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Account Based Marketing (ABM): What is it and which method is best?

March 30, 2020

Account Based Marketing (ABM) is growing in popularity due to the flexibility and capability of adapting it to any B2B company’s requirements. It is a great way to focus your B2B Marketing and align your marketing and sales teams so they work together to target the most appropriate accounts, generate demand and close deals quicker; 89% of ABM practitioners saw an improvement in conversion rates of pipeline to closed deals for ABM accounts versus non-ABM accounts (2018 State of Account-Based Marketing Demand Gen Report). It is evidently clear that there are many benefits of account based marketing for those using it. However, there is no one size fits all and evaluating the best-use of ABM for your company is critical to see these benefits.

So, what are the different types of ABM, and how do you decide which is best for you? 

Strategic or 1:1 ABM – this is where you’re working with a handful of high-value accounts on an extremely personalised strategy. This form of ABM requires a large volume of research and time to build and put together, and sales cycles are often long and complex.

ABM Lite or 1: few ABM – this form focuses on accounts that are worth investing time and resource into building a personalised strategy but they don’t hold quite the same amount of value as accounts that you would use Strategic ABM for. For this reason, accounts with shared pain points are often grouped together and a collective strategy built.

Programmatic ABM or 1: many – this is the most scalable form and involves targeting a list of 100 – 1000 accounts that share common traits and business challenges that your product or service can support. The key is to try to keep the target list smaller and have the cycle of campaign planning, execution and review short.

The main thing to take into consideration when thinking about incorporating ABM in your campaign, is the choice of the accounts on your target list. Often companies believe they are carrying out an ABM campaign but are just continuing to “spray and pray” because their target list is too big and has no clear division. This could hinder any possible benefits of account based marketing.

Increasingly too, there is more than one decision-maker within an account. Typically, there are now 7 decision-makers to sign off on your average B2B purchase. Getting to the bottom of every person in the decision-making unit, finding out their unique needs and building engagement is fundamental to successful campaigns. “It comes back to ultimately not thinking campaign-first, then account — but account first, then campaign” (Eric Wittlake, a Senior Analyst for the Marketing Practice at TOPO). Consequently, really understanding the accounts challenges and building something that is aligned with the results of the account’s activity is crucial rather than just measuring the one or two contacts you have within an account (Andre Yee, CEO at Triblio in 2018 Account-Based Marketing Demand Gen Report).

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