ABM, or account-based marketing, is nothing new in the marketing world. What’s been changing recently is how marketing (and sales) departments implement ABM. According to a research done by SiriusDecisions in 2016, more than 70% of B2B companies had staff wholly or partially dedicated to ABM. So, what influenced this resurgence of ABM and made it into a marketing buzzword?
FirstCut CEO Jorge Soto hosted a webinar with Anne Gherini, VP of Marketing at Affinity.co, and Jen Spencer, VP of Marketing and Sales at SmartBug Media, where the main topic was ABM and the applications of video in ABM campaigns. They shared their expertise and came to some interesting conclusions.
The Basics of Account-Based Marketing
Typically, ABM is a B2B marketing approach for enterprise-level sales organizations with over 1000 employees. One of its primary goals is to understand which accounts to go after in your marketing and sales efforts and do it in a coordinated, strategic way. It’s an omnichannel approach, meaning that it’s useful for ad targeting, email and direct mail strategies, etc. Direct mail, for example, is seeing good use in ABM because it allows your sales team to go after the right prospects. But, at its core, ABM is all about understanding the target market and thinking of ways to engage them.
How Data Makes ABM More Efficient
Today, companies are sitting on a mountain of data. Not all of it will be useful, but it’s crucial for marketers to use what they have accurately. Especially in B2B instances, where your teams are in contact with marketers from other companies, the expectations have shifted to making maximum use of the data.
Customer expectations are evolving as well — what they used to consider “personalized” before, such as a dynamic field or two, no longer works as well as it did. Nowadays, marketing teams need to make sure they are using data to engage customers in a personal way, and that, for example, means knowing what their content preferences are. To do that, they need to track customer content consumption over time, measure engagement with different types of content, and figure out what the ideal material for that customer would be based on the data they gathered.
The Importance of Content
Having the right content that your sales team can use when pursuing target accounts is extremely important. With ABM, the strategy is complicated because you’re targeting individuals within a company. On the one hand, you can’t neglect the entire company, and on the other, you can’t assume that the whole buyer’s committee of that company is at the same stage of the buyer’s journey. Therefore, diversified content is necessary, not only to tailor to a target account’s preferences but also to make sure it guides them from awareness all the way to the decision stage.
How to Use Video
According to recent statistics, a video is on a steady rise and is among the most popular ways of consuming content. For marketers and sales reps, that means video content is a potential gold mine, especially customer testimonials, tutorial and demonstration videos.
During the webinar, Anne Gherini shared a story of how her company repurposed a testimonial video they made with FirstCut by cutting one section that was relevant for drawing in new customers and using that part as a short ad and in emails to highly targeted accounts. The video snippet compared Affinity to SalesforceIQ (a product that was discontinued), which was an opportunity Affinity could use as it is a similar product. This strategy proved to be a huge success, and it shows how useful and versatile video can be as a marketing medium.
ABM to Better Align Sales and Marketing
As sales and marketing begin to rely more on a revenue goal instead of their individual goals of conversion and driving leads, there is less tension in an organization between departments. This kind of cooperation is especially crucial for ABM because it’s impossible to implement successfully if your departments work as silos. Company or account scoring instead of lead scoring is one of the critical things to achieve as marketers won’t have to be compensated based on the number of leads they drive. Jen Spencer suggests an orchestrated strategy with a workflow that involves marketing deliverables and carefully organized tasks. Finding the right target accounts for your team to go after is an integral part of the strategy as well.
ABM is a robust marketing strategy that is seeing a rise in popularity, especially with B2B companies. While ABM is quite strategic in approach and won’t work for everyone, its principles are generally useful to all types of companies and marketers. Video content plays a crucial role in the success of ABM as it can be used in ABM campaigns to improve conversion and engage the right people in the right way.