Account-based marketing (ABM) has been catching fire as a strategic approach to B2B marketing—and for good reason.
At its core, ABM is an approach to B2B marketing and sales where highly personalized messaging is used to target multiple decision-makers at key accounts through multiple channels. A well-oiled ABM strategy can deliver big payoffs by dramatically decreasing the B2B sales cycle and closing bigger deals.
That said, the benefits of ABM extend far beyond the marketing department. ABM provides a centralized strategy and a holistic approach to revenue generation.
To learn how and why an ABM helps speed leads through the sales cycle, as well as nurture higher-quality prospects, read on.
ABM Warms Up Leads
A key function of ABM is to prime decision-makers at target accounts with branded messaging before the selling conversation formally begins. Increasing the prospect’s awareness of the firm’s product or service before getting on the phone with a sales representative increases the likelihood that the person will close once the person is in the decision-making process
ABM paves the way for leads in several ways. Microtargeted paid advertising, drip marketing campaigns, direct mail, events, and retargeting are all effective strategies for cultivating and nurturing leads. When an organization provides consistent messaging within each channel, the value proposition is more likely to resonate with prospects.
And when it’s consistently applied and well-tracked, this is sales enablement at its finest.
ABM Captures Useful Data
As leads are nurtured along the pipeline—or indicate lack of interest in particular products, services, or even types of promotions, valuable data is generated that can be leveraged by sales reps.
For example, every time a prospect completes a lead capture form, it provides ABM with additional data, benefitting both sales and marketing. It’s extremely helpful for a marketing team to know how many contacts within a targeted account are downloading white papers, reading articles, opening email, or attending events. This information also helps sales reps focus on the account’s primary interest and the specific needs of each lead within the account.
Isn’t that incredibly valuable information for a sales rep to have when making that first outreach call? And couldn’t a CMO and marketing team intelligently leverage that data to more tightly target campaigns and outbound tactics? This information gives both sales and marketing a better opportunity to craft messages that can break tough accounts wide open and close the deal.
When these benefits of an account-based approach work together, they have the effect of dramatically accelerating the sales cycle, enabling deals to be offered and closed more quickly. Organizational buy-in for this approach is key to actually accelerating the sales cycle. Any glitch along the customer’s buying journey can derail even the most tailored and targeted ABM tactics.
And while technology does offer benefits in getting the most out of ABM, there are also some drawbacks to consider. For example, the best ABM strategy may take a lead time of as much as six months, if not longer, to generate meaningful results. The strategy requires complete buy-in from all team members—not only from an organization’s leadership, but also its sales and marketing sides—in order to deliver the best return on investment.
That said, an organization never wants to lose sight of its existing client base, even while putting considerable resources into cultivating new leads. After all, it costs more to acquire new clients than to retain existing ones. And those existing clients may help you generate new business in the least expensive way: word of mouth marketing.
Ensure that your marketing organization is tightly aligned with sales on your ABM strategy, and you’ll be the hero who helps sales close more quickly. That’s a role any CMO would envy.