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Amit Thapliyal Author's Perspective
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5 Minute read

Account Based Marketing: Building a Case for Marketing Success

Amb Blog

“Don’t count the people you reach...Reach the people who count" -David Ogilvy

Customers are a complex bunch and B2B customers even more so.

With proliferation of buying channels, products, and availability of vendors in the market - buying decisions for consumers are becoming more complex. To add to that, the changing landscapes of orgaization structures and roles of internal stakeholders in the buying process have you the perfect script for your sales & marketing teams’ nightmare.

According to Gartner, on an average, over 6.8 stakeholders are now involved in a B2B purchase cycle.

With traditional marketing programs structured in a linear fashion and campaigns limited by budgets & resources, often aim at 2-3 levels across the target segment hierarchy. In a sales guy’s pipeline, each of us is a lead, and we all are not the same. So, how can all leads be treated the same?

The gap here is that in most sales funnels, when leads progress in what we assume is a linear path, they either convert into a purchase or drop out of the funnel. A lead converting into a purchase via a defined path in a short time, directly, is usually a “user’”, a scenario better attributed to B2C/I purchasing cycles.

However, is the purchase journey linear?

In B2B purchase cycles, leads represent ‘Organizations’, which are Accounts, and within each account there are multiple decision-makers. Most organizations’ sales processes define their pipeline/funnels, and these funnels are not attuned to marketing to various decision-makers, influencers & stakeholders, who play a role in the purchase cycle.

No wonder, 86% of marketing and sales professionals from B2B companies have begun using targeted account strategies. (Source: LeanData)

Even though ABM has been a familiar concept, decision-makers are yet to decode how exactly it can influence their GTMs. While B2B marketers have been identifying customer segments, targeting and posting a focused market messaging for long. MarTech has evolved- which brings opportunities for them to leverage ABM at scale.

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Why ABM:

The success of marketing teams is measured not on number of campaigns run or engagements created - but on marketing ROI & bottom-line contribution.

#1 B2B Marketers’ Challenge is— generating high-quality leads (Forrester)

Demand generation was and  still continues to be one of the measures of performance. B2B marketers continue to introduce the prospects into the funnel by creating more opportunities of engaging the target account hierarchy, while nurturing, educating, and incorporating trust in their buyers’ mind.

Demand generation was and  still continues to be one of the measures of performance. B2B marketers continue to introduce the prospects into the funnel by creating more opportunities of engaging the target account hierarchy, while nurturing, educating, and incorporating trust in their buyers’ mind.

Gartner’s Adam Sarner defines ABM as "an approach to traditional B2B lead management and B2B relationship management that uses predictive lead scoring, personalized content, and programmatic advertising techniques to target and engage identified accounts and individuals across all stages of the buying process.”

Think of it as an inverted marketing funnel - you feed a highly targeted set of qualified prospects at the top of the funnel- nurture them through the sales process with personalized content - create multiple high-touch engagement touchpoint, address need- specific use cases, pre-empt buyer side objections.

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Building and Implementing a Revenue Engine Model!

Nearly 85% of marketers that measure ROI say that ABM initiatives outperform other marketing investments — and 50% of those say the difference is significant.(source: ITSMA)

Here are the top three reasons to adopt an ABM strategy:

1. Ensures Optimum Use of Marketing Resources, for Faster ROI 

All marketing efforts should be measurable. Yet, marketing teams are more often than not, busy planning campaigns without a defined ROI strategy. ABM allows you to “do more with less”. Your target accounts are clearly identified, your spends are concentrated on the profitable segments, your campaigns orchestrate messaging across specific use cases and your leads are properly attributed & scored for engagement.

Another bonus - ABM utilizes your CRM and Marketing automation tools to their true potential, and helps in programmatic improvements in your customer engagement, content and sales-marketing processes.

2. Brings Together your Sales & Marketing Teams 

An age old perspective, the entire organization works together for the success of the sales team. Marketing and sales are joined at the hips, yet are a world apart- often working in silos. ABM mandates collaboration between the two, establishing common goals, creating effective communication, jointly developed market messaging, and sync mechanisms between the two.

A DemandBase survey reports that over 34% ABM practitioners claim a tightly coupled duo, while the rest report making progress towards it.

3. Better Relationships through Contextual, Personalized Communications

Prospects are bombarded with marketing messages, many times a day, many times over- by many vendors exactly like you. Today, relevancy is the new currency. To get their attention, you need to tell them ‘why you’ & ‘why right now’. ABM enables:

- Segmenting your prospects via Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs- prospects who are most likely to buy your products, have the best need-value fit and have the budgets to afford them)

- Targeting them with relevant content & campaigns. Engage them via nurture programs creating new engagement opportunities

- Positioning your product value once the differentiation with the competition is already established and exactly when they need to buy.

To sum it up, ABM helps your bring your A game, to the best-fit customers, giving them the best possible experience, with an improved sales-marketing sync- for More Revenue

Next in this series: How to ABM (Blog), Mapping your customer journey & ABM success (Blog), Why ABM Fails -Pitfalls & Challenges (Blog)Leveraging your Martech Stack for Growth, ABM Success Webinar series with my colleague Michael Thompson.

Amit Thapliyal VP - Marketing, Altudo | MVP - Strategy, Sitecore


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