What is Account-Based Marketing and is it Right for You?
Account-based marketing, also called ABM, is an approach that combines marketing with sales in order to bring about the best possible result. This works by using targeted accounts, which may or may not be previous/existing customers, and gathering as much information about the most important potential customers possible in order to make a sale and encourage a buying behavior.
What is Account-Based Marketing and is it Right for You?
This is often described as essentially “flipping” traditional marketing methods on their heads. Why? Marketing is typically a way to cast a net far and wide. However, ABM hones in on a particular person, creating a crafted approach that will convince them to buy the product.
This changes the agenda and can be thought of as a paradigm shift in the operations of many businesses.
How it Works vs Traditional Marketing
In traditional marketing, you may begin by creating a campaign. Next, you’ll try to get that on as many channels as possible. This campaign might involve a television ad campaign, magazine ads, online adverts (either banner ads or a PPC campaign), or any number of alternative methods to reach as wide an audience as possible. Today, this might also include a content marketing strategy that will use website and blog/vlog content to try and appeal to a wide audience and establish authority.
From there, you will then collect emails or generate a list of leads. You will then approach those leads with a series of generic messages. In other words, you’ll take them through a funnel. Moreover, this will explain the benefits of your product. The goal is to amass interest. It may utilize the AIDA structure:
This takes those individuals from never having heard of you or your products, to be immensely interested in finding out more and eventually wanting to buy.
The ABM approach takes this approach and turns it on its head. You will start by using a marketing team to identify key prospects or existing customers. Who is showing the most engagement? Who has the potential to need the largest orders from you? For example, if you sell paper, then you might be very interested in a lead that has a stationery store, or that produces fliers!
Next, you need to identify the decision-makers and influencers within that organization. Who precisely do you need to speak with? Can you get in touch with them directly? What do you know about them?
From there, you will then go about building a targeted campaign of marketing that will be sent to those contacts specifically. This might be redesigned so as to be unique for every single person you contact. Alternatively, it might be that you look for the common threads between those key, large prospects, and you then design a campaign for those people and those “types” of people.
Is Account-Based Marketing Right For You?
So, is ABM right for your business? The downside to this type of marketing is of course that it involves much more time and effort in order to pursue a single sale. You’ll be doing a lot of research and crafting for every single transaction that you secure. As a result, this can be a jarring shift in approach for companies used to casting a wide net.
That also means that ABM is best suited to businesses that rely on a few very large customers, or that have very high-ticket products. This should go without saying: it makes a lot more sense to chase down each individual sale when those sales are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, versus just a few dollars!
Likewise, ABM tends to work well for businesses that are likely to have recurring orders, or that have a large marketing and sales team.
You might wish to try ABM if you have so far been experiencing lackluster results with more traditional marketing strategies. For some companies, marketing seems to feel like shouting into the void! You may have spent a large amount of money on a campaign and found that it isn’t resonating with anyone.
This type of marketing can increase awareness, but they’re often isn’t that incentive to take people from “Aware” to “Interested.” That’s where a more direct, focused, and personalized approach can come in extremely useful.
How to do ABM Right
The secret to effective Account-Based Marketing is to recognize what makes anyone buy, in any business: and that is emotion. Too many businesses will focus on facts and figures when it comes to selling. They try to use data points in order to drive sales, and they try to look at numbers to see what isn’t working.
In truth, people buy based on emotion. This is extremely true in a B2C setting, but it’s also true in a B2B format – where ABM is more likely to be used. Even if you are talking to a buyer who has no emotional attachment to the business they are buying for, they will still almost always respond to a proposition from a company that seems to care about them, that makes them feel safe, and that responds quickly to questions. Moreover, they will look for companies that will make them look good, and that will help them to improve their business operations.
None of this is to say that data is not important. Particularly important is to track the individual propositions themselves, in order to see who is ready for each stage of marketing, and at what point they are converting.
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