Account-Based Marketing, or ABM, is a B2B strategy that deploys the most effective marketing tactics to engage key stakeholders in targeted accounts. According to What Is Account Based Marketing, Why You Should Adopt It, And How, “ABM doesn’t just call for alignment between sales and marketing teams – it forces teams to align because personalization at the account level requires sales and marketing to be in sync on account-specific messaging.” The result of such ABM-driven alignment? Higher marketing and overall ROI in a shorter time.
Marketing intelligence consultancy SiriusDecisions says that ABM programs achieve 19% faster revenue growth and 15% higher profitability compared to non-ABM marketing initiatives. ABM programs also won 13% more deals and those deals were 21% larger in size, compared to non-ABM efforts, according to SiriusDecisions. Campaign focus and data-driven personalization works to drive marketing ROI.
Implementing a successful ABM program requires aligning multiple functions, from marketing, sales, digital marketing, and demand generation, and more, around those key accounts. This post will explore what ABM is, why it’s become so popular (hint: because it works really well), what it takes to “do” ABM successfully, and the importance of cross-functional alignment when building ABM programs.
Driving ABM success
There are 5 components for implementing an effective ABM program, including: (1) defining program strategy, and gaining alignment; (2) program planning and execution; (3) measuring results; (4) ABM team design and skill development; (5) infrastructure (including marketing technology).
Your ability to execute a successful ABM strategy will depend upon your access to customer data, your ability to leverage that data, and your existing technology stack. Many organizations begin ABM pilot programs at small scale, and then use “lessons learned” to develop scaled-up ABM programs later on.
ABM success takes incorporating relevance and personalization into your outreach to targeted customers. How do you get to relevance and personalization? By leveraging customer data. Every ABM program needs to evaluate content and multi-channel effectiveness through following customer data. ABM success is built upon a foundation of data and analytics to drive customer insights and inform optimal campaign tactics. Data should inform all your marketing tactics, channels, and content types: you just do more of what’s working based on ongoing, data-enabled measurement and analysis of your customer data. This approach is directly connected to revenues and revenue operations (or RevOps).
Alignment and good data are essential for RevOps
Alignment among marketing, sales, lead generation, digital media, and beyond is essential for ABM success and RevOps. You’ll need to share customer data across the organization, gain insights (i.e., business intelligence) from it, then deploy people in different functional areas (especially marketing and sales) to act upon those insights. Data silos and departmental silos are ABM and RevOps killers, pure and simple, while sharing data and coordinating activities across your organization to drive personalization is what ABM and RevOps are all about.
Measuring ABM and RevOps effectiveness takes alignment so you gain full visibility into your customer funnel. Yet SiriusDecisions research shows widespread failure: between 40 and 60% of companies are not tracking critical ABM metrics, which is woeful. This damages your ABM program in two fundamental ways: (1) you can’t drive program optimization if you don’t know what’s working or not, and (2) you can’t make a business case for expanding your ABM program, even if it’s working successfully, if you have no relevant metrics to share with your C-suite leadership team.
Setting up an effective ABM program takes integrating your various systems that collect and leverage customer data, not to mention smashing existing data silos. Begin by analyzing your existing tech stack. Do you have full, across-the-organization visibility into your target customers? RevOps enables you to deeply understand your key accounts and key personas to drive more sales and ABM revenue with the help of deep account intelligence, customer profiling, persona matching, and ongoing data enrichment of target accounts. You need that capability for ABM.
“Companies are making a more concerted effort to take a data-driven approach to identifying target accounts” and creating customer profiles, said Matt Senatore, Service Director of Account-Based Marketing at SiriusDecisions, in an interview with DemandGenReport. A CDP and RevOps helps coordinate all of this work, driving alignment. Moreover, a CDP can help your ABM program identify (via predictive analytics) opportunities for cross-selling and up-selling to key accounts within your ABM program.
“Today, businesses have to process huge quantities of data to derive useful and timely analytics that can help inform customer strategies,” said Tom Davenport, a distinguished professor at Babson College, a research fellow at MIT, and senior advisor to Deloitte. “To ensure the ongoing success of B2B organizations and meet the needs of today’s well-informed customer, it is important to embrace an integrated RevOps strategy with integrated customer data made possible by AI.” This same strategy aligns perfectly with ABM. Focus and personalization drive marketing ROI.
Chuck Leddy is a Zylotech contributing writer.
If you liked this post, check out our recent blog post: How AI and machine learning are impacting B2B: 3 great use cases for CDPs.