Excellent Silicon Valley Marketo Users Group event clarified many aspects of Account Based marketing (ABM) and offered practical examples of their use. Huge thanks to Adam New-Waterson and Jason Seeba for wonderful presentations and very valuable insight!
The definition of ABM (ha ha – it is not “concentrating on specific accounts” – the definition itself explains the benefit of the approach):
Account Based Marketing is focusing sales and marketing resources on the greatest revenue potential to guide the deal through the complex B2B sales cycle
Major characteristics of ABM include typical marketing alignment on a more concentrated target market, what adds one more point to the alignment – marketing and sales need to agree on the definition of the target accounts.
As programs become more personalized, to the point of inclusion of hand-written notes and sending general business books to executives, a question arose if these programs are “no longer digital” in nature. The answer emphasized that the programs personalized and more time consuming for the company to create, rather than based on a specific channel. Personalized video sent via email is a purely digital product, but the fact of recording a video for a specific person and sending it in a unique email is highly personalized.
Two Adam’s slides below illustrate the difference of the traditional approach and ABM. ABM does not stop at the sale, and it is more focused on value for the business overall, rather than a specific marketing approach.
How do we start with ABM?
Start by defining target accounts. Interesting: the definition of the account should include the value of the particular account to the company rather than more generic industry characteristics. For example, if all companies of a certain size in a certain industry is a potential target, but companies with a specific characteristic is a more profitable target, they should be considered first.
When you understand which people should be targeted, check if you have them in your database.
- For existing products, evaluation of the best customers should give reasonable profile to target
- For new products, conversations with everybody who might touch a customer in a meaningful way should give a starting point
- Number of accounts should not be too large (1000 accounts is sufficient); database size around 50,000 is good (not all contacts can be useful even at this size)
- Leads need to be associated with accounts; when leads move from job to job, they are moved from one account to another in the database based on LinkedIn profile changes
- BloomReach uses http://www.leadspace.com/ and http://www.leandatainc.com/
- If you are paying for names, it may not be very beneficial – find a way to get these names. You should pay for people engaged into something beneficial for your company…
- Qualification of accounts is very important – if the accounts are not qualified, you are wasting your marketing $$
- Sales and Marketing should have regular meetings
Possible issue with email deliverability: some emails can look like they have been delivered (in Marketo), but none of the target count leads received the communication. Need to check with Marketo support on the issue if it happens.
Good question to ask yourself: “how would you sell to these people if they were your only audience?”
- Should you eliminate some marketing activities? Probably not. You probably still need to do trade shows, advertisement, etc. However, you can evaluate all roadshows specifically and concentrate on those that are more valuable.
- “Webinars attract a lot of unqualified people”
- ABM is not scalable, as “going an extra mile” for an account is not possible on larger scale
- Interesting approach in Germany: sending a postcard and then following up with an email if the person received the postcard
- LinkedIn has great targeted advertising
How to analyze success of marketing programs?
- Immediate: engagement with people who are Interesting and Targeted
- Interesting people: anybody who fits a target profile
- Targeted people: anybody who is associated with the targeted account
- The numbers are smaller and cost per engagement is higher. This is OK, as you are optimizing for the people that matter.
- Long term: revenue attribution in Marketing Automation System
When the deal is completed, the customer need to be educated to assure retention. Interesting: traditionally, this part was not a marketing domain, but it is coming more and more into focus.
After education, identification of cross-sell opportunities becomes more important.
Interesting differences in nurturing approach
Account-based advertisement can be used to better allocate budget; targeted prospecting requires more efforts, but makes sense if the accounts are valuable. Some of examples of targeted prospecting could be:
- personalized video sent by email
- personalized research that can be picked up if the person from targeted organization stops by the company’s booth at the trade show
- a “book club” consistent from executives of targeted companies, who periodically receives business books from the company
SpiceWorks give their new customers a mix playlist – created specifically for a particular account.
ABM makes sense…