A Marketer’s Guide to Account-based Marketing

A Marketer’s Guide to Account-based Marketing

At an iConnect conference, American consumer product company Clorox invited marketers to learn about the latest digital trends. But their method was out-of-the-box crazy.

To generate attention from a select group of its brands including Brita, Burt’s Bees, and Hidden Valley, Clorox created 3D tattoo kits for the visitors to use and share during the event. Combining both augmented reality and experiential marketing, this strategy fuelled more than 200 app downloads. Especially since image recognition software and computer vision technology was still an emerging space back in 2017, the project gave attendees the chance to learn more about the ways they can use the technology in their own marketing efforts.

When trying to cast a wide net with their marketing campaigns, B2B marketers hope to appeal to as many target companies as possible. With account-based marketing (ABM), B2B marketers can come up with an alternative strategy that brings sales and marketing resources closer to a clearly defined set of target accounts within a market. It also helps employ a personalised campaign that is designed to resonate with each account. An Alterra Group research found that 97% of marketers said ABM had a somewhat higher or much higher ROI than other marketing initiatives.

Also Read: Digital Transformation – Ready to Take Your First Step?

What is Account-based Marketing?

Jon Miller, CEO and Co-Founder, Engagio says, “Account-based Marketing is a strategic approach that coordinates personalised marketing and sales efforts to open doors and deepen engagement at specific accounts.”

Account-based marketing is a marketing strategy that involves direct marketing to key business accounts on a one-to-one basis as opposed to the one-to-many approach. Account-based data plus technology work together to identify, engage, convert, and measure ROI for key clients and prospects. In other words, marketers look for high net-worth companies or prospects and target key stakeholders through multiple channels in a more personalised manner. The crux of B2B ABM lies in it being focused on a select few but high-importance accounts. Whether active accounts or prospective ones, these accounts are sure to add to a company’s bottom line. Therefore investing time and effort in marketing to these accounts makes business sense.

Also, while marketing to these accounts, a marketer must ensure that their message is highly targeted and relevant to these individual decision makers.  A study by Sirius Decisions shows that more than 70% of B2B marketers are sprucing up their ABM programs and hiring dedicated professionals for account-based marketing.

Also Read: How CMOs Can Lead Customer Experience

How SAP Created USD 27 Million in New Pipeline Opportunities using ABM

The Challenge:

In 2013, SAP faced a challenge specific to its large customer base and an extensive list of services: 10% of the company’s accounts covered in SAP America were responsible for a third of the revenue in the region.“We knew that we were touching them regularly through marketing activity, but what we found when we looked across it was that those marketing touches were not being conducted in a way that was personalised or customised to that account, typically,” says Eric Martin, VP Customer Experience Marketing, SAP.

The Approach:

To better cater to some of its top accounts, SAP implemented an account-based marketing program. The goal was to offer dedicated marketing plans for select accounts. The SAP team discovered that a few heavy-investing customers kept returning again and again. The decided to personalise the marketing experience for these select accounts.

Internal, as well as external experts, helped the team put together an ABM strategy complete with program infrastructure and guidelines

Once the account-based program was proposed and approved, the team then started narrowing down its selection of customers that would best fit this program. When selecting accounts, the SAP team considered three factors – the growth potential of each account, which sales team contacts in the customer organisation were the marketing team introduced to, what amount of cooperation marketing could expect from the sales team.

The SAP team used deep customer insights they acquired through their research and business case stages to build out its bill of materials.

The Result:

After just two years of implementation, SAP saw impressive results from its account-based marketing program. By 2015, SAP had created USD 27 million in new pipeline opportunities which then progressed to USD 57 million down the pipeline.

Also Read: The Customer Genome and the Future State of Personalisation

Marketers are Adopting ABM for Better Performance

Many organisations who have adopted ABM to acquire specific high-value customers have experienced that they have performed much better with an ABM strategy as opposed to the wide-scope approach.

Marketo lists the top benefits of adopting an ABM strategy including, clearer ROI and business results as we have seen in the case study above. Reduced resource wastage as the focus is on specified and targeted accounts, Personalised and optimised communication

Clear tracking of goals and measurement be it with email, ads, web, or events, it’s easier to track and asses smaller set of accounts. It also aligns sales and marketing as both are working on targeted accounts.

ABM works because it utilises high-levels of personalisation, individual focus, accountability and innovative content that are driven by advanced technology that enables marketers to reach a precise target audience.

The Demandbase ABM Platform offers a comprehensive, end-to-end ABM platform that lets you easily discover and manage audiences of target accounts, measure the progress of those accounts and act on them across the entire funnel.

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