ABM Produces Better ROIs and Company Collaboration
What if we told you that you can adopt a marketing strategy—pretty much designed for B2B manufacturers—that doesn’t have you chasing down prospects that are complete unknowns. Oh, it also garners higher ROIs and cross-functional collaboration. Would you like to hear more about it?
We thought so.
Let’s talk about account-based marketing.
Account-based marketing (ABM) is a marketing strategy widely used by B2B marketing agencies. The basic premise is that you target companies you already do business with, or businesses that are in your close orbit or ecosystem, to drill deeper into their organizations to attract prospects that are, by definition, already a good customer fit. Here’s a common situation: a manufacturer has a fantastic working partnership with one division of a company and knows their expertise, services, or products can be aptly applied to another division, but piercing the inner circle—especially with big OEMs—can be a challenge. The upside is that, from the EOM’s perspective, once you make contact with your point person (or team), if segments of their company are already doing business with you, then you and your company are not a considered an unknown business risk to them.
Sounds good, right? In practice, ABM focuses on account-based data to attract, engage, convert, and measure progress against customers and (yes) prospects. It gets better … by combining the sales and marketing teams to align and impact the bottom line, companies see improvements in revenue and team dynamics. According to optimizely.com, 85 percent of companies that used ABM saw higher returns compared to other marketing approaches.
But, strategies aren’t one-size-fits-all, so how do you know that your company fits this manufacturing marketing strategy?
Your Audience Members Are Key Stakeholders
One key difference between other marketing strategies and ABM is the audience. Using this B2B method, your company would focus on hyper-targeted accounts to make a tangible impact on revenue. These companies should align with your key business objectives:
- Close rates
- Average contract value
- Deal size funnel velocity
ABM doesn’t rely on scoring accounts with leads, but engaging multiple stakeholders from a single account. This involves maximizing various relationships. Because of its hyper-focused approach, ABM can’t function on generic campaigns or strategies. You’ll want to identify those companies in your CRM that you want to do more business with and target the top contenders.
You Want to Get Personal
Another key difference between ABM and other industrial marketing strategies is its personalized nature. Individuals or leads don’t make the deal—accounts do. ABM aligns your company’s goal with larger businesses to forge stronger connections. Not only would larger companies be more willing to work with your organization, but strong ties could open up more opportunities.
Keeping in mind the two points made above, you need to be aware of your audience and variables such as who is responsible for what in the sales process. Questions to answer include who makes the buying decision, and whether that involves more than one person. This helps you focus your efforts on who the decision-makers are.
Assess Your Internal Process
What’s your sales process? And do you have a record of it? The sales process should have clear roles and responsibilities executed by skilled team members. You need key documentation on the process:
- Who are the players?
- What’s their purpose?
- Do they know their purpose?
Building upon past processes and data pivots to a better organizational future with larger annual contracts, new revenue, and a funnel velocity. Without previous data, ABM would be flying blind, basing itself on assumptions. What’s less strategic than guesswork?
In addition to the sales process, ABM examines the pre-, present-, and post-campaign metrics to better inform future campaigns, sales and marketing strategies, and organizational business objectives. Using technology to measure the number of leads—and converting said leads into opportunities—smoothly transitions the company from targeting leads to targeting accounts. Creating a clearer organizational alignment is key to ABM’s success.
Having records of campaigns and maintaining a clear organizational structure allows ABM to build with a foundation instead of completely from the ground up. This is especially important given the long-term cycle of ABM.
Playing the Long Game …
Any marketing agency will tell you that ABM is a long-term marketing strategy, meaning it takes time for results to show up in shared reports. And remember, it’s a method, not a plug-in that magically improves ROIs.
Consider your current clientele: how long does it take to close a deal?
Longer sales cycles work better with ABM because it’s the long game, changing key accounts into your advocates to open up opportunities and sales turnarounds. With a longer sales cycle, companies could see the effect of ABM.
Here's the most strategic move for you: instead of managing many accounts with lower ROI and closed revenue, managers would oversee fewer accounts with higher ROI and closed revenue. Higher ROI means a happier, and healthier, company culture.
Collaboration from Within
Account-based marketing improves your company’s ROI while also boosting morale and cross-functional collaboration. The two biggest players in this method are the marketing and sales team. Marketing efforts need the data and documentation from sales to funnel their work, while the sales team uses marketing strategies to close accounts. This exchange between two teams offers a collaborative environment in the workplace, an excellent dynamic for any organization.
Are You ABM-Ready?
The two key questions that indicate ABM-readiness are:
- Is your sales process a long-cycle length?
- Is your required salesperson interaction at the best possible minimum?
As previously mentioned, a longer sales cycle is necessary to see results, while the number of salesperson interactions should be strategic for this personalized approach to work. If you answer “Yes!” to both these questions, your organization is ready to explore account-based marketing!
There’s definitely more to this discussion, and we’ve put it all together in one downloadable doc for you. Find out how to widen your net with accounts you already have success with. Download it now to begin your account-based marketing strategy.