Account-Based Marketing – The Path to Championship for B2B Companies

Every company wants to be the champion of its industry. So does a B2B business. And every tool, strategy, application, or approach is valuable in the process. However, it does not mean that we should use every one of these for every occasion, because then the result can be chaotic. Sometimes, it is much better to limit the perspective and focus on a certain area alone. This is what account-based marketing is all about. Ranging from one-to-one to one-to-few and one-to-many, account-based marketing helps B2B businesses narrow down their target audience and work specifically to attract them. With the right strategy and content, the result can be a perfect win!

Those interested in the Olympic Games have certainly heard about Mete Gazoz - the young Turkish archer who won the gold medal in 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. When asked about the keys to his success, the answer was based upon scientific research on his archery: Using the right technique, developing the right muscle formation, and achieving the right result. The same applies to B2B digital marketing - using the right tools and applications, developing the right strategy, and achieving the right result. And one of the best approaches is to benefit from account-based marketing.

What Is Account-Based Marketing?

Account-based marketing (ABM) is a B2B marketing approach that focuses on narrowing down the target audience. Success in implementing this approach requires joint efforts of both sales and marketing teams, as well as creating the right list of potential customers. Simply put, ABM is all about hitting the bull’s eye!

ABM is not a new concept, yet it is gaining more and more popularity as competition in every market becomes more severe. A Gartner survey held in the earlier stages of the concept of ABM estimated that more than 70 percent of mid- and large-scale B2B marketers would adopt this approach by the end of 2020. Plus, it was believed to be even more important in the IT industry, which has a very large target audience from every sector and thus can be challenging to manage.

This vital role of ABM was confirmed by the Account-Based Marketing Survey by ITSMA (Information Technology Services Marketing Association) in March 2016 , which revealed that 78 percent of responders said ABM is very important to their marketing strategies.

These may be figures from past, however, we now know that they are not prophesies, but highly successful estimates. Hubspot says 70 percent of marketers used ABM in 2021, and 90 percent of companies employed this approach to generate new business. With such a great potential in lead generation, let’s take a closer look at ABM and understand its basic mechanism.

Types of ABM

Although ABM is about narrowing down the focus, there is not a definite number of prospects. However, this approach is generally divided into three types, guiding businesses about where to start.

One-to-one ABM

Also referred to as “Strategic ABM”, this type of ABM obviously focuses on a single prospect – the most desired customer, “the most precious gem”. Requiring a comprehensive and highly customized work on the selected prospect, this type of ABM is the one that requires the greatest investment, but that also has the potential to generate the greatest ROI.

One-to-few ABM

Called “ABM Lite”, it is mostly about focusing on a small group of prospects – generally 5 to 10 companies. The key to success in this type of ABM is selecting the group very carefully and making sure that all companies are in the same industry and with similar sizes, lines of business, and goals.

One-to-many ABM

Also known as “Programmatic ABM”, this type of ABM focuses on a large group of potential customers. Although there is not a certain limit to the number of prospects, we believe it is ideal to keep it at 500 at most. Requiring a well-organized and preferably automated marketing approach, one-to-many ABM needs to follow the stages of lead generation (most importantly lead scoring and lead nurturing) very carefully.

How to Proceed

Regardless of the type of ABM that you choose, there are certain steps you must take to implement a successful process.

  • First of all, remember that you need to have your persona(s) ready before starting the ABM process.
  • Your business goals should be clearly set, as your target audience will be shaped by these goals.
  • You should have a carefully studied list of prospects that share common qualities.
  • You need to find informative data about the companies in the list (social media interactions, events, publications, interests, etc.).
  • Then you should generate the best content and customized messages to address these companies.
  • The next step is finding the best channels to convey your message and launch your targeted marketing campaign via these channels.
  • Finally, it is always best to measure the results of a campaign. Find the areas that failed, that succeeded, and that needs fine-tuning to be more effective.

Benefits of ABM in B2B Marketing

The fundamental principle of marketing is to reach potential and existing customers in the most effective way, with the most affordable budget. And this is what ABM offers in converting leads into customers. With a focused approach, ABM enables B2B companies to manage their marketing and advertisement budgets more efficiently.

ABM also shines in terms of return on investment (ROI). According to Demandbase, companies dedicated 29 percent of their marketing budgets to ABM in 2019 and we are certain that they never regretted it. Here is the reason: Alterra Group says 97 percent of marketers mentioned higher ROI with ABM than with any other marketing initiatives.

In addition, ABM keeps marketing and sales teams aligned, while also reducing their workload. Since it is a well-structured and focused process, both teams benefit from spending their time and energy only on companies that are most likely to become customers.

Such a well-controlled and focused approach makes decision-making processes easier for potential customers, as well. When a company feels that the potential supplier understands its needs and expectations, it does not take long to make up its mind.

In short, ABM keeps a B2B company focused on marketing processes, while also supporting a well-structured marketing budget and journey. This is exactly what every B2B business needs to hit the bull’s eye and become a champion!

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