ABM has been gaining traction within the B2B marketing community for a few years now. There are scores of definitions floating around the internet, but the one most often quoted comes from ITSMA:
ABM means treating individual accounts as markets in their own right.
You might think that’s still rather vague. And rightfully so. At BBC, we consider ABM to be an evolution well beyond tactics or strategies to increase revenue. Of course, it still does that, but to turn it into a real success, it’s important to understand that ABM is a unique mindset.
Account-based marketing puts your specific ideal clients at the center and forces you to specifically focus on the needs of these organizations, and, more importantly, on the individuals within. This approach takes you even closer to the target account than the more traditional buyer persona.
This focused scope helps you create real value for your client and allows you to effectively communicate it in a relevant way – both solid cornerstones for a long-lasting, mutually-beneficial relationship.
Crucially, ABM also forces your marketing and sales departments to work closely together during the execution of a campaign. The destruction of age-old silos allows for marketing to gain more insights and help the sales teams in the best possible way.
ABM should be seen as a strategic tool in the marketing manager’s toolbox. It can help achieve certain goals, but ABM is not the answer to every challenge you face. When casting a wider net, for instance, it’s often better to choose inbound marketing.
So what cases lend themselves well to ABM? In general, it is used to target specific accounts that have on a great business fit or potential growth. These accounts might be existing clients or prospects.
When is ABM not effective? ABM is not the best mindset to think about your brand identity. Simply because a brand positioning is something that stems from within the company. Your identity does play a significant role in ABM but it is not the best way to develop one.
It would be dishonest to pretend that ABM is not a substantial investment. The beauty of ABM, however, is that it can provide an excellent return on investment when successful. An ITSMA survey reported that 84% of companies that launched an ABM program had a higher ROI than they would have with a traditional marketing campaign.
Additionally, there are different tiers of ABM – each with their own required effort and costs.
As we mentioned before, ABM is a mindset. And it requires commitment as well as experience. Thankfully, you can easily start off with a pilot program focused on one account and scale when successful. Meanwhile, you can get the buy-in from the rest of your organization.