT

Thomson Reuters for instance focused on just a few accounts and scaled afterwards. It’s impossible to include all your accounts in an account-centric programme. Instead, it’s critical to evaluate the most important techniques and tactics that would achieve scale. Sending out personalized messaging allowed the marketing team to identify what worked well and modify messages that weren’t that effective.

3. IT’S A TEAM EFFORT

ABM is based on a framework that provides an execution-focused method for driving revenue and enabling sales and marketing alignment.

The TEAM acronym stands for Target Engage Activate Measure:

  • Target: define your target market based on defining your ideal customer profile (geography, industry sector, company size, etc.).
  • Engage: ABM requires personalised engagement including messaging tailored to individual sales. These need to be specific to the buying persona.
  • Activate: activation is all about the right timing. Based on triggers (e.g. email open, clickthrough) it makes sense to reach out to the right people in the right accounts at the right time.
  • Measure: it’s important to measure what works and what doesn’t. What tactics/techniques take time and money? Based on this information, fine-tuning the process is what needs to happen next.

4. CREATE YOUR ICP

ICP stands for ideal customer profile. According to the 2019 TOPO account-based benchmark report, organisations with a strong ICP achieve 68% higher account win rates. It’s critical to give it enough attention in order to kick off your ABM initiatives.

5. "IF YOU’RE TALKING TO EVERYONE, YOU’RE TALKING TO NO ONE"

ABM makes sense for almost every company. More and more account-based marketing is becoming indiscernible for strategic B2B marketing.

It is key to step away from generic content since you will not be able to cut through the noise. Making sure your message is relevant to the customer/account is the first step towards ABM success.

About the Author

Olivier Withouck

Passionate about innovation and the opportunities of technology. Hands on and pragmatic lead generation professional with almost 20 years of experience in the technology industry.

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