Before we begin, do you even know what Account Based Marketing (ABM) is?
ABM is essentially an evolution of content marketing, but you need to add a step in the typical process. First, you must identify your target audience/persona, then you create content for that audience (i.e. blogs, infographics, webinars, newsletters, case studies, e-books, etc.), and finally deliver the content specifically to them instead of the entire prospect universe.
The BIG difference between traditional lead generation and the ABM model are the first two stages in the sales funnel.
Traditional lead generation starts with email blasting, digital marketing like SEO and PPC, and perhaps some display ads or sponsoring events with the intent to attract as many people as possible into your funnel and from there start qualifying prospects.
ABM flips that on its head.
First, identify all the contacts that you want to reach and build a strategy to attract those individuals with a highly targeted campaign.
Next, use email marketing, blogs, guest speaking engagements, webinars, direct mail, social, and other digital marketing strategies to target these individuals with the intention to help them get acquainted with your brand. Remember, relying on one channel of communication is never a good idea.
ABM is a mindset shift. Almost every B2B company can benefit from it. Most companies have the ability to implement an ABM model; they have the content and they even have their ideal customer list, but they focus on lead generation versus highly targeted campaigns to their ideal prospects.
Should you make the switch?
ABM can pretty much work for any B2B company whether you’re looking for 10 new clients a year or 10,000 new clients a year. However, companies that should strongly consider an ABM approach are ones that have a finite marketplace and a lifetime customer value greater than $10K.
ABM still uses most of the tactics that you’re familiar with: email, paid media, social, direct mail, events, etc. However, the major difference is how you go about deploying your resources to target your audience.
Most service based businesses are treated like a commodity and, therefore, you must find a way to stand out from the crowd. You must engage decision makers and influencers on their own terms.
You must build rapport and trust with your target audience.
Let’s figure out what type of company the ABM strategy benefits.
If you’re selling a software product for $100 per year and your prospect universe is 100,000 companies, you may not have the time, money, and resources to devote to an ABM plan—stick with traditional lead generation.
But if you’re a managed service provider that needs to only bring on 10-20 new clients per year, and your lifetime customer value is $30K, then ABM is perfect for you.
It’s not a walk in the park…
The major premise of ABM is that you’re not just selling to people (asking your customer for the appointment before they get to know you). Instead, you start the relationship by sharing information that your customers find valuable.
That said, calling still serves an important purpose. For example, once your prospect starts interacting with your brand (i.e. attends a webinar, participates at event, or requests a whitepaper), sales will start engaging with them.
However, marketing’s job is not over. Now it’s imperative that marketing provides air-cover for sales by sharing a newsletter that includes the latest blog, case study, service updates, etc. Marketing will help come up with a HOOK that will draw the prospect deeper into the funnel.
Through an ABM model, you’re not dialing for dollars. Instead, by the time the salesperson gets on the phone, the prospect is sold on what you do, so the salesperson is focusing on answering questions and closing the deal. When all sales has to do is close deals, you know your ABM model is working brilliantly.
Here are the keys to remember: you’re not selling, you’re building relationships.
- You’re creating relevant content that your prospect wants to learn.
- You’re hosting webinars and events to expose the brand.
- You’re sharing a hook to get them in the door.
- You’re providing air cover for sales once they’re engaged.
- And most importantly, you’re all about delivering a raving fan experience for your prospects.