Welcome to the Dove Direct Print and Marketing Blog. Today's post, "Why ABM is Critical for B2B," revisits an effective marketing strategy that is often overlooked by the B2B community. Some may be familiar with ABM (account-based marketing), while others may be of the mindset that ABM represents a new marketing concept.
In the pre-digital era, ABM was a step-by-step process. The ABM process meant that the sales department could view internal customer data across opportunities. For example, current customers with an opportunity to up-sell, or non-buys who were still on a prospect list, or previous customers who are on a list of non-buy opportunities. ABM has evolved to become a strategic focal point where marketing treats each customer or set of prospects as a market in its own right. This model allows marketing to construct specific content, events, and complete campaigns around the people associated with an account. ABM is a starkly different approach than targeting an entire industry versus a select sub-set.
ABM's marketing model allows the sales and marketing team to identify and target the best-fit accounts. It's a strategy that can work with current and prospective customers. While this ideology has been slow to filter into the majority of small businesses, it has proven to be a boon for enterprise-size organizations executing B2B initiatives. With an ABM strategy, marketers can target a list of decision-makers with personalized one-to-one messages.
ABM is critical for B2B because these organizations typically consist of multiple stakeholders and buyers. By leveraging an ABM strategy, marketers can market to the needs of the organization's buyers and stakeholders. By connecting with all of the principal decision-makers, ABM streamlines the process, enabling stakeholders to arrive at a purchase decision that is often shared and supported by most, if not all, of the key targets.
Executing an efficient ABM initiative can be somewhat slippery. Reaching and creating a meaningful connection requires several considerations, such as personalizing messaging for the target audience. However, the ROI becomes easier to attain with shorter sales cycles, improved customer relationships, and sales and marketing teams working towards the same goals. The ABM process provides a new marketing efficiency that saves time and resources on campaigns that fail to capture new business.
Audience Receives Personal Attention
Personalization is an intimate experience. When your ABM tactic is deployed to an intimate set of people, the messaging ensures that these stakeholders will be more likely to engage with targeted messages that resonate within the group. While it is important to keep in mind that ABM fails to provide leads from large audiences, it does provide a mechanism that personalizes the content and messages for an intimate group. This crystalizes the focus on all of an organization's decision-makers or department associated with a particular offering or set of solutions. This is more than personalization, as it dives deep into a specific target set of individuals within an organization.
One of the most challenging tasks for any business is calculating the ROI. In this space, the colorful descriptor, "attribution," takes center stage, defining the ability to attribute new business revenue to a particular marketing campaign. That said, when a business is marketing directly to a buyer, particularly one that the business already has a relationship with, it's quicker and easier to tie a marketing campaign to the revenue generated by that buyer or division.
For example: let's assume a business spent $1500 for six months on an industry-level marketing campaign in the Atlanta metro area. Now let's stipulate that the sales team signed ten accounts that averaged $2000 per sale. Even though the industry-level campaign generated $5,000 new business sales for the targeted area, it would be next to impossible to create an accurate attribution report. Conversely, with an effective ABM campaign, the marketing dollars are accounted for, and it's easy to calculate the attribution because it's targeting a single organization or buyer within the organization. Further, an added benefit of the ABM strategy is that the organization marketed to now has a relationship and should be more confident in the marketing efforts. The ABM process improves trust and generally results in a willingness to share other opportunities within the organization.
A Shorter Sales Cycle
The sales cycle is an exponential piece of the purchase journey. Depending on the industry, the sale cycle is always a factor that can either prevent or encourage targets to become paying customers. In the B2B world, shortening the sales cycle is of paramount importance. Salespeople are consistently challenged with reaching their goals, and ABM addresses that challenge, as ABM targeting reaches the people that expect to receive personalized information. The ABM process also frees salespeople from nurturing leads that fail to materialize and instead focus on those that are already reviewing proposals afforded to them via the ABM process.
B2B can achieve success with ABM; however, research is mandatory on the front end. A social media platform, such as LinkedIn is a great place to begin acquiring the necessary data to discover ABM targets. Given that 90% of a buyer's journey is completed before a prospect reaches out to a salesperson, ABM provides a competitive marketing strategy that is critical for B2B. Thanks for reading, "Why ABM is Critical for B2B."
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