Marketing is one of the oldest professions in the world. It is a vast industry, continually mutating and expanding. There were advertisers back in Pompeii, Egypt, and ancient Arabian cultures because humanity has always needed to promote their goods and services to those that need it. In the last 15 years, there has a huge shift in the way businesses operate, thanks to the advent of the age of data.
The “Money Ball” era as I love to call it, has infused marketing with high levels of addressability and accountability never before seen in its history. So long, the “Mad Men” days of light research and heavy creativity and welcome to data-oriented marketing.
Here, new solutions to new challenges pop up every other day, ensuring that this old vocation continues to thrive with the times. One of these solutions is account-based marketing (ABM). It might sound like one an overly complicated marketing process but it is something we perform in our usual activities.
I will below show you seven real-life examples of ABM that demystifies this form of marketing and that highlights its benefits.
#1. ABM Has a Clear Return On Investment (ROI)
I love movies and I hate the fact that Hollywood does not use real physics when filming their scenes. If directors were to sell less fantasy and more reality, they would take into consideration factors such as wind shear, magazine capacity, distance limitations, or trajectory.
If they cared about a firearm’s finer points, the endless shooting scenes would be super short. The 15-minute shootouts with the bad guys would for instance last 15 seconds. Ammo is heavy and actors cannot rock a good look in a blazer and jeans while packing tons of ammo. This is the reason why Hollywood has invented magical never-ending gun magazines.
With one of these magical weapons, one person can fire over 30 imaginary magazines and look like they are on the cover of GQ while at it. Cars will explode, the innocent will miraculously be spared of the carnage and at the end of it all, the hero will get the girl. Too much, luck at play.
Contrast this scene to Vasily Zaytsev’s and Major Erwin König’s sniper duel in Enemy at the Gates; a flawless, realistic, and waste-not-want-not situation. Most sniper movies depict what it is that makes ABM such a successful strategy. I can say that account-based marketing is a sniper-like form of marketing.
It is targeted, precise, accurate, and personalized to ensure that at the end of the strategy, the marketer has a high chance of winning the client over. ABM, therefore, has a higher ROI than other forms of marketing. It focuses on accounts most likely to convert, minimizes time wastage, lowers risks, and saves on costs.
Data shows that 97% of businesses that have an ABM approach have higher ROIs than what they get with other strategies of marketing.
#2. ABM Helps In Cultivating Relationships
My personal life and friendships also reflect some benefits of ABM. I, like many people have mistakenly thought it in the past that I choose my friends because of who they are. Studies and personal experience however show that friends are people who are supportive of the person that I am. Children make friends fast. However easy come, easy go.
The notion of what a good friend is hardly changed through life, but the capacity to maintain that friendship either grows or diminishes over time. This is why when I got into my career; I lost some of the friends that I hanged out with in college.
Why? I no longer have the energy or the time to profess my value to some of my friends. I have a few long-term friendships however that have survived time and separation because I work to maintain them. Psychologists say that some of the four behaviors that maintain long friendship bonds include;
Like a good friendship, ABM creates channels that enable marketers to stay in contact with their target accounts. Just like it is with my small circle of friendships, it is through this contact that trust is built between me and my target accounts.
I will mine data on the behavior of my customers so that I can quickly attend to the buying signals that they are sending. I want my ABM contacts to know that I am a valued expert on the problems that they are facing and that I will give them valuable and relevant feedback.
#3. Clients Love ABM Because It Is Personal
With friendships, reciprocity is vital. Some years back, as a greenhorn out of marketing school, I made friends with an assistant probably because we huddled together every lunch hour bemoaning the horrible office politics. Since we had a fierce camaraderie, I shared some of my life’s and start-up’s growing pains.
My friend would listen and empathize with me but never revealed anything about his life. When they moved on to their new job, we drifted apart. Our relationship did not have any reciprocity so our level of acquaintanceship did not mature to a long-standing relationship.
ABM enables marketers to understand their target accounts so that they can infuse an element of reciprocation and build strong, lasting relationships. ABM thrives through personalization, and 77% of all customers are willing to buy or recommend brands that provide personalized experiences.
A marketer must, therefore, personalize their approach to ensure that the customer feels valued. The ABM strategy is loaded with empathy for the client. The marketer will present relevant solutions to them at the right time and place via the use of data analytics.
Data by McKinsey & Company shows that personalization can increase business revenue by 15% and cut down on customer acquisition costs by 50%.
#4. ABM Reduces Indecision
My day is made up of dozens of decisions. I will choose what to wear, what to eat, buy, and how to respond to an email. I will send some emails directly to the trash folder and pen perfect responses for others. Easy decision-making however is not as easy in marketing.
Making a marketing decision means that I am taking ownership of the option’s success or failure. In short, I have opened myself up to criticism. It is no wonder therefore that people avoid making big decisions, especially when there is money or a career on the line.
Unlike older marketing strategies, ABM utilizes clear set goals and analytics to make conclusions. A B2B marketer for instance will only have a small set of targeted accounts to analyze. They will find it much easier to draw battle lines and forecast goals.
#5. It Also Delivers Clear Results
On most mornings, my feet move as if on autopilot towards the aroma of good coffee. I will have my Starbucks almond milk latte or blonde roast, as per my allowance. One of the reasons why I spend good money on coffee here is that while most things in life are unpredictable, coffee at Starbucks is consistently good.
I want to live assured that I have that one element of morning steady. My experience in B2B marketing has taught me that despite the many automated advances in lead management, paid search, and demand generation, many marketers are not quite ready to do less with more.
There are too many leads to qualify and a lack of infrastructure to nurture them. Most leads are lost to off-target strategies leading to a high loss of productivity. With ABM, I no longer spend my resources casting nets far and wide in search of success. I can focus my energy on chasing only after audiences that actually give a return on investment and instantly recognize it when my efforts pay off.
#6. ABM Allows For Short Sales Cycles
I love to try other new cafés when I have more time on my hands in the morning. The fact however is that there is a Starbucks around every corner. The store is so accessible and the product so good, that I have built a coffee buying routine from this chain.
For this reason, I do not have to spend more money on an expensive Nespresso machine, despite it being a cheaper idea in the end. My coffee point is convenient and has made my coffee buying process short. Likewise, ABM eliminates all extra baggage that prolongs the conversion process.
The marketer will not need to deal with unqualified leads and problematic accounts. The key accounts that bring in the most moolah within the shortest time are right at their fingertips.
#7. ABM Can Make You An Expert
Every once in a while, I am faced with the HR manager’s quagmire of hiring based on talent or experience. Talent is priceless and raw talent will adapt faster when the worst happens in business. Experience however makes better leaders and managers.
B2B marketers have in-depth knowledge of their target accounts. They research their key accounts and gain expertise in an area where other forms of marketing strategies only offer a broad idea. This intensive research makes the ABM marketer an expert on an approach, which cannot be replicated even by the most talented of marketers.
ABM is a strategic approach that optimizes marketing strategies so that they in turn cater to specific accounts that qualify as target audiences. This process eases lead management through the use of robust predictive analytics that targets an ideal, fresh, or updated customer profile.
This marketing technique has become so popular that 94% of marketers say that it is an extremely crucial part of their strategy. It is a process that we utilize in day-to-day life, making it easier to meet our objectives. Try it in marketing, and see the difference.