The Complete Guide to Account-Based Marketing (ABM) and How It Can Benefit Your B2B Company

When researching different types of marketing strategies for your business-to-business (B2B) company, you may come across account-based marketing (ABM). A recent survey conducted by LinkedIn found that over half of B2B companies use it. Like all types of marketing strategies, it's a form of promotion that allows you to communicate with prospects while pitching products or services. ABM, however, offers several benefits that can help your B2B company flourish.

What Is ABM?

ABM is a buyer-centric marketing strategy in which high-value prospects are treated as individual and separate accounts. In the B2B industry, some prospects are more valuable to your B2B company than others. A C-level executive who has already expressed interest in a product or service, for example, will probably be more valuable to your B2B company than a low-level worker with whom you've had no prior contact.

ABM involves targeting high-value prospects such as this with personalized messages. Instead of using the same message for all prospects, you can create a custom and personalized message for each high-value prospect. ABM is also known as key account marketing because it involves targeting key, high-value prospects or accounts. You can still target other prospects, but ABM revolves around personalized messages for your B2B company's most valuable prospects.

How ABM Works

While there are different ways to approach it, ABM requires marketing and sales alignment. You must align your B2B company's marketing department with its sales department to use this alternative marketing strategy.

When aligned, marketers and sales reps can collaborate with each other. Marketers can tell sales reps which prospects are most valuable for ABM targeting purposes. Without insight from marketers, sales reps may struggle to identify high-value prospects. Marketing and sales alignment will ensure that sales reps have the right data for ABM.

Personalization is another essential element of ABM. It's certainly easier to use the same generic message for all prospects. Whether you're communicating with a prospect by phone, email, live chat or social media, though, you'll have a better chance at closing the deal if you use a personalized message.

ABM requires the use of a personalized message for each high-value prospect. Before contacting a high-value prospect with an offer, you'll need to research him or her. You can research prospects, as well as the businesses for which they work, to learn more about their needs. After obtaining this information, you can create custom and personalized messages that resonate with high-value prospects.

The Benefits of Using ABM

Why should you use ABM instead of a traditional marketing strategy exactly? While more time-consuming, ABM offers several advantages over traditional marketing strategies. Prospects, for example, are more likely to respond to your messages if you use ABM.

Traditional marketing strategies typically consist of generic messages that are sent to all prospects. With a traditional marketing strategy, you may leave the same voicemail or send the same email to dozens of prospects. Generic messages, of course, often suffer from low response rates. Upon discovering a generic message, prospects may delete it. Using ABM can increase your response rates by providing prospects with personalized messages.

Using ABM can increase buyer loyalty as well. According to research by MarketingProfs, B2B companies with tightly aligned marketing and sales departments have 36 percent higher buyer retention rates than their counterparts with segmented departments. In other words, they retain over one-third more buyers. Your B2B company probably won't retain all of its buyers; some buyers will inevitably leave. Nonetheless, using ABM can lead to higher buyer retention rates.

Another benefit of using ABM is bigger deals. A survey conducted by Forrester's Sirius Decisions found that one in four B2B companies experienced a 50 percent or higher increase in average deal size after transitioning from a traditional marketing strategy to ABM. Other B2B companies experienced less of an increase, but the fact remains that ABM can increase your B2B company's average deal size.

ABM yields bigger deals than traditional marketing strategies because it targets high-value prospects. You can identify high-value prospects with the assistance of your B2B company's marketing department, after which you can target those prospects with personalized messages. High-value prospects are potential buyers with large budgets and whom you can easily convert. Therefore, they usually spend more money than other prospects.

You can expect a shorter sales cycle when using ABM. With personalized messages, prospects require less nurturing. You may be able to convince a prospect to make a purchase in just two or three correspondences if you use personalized messages. Generic messages, on the other hand, often require more correspondence and more nurturing. For a shorter sales cycle, consider using ABM.

Software is available that can help you deploy and manage an ABM strategy. Customer relationship management (CRM) software includes features for marketing and sales alignment. It does more than just track marketing and sales data. CRM software can seamlessly integrate both types of data for closer marketing and sales alignment. With the right CRM software, you can easily switch to an ABM strategy.

Using ABM can lead to more positive reviews for your B2B company. Most prospects prefer to receive personalized messages when interacting with B2B companies. With ABM, you'll use personalized messages while prioritizing high-value prospects. These satisfied prospects may then voluntarily leave a positive review for your B2B company on a third-party review website.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of using ABM is a higher return on investment (ROI). All marketing strategies require an investment, and ABM is no exception. With that said, ABM costs less while yielding more sales revenue than traditional marketing strategies, resulting in a higher ROI.

B2B marketing is evolving. No longer do B2B companies use generic messages for all of their prospects. Many of them now use ABM. ABM is an alternative marketing strategy that focuses on personalized messages for high-value prospects. Benefits of using AMB include higher response rates, higher buyer retention rates, bigger deals, a shorter sales cycle, more positive reviews and a higher ROI.


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