Account based marketing (or ABM) is big business. With 71% of the companies seeing a greater ROI within their ABM efforts compared to their traditional marketing initiatives it's become quite the hot topic in B2B. In fact, 73% of marketers plan to increase ABM budgets throughout 2020.
But is ABM just about marketing?
As the B2B buyer journey has become digital first, both sales and marketing need to engage potential buyers much earlier in their decision making process. Sometimes before they realise they even have a buying need.
Winning the hearts and minds of buyers who are yet to show intent to buy is the key to good Content Marketing and considered Social Selling.
When you apply these practices to target accounts, then for me it's less about marketing owning the process but both sales and marketing aligning to the customer.
When it comes to ABM, both sales and marketing can have an impact:
Sales can use LinkedIn Sales Navigator to identify target audiences and better understand their content preferences
Marketing can research keywords, hashtags and content topic/themes that will resonate with the target account
Sales can map out the buying circle influencing the decision makers within an account
Marketing can create hero content (thought leadership, workbooks, events) that speak to the buyers needs
Sales can inform marketing of engagements via LinkedIn, connections and who's viewed profile
Marketing can utilise insights from the website to inform the sales lead on digital behaviour on brand owned platforms
Aligning activities, thought leadership, paid social, insights, data and intelligence around a specific account becomes easier when both sales and marketing utilise ABM - or Account Based MODELLING!
Far too many marketers get ABM wrong. I believe this is because the “M” in ABM leads them to assume that marketing owns ABM from soup to nuts. That is simply not true. In reality, ABM should stand for “account-based model.” This year, the pendulum needs to swing toward sales being responsible for ABM. Marketing should still have a role: creating compelling, highly targeted content that addresses the specific pain points of the account being targeted. As the front line of interaction with customers and prospects, sales must understand their accounts’ pain points. Sales, not marketing, should be identifying the accounts, researching pain points and finding touch points with the account. Then, in turn, marketing can arm sales with tools and content to pique interest from the targeted accounts.