The Ultimate Guide to B2B Account-Based Marketing for Businesses
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Directly selling to high-value accounts is a dream for any B2B sales and marketing team. Lots of time and effort are saved from selling and marketing to unqualified leads who are not best-suited for the business. This is what B2B account-based marketing (ABM) is all about. It is all about focusing on and targeting the best-fit businesses and working towards converting these accounts into customers. Meaning you can reach the phase of engaging and delighting your high-value target accounts right from the beginning.

As a business, your goal is maximum return on investment, and ABM offers just that. However, for implementing ABM successfully, the marketing team has to devise and implement strategies, which amalgamate the expertise of marketing and sales for locating, engaging, and finally closing the deal with important high-value accounts.

But before we go into details about ABM strategies for your B2B business, let us start with an clear the basics first.

What is B2B Account-Based Marketing?

ABM is a focused and targeted approach where sales and marketing departments collaborate to create personalized purchasing experiences for mutually identified high-value accounts. Since the marketing and sales teams are in complete sync, the processes of delighting and engaging the accounts become way faster.

It is sad but true that traditional B2B marketing and sales funnel don’t work as well anymore. Currently, B2B marketing works with the goal of lead generation, intending to capture as many leads as possible. But in most cases, the funnel narrows massively at the bottom, and as a result, most B2B leads do not convert into customers.

However, with ABM in place, you can filter out clients who offer no or very little value right at the onset, thus saving time and efforts, which would anyway have been fruitless.

With account-based marketing in place, you can filter out clients who offer no or very little value right at the onset, thus saving time and efforts, which would anyway have been fruitless. Click To Tweet

Simply put, ABM allows your teams to focus on only the most valuable leads to turn them into customers. As a result, the whole journey and communication with the buyer are personalized, and all the campaigns are focused on delighting the targeted accounts, making it highly engaging for the clients.

The result? Higher ROI and, most importantly, customer loyalty.

ABM’s Terminus Approach – Improvement Over Traditional Sales Funnel

B2B account-based marketing flips the B2B sales and marketing funnel on its head.

How?

Generally, with the traditional funnel, sales commence right from demand generation, which progresses through the different phases of marketing to reach the end of the funnel, which is purchasing.

But with ABM, the sales commence with directly identifying and targeting various best-fit accounts, which have the potential of bringing in high revenue for your business. This means that instead of using a loudspeaker at a carnival to let everyone know about what you are offering and waiting for people to turn up, you actively choose the people who are likely to be attracted to what you have to offer and approach them privately.

How do you do this?

Easy! Just like the example given above, you create personalized campaigns for the decision-makers of these valuable accounts.

Do you know what the best thing about this approach is? You already know what your client’s pain points are and what they are looking for, so you offer a solution that fits them like a glove. Your marketing strategies will be on-point to attracting and converting these prospects.

So, how does B2B Account-Based Marketing Work?

For effective implementation of ABM, your business must follow a multi-channel approach. It is essential to have close collaboration between your marketing, sales, and customer servicing teams. There are numerous ABM tools available, such as this one offered by HubSpot, which can be used for aligning the teams towards achieving the ultimate goal.

Another thing that needs proper attention when it comes to ABM is account-based advertising. The benefit of account-based advertising is that it uses digital targeting to find and target best-fit companies known as target accounts. Point to be noted that these companies can be considered best-fit only if they fit into your business’s ideal customer profile (ICP).

When ABM solutions are integrated with marketing automation tools or a CRM, you can run various campaigns aiming at the target accounts. You will be able to run multi-channel campaigns by selecting ads that you want to show to the target audience via different platforms.

Account-based technologies are successful as they engage customers on their own terms. Various digital channels are used in this along with phone calls and emails, which is why it engages the whole account and not only the lead, making it highly scalable.

Common Problems You Can Solve with B2B Account-Based Marketing 

In the B2B space, having an expansive marketing strategy might show fruitful results initially. But with a targeted approach, your ROI will increase significantly. When you have a successful ABM program in place, you can optimize your efforts, boost revenue generation, and most importantly, get access to in-depth metrics, which are otherwise not easily accessible.

Mentioned below are some common problems which are solved with ABM:

Problem 1 – We Are Spending A Lot with Little ROI

ABM spends its time on potential high-value accounts. As a result, marketing professionals can concentrate their efforts and utilize resources in a better manner. Marketing campaigns are designed and optimized focusing on the target accounts, which negates the chances of wasted time and efforts on invaluable and inconvertible leads.

Problem 2 – We Are Unable to Present a Clear ROI

A prominent target of ABM is to boost your business ROI so that good results are visible. As per a survey conducted by ITSMA, it was found that ABM delivers the highest ROI among all kinds of B2B marketing tactics or strategies. 

Problem 3 – Our Sales and Marketing Teams Are Not Aligned

Aligning marketing and sales teams is a problem many businesses face. One of the best ways of getting them on the same page is via ABM. With ABM, both sales and marketing teams put in their efforts towards targeting the best-fit accounts and focusing on ways to convert them. As a result, more deals are closed successfully, and the rate of success is higher.

Problem 4 – We Are Not Sure of The Metrics and Goals That We Need to Track

With ABM, you can analyze and understand the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns because they are so very targeted and focused. You will be able to collect more detailed data from the target accounts and get helpful insights on what works and what doesn’t.

Problem 4 – We Are Not Witnessing Engagement With The Audience Anymore

ABM is highly personalized and deals with targeted customers only. As a result, the engagement is more. Your content directly addresses their problems and offers valuable solutions, as a result, the rate of interaction with your audience is increased.

What are the Main Components of B2B Account-Based Marketing?

Target, engage, and measure – these are the main components of ABM. Try including these aspects in the foundation of your strategy and your marketing team will surely be geared for success.

  • Targeting followed by management of the right accounts –ABM allows you to utilize technology to target and manage your best-fit accounts in a centralized way. Meaning your marketing, sales, and customer service teams are always on the same page when it comes to targeting accounts. Your best-fit target account will depend upon your business type, but some common parameters that you can always follow are product fit, high yield, strategic importance, quick wins, territory, and competitors.
  • Engaging customers across various channels – ABM allows designing and running well-coordinated and personalized campaigns across multiple channels from a single platform. This saves the hassles of managing each campaign individually. For this, you would need an ABM solution to help you knit all the channels together so that you have a good foundation for delivering comprehensive and informed cross-channel campaigns to the target accounts.

The B2B Growth Blueprint

  • Measuring and optimizing programs – The ABM strategy that is implemented should be constantly measured so that you can understand the rate of success and make necessary improvements with time. For this, you can build account dashboards, where different data will be displayed in one place.

How to Plan, Implement, and Optimize Your B2B Account-Based Marketing Strategy

Carefully choosing high-value accounts provides a strong foundation for a successful ABM program. Once you have successfully defined and targeted the accounts that are the best fit for your B2B business, your sales and marketing teams can collaborate for crafting and delivering campaigns through various channels for bringing in the best results. Mentioned below are the steps which make up a successful ABM program:

  • Step 1 – Discovering and defining the high-value accounts – In the first place, you have to find high-value accounts. For that, utilize all your business intelligence and firm-related data for identifying and prioritizing high-value accounts. Consider all strategic factors along with revenue potential while selecting high-value accounts.
  • Step 2 – Try mapping the account and locate the main internal players – It is very important that you identify the structure of the target accounts. You must also try and find out what process is followed for decision making, who are the main influencers and decision-makers in the account, etc.
  • Step 3 – Create personalized messaging and targeted content – An effective ABM program will provide valuable content for addressing crucial business challenges faced by the target accounts. With valuable content and personalized messaging options, you can successfully convert your target audience into customers by addressing their pain areas and offering solutions.
  • Step 4 – Locating optimal channels for communication – Your audience uses various channels for communication. Locate those channels. The channels might vary depending on the industries or on the roles that you are targeting. You also have to keep in mind if there are any kinds of restrictions in your area for the use of the particular communication channel.
  • Step 5 – Execution of coordinated and targeted campaigns – It is important that campaigns are coordinated across all the channels and the efforts of the sales and marketing team are aligned with one another for maximum impact. With modern and advanced technology, marketing professionals can coordinate and execute various ABM campaigns with higher efficiency and boosted scalability.
  • Step 6 – Measuring, learning, and optimizing – Ensure that your ABM campaigns are tested, measured, and, most importantly, optimized. This guarantees the effectiveness of the campaign and ensures that the results will improve continuously. If you are looking for a more accurate picture, you must analyze the trends at an account level and also check the results obtained from individual campaigns.

Benefits of B2B Account-Based Marketing

Now that you have a basic idea about what B2B account-based marketing is, how it works, and the problems it can solve, we will now talk about the various benefits of ABM.

Some of the most prominent and important benefits of ABM include:

Maximizing the Relevance of Your Business Among High-Value Accounts 

ABM requires you to personalize everything – right from content to communications, from campaigns to product information, for every account you are working with. With customization and personalization, you maximize the relevance of your business. Hence ABM makes you give a suitable direction to your business so that it becomes an ideal and most relevant option for your target accounts.

Streamlining the Sales Cycle 

Depending on the industry and business, the sales cycle mainly has 6 steps – Prospect, Connect, Research, Present, Close, and Delight.

However, with ABM, you can cut short the cycle. You can concentrate on high-value target accounts and save resources and time at the same time. The cycle thus becomes – Identifying Target Accounts, Present to Target Accounts, Close Target Accounts, and Delight Accounts. By streamlining the sales cycle, business efficiency gets a boost. You can utilize the saved time and efforts for building better relationships with your existing customers.

Through ABM, the ‘closing’ of the sales cycle stage is streamlined as well. The reason is that the scope of converting and retaining accounts for the long term increases drastically. Credit should be attributed to personalization, sales, and marketing alignment and consistently improved customer experience.

Keeping Marketing and Sales Teams Aligned 

Improved communication and cross-team collaboration always bring beneficial results for any organization. In ABM, there is alignment between sales and marketing teams. They concentrate on the same goals, understand the roles of each internal stakeholder, and comply with mutually agreed-upon budget proposals.

With such alignment in place, there is consistency in interactions, communications, and content for all the accounts on which you are working. The whole process is organized and streamlined, providing a delightful and seamless customer experience.

Measuring ROI

Measuring ROI for marketing and sales efforts sounds far easier than it actually is. However, with B2B account-based marketing, you can measure ROI for each account for which you have invested your time, efforts, and resources. Therefore, it is easy for you to see if your investments in the accounts were worth it or not. If they are, you can delight those accounts for the longer term and work towards nurturing them. Not only this, but you can also target and identify similar accounts in the future.

Expanding Business With Account Relationships

There is no use in closing deals quickly with less-qualified leads, as they might not be the best fit for your business in the long run. When it comes to ABM, the concept of ‘quality over quantity is apt. In this marketing effort, you have to invest considerable resources and time to engage and delight carefully selected high-value accounts.

It takes time and effort to develop and establishing reliable relationships with valuable accounts. You can expand the business when customers are retained for a longer time. The combination of obtaining more customers and retaining old customers impacts business positively.

With consistent customer experience and a thoughtful and personalized approach, high-value accounts become loyal to your business. And loyal customers help in expanding businesses in different manners through word-of-mouth marketing, referrals, testimonials, etc.

Delivering Consistent Customer Experiences 

You cannot deny the fact that a major factor for the success of your business is delivering a consistent experience for your high-value accounts. Since ABM involves a long process, you must maintain long-lasting delight for the accounts. Delivering consistent experience is not as easy as it seems. But ABM is designed and planned in such a manner that delivering consistent customer experiences comes as a natural progression.

Using the Marketing Budget Efficiently 

While devising a marketing strategy, it is cost-effective in determining which accounts will be profitable for the business and which will not be worth all the time, money, and effort spent. Once the accounts are identified and located properly, the marketing budget can be spent on various channels where they are active – it can be via various events, across the web, on various social media platforms, etc.

Bonus Tip – Combine Inbound Marketing and B2B Account-Based Marketing for Even Better ROI

Working in teams makes you work better and faster, which is also the case for inbound marketing and ABM. With a combination of both, you can expect better profitability, increased convertible quality leads, and improved customer loyalty for your B2B business.

How?

You have already learned that ABM is a strategy that is highly targeted. Inbound marketing acts as a kind of a foundation for ABM. You make the best accounts come to you (not the other way around) and then convert them by offering a delightful customer experience.

Sounds too good to be true? It isn’t! You can easily achieve it by creating high-quality and valuable content and, most importantly, with suitable SEO techniques.

With this combined approach, you will be able to attract higher and better prospects, have specifically targeted and excellent resource allocation, and utilize your content both ways.

For example, you can create a case study that you know will be beneficial for a target group of accounts. By posting it on your blog, you do two things at once – you attract your target accounts while also generating interest among the broader audience.

With the use of one strategy, your B2B business might miss some opportunities of attracting and converting customers, but with two strategies working together, there will be fewer missed chances.

Conclusion

ABM is not rocket science. There is nothing complicated about it. All it requires is that instead of concentrating your efforts on generating all kinds of leads, you focus on clients who can yield the most profit for your business. Combine it with inbound strategy, and you have an unbeatable marketing strategy that will bring in high-value leads that are also convertible. The ultimate result is the growth and development of your business. And that is what ABM aims to achieve!

If you require assistance in implementing ABM for your B2B business, please contact our experienced marketing professionals at OneIMS.

Written By Samuel Thimothy

As the Chief Growth Officer, I provide leadership, direction and resource stewardship to the organization’s sales and marketing function. I also collaborate with our digital marketing strategy team in developing and executing growth marketing campaigns for our loyal clients.

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