Account Based Marketing

As buyers become more strategic in their selection process, sellers must also be strategic in how they engage buyers.

What it is

The goal of Account Based Marketing is to identify a small number of high-value accounts that a seller most wants to win, intensively researching these accounts with the purpose of intimately knowing the issues that matter the most to them, and using that intelligence to customize communications with key stakeholders and decision makers, enabling the seller to win more of them, faster.

According to a2014 IDG study, there were up to 17 people influencing the typical enterprise purchase. As recently as 2011, there were an average of 10. This trend continues, with more and more people involved in the decision making process of especially large ticket items.

The traditional demand generation marketing efforts seem to be working less and less in getting sales reps into larger accounts. As a result, sales organizations are essentially doing their own “marketing” researching these accounts and finding the people they need to talk to.

It may appear that these sales reps are only doing their job. However, finding the right person to talk to in a prospect’s account is and has always been the responsibility of Marketing. However, with buying processes continuing to be more complex, and buyers themselves becoming more sophisticated, traditional marketing approaches no longer seem to deliver on their mandates.

Account Based Marketing (ABM) aims to solve this problem by scaling what the highly successful sales reps were doing to get in large accounts—targeting specific accounts they felt were top candidates, researching them thoroughly to find key insights and initiatives, finding the individuals charged with seeing these initiatives through completion, and touching them with customized messages that capture their attention and arouse their interest, finally leading to a meeting with key decision makers.

This is not a new and novel strategy—it is what really good sales reps have always done.

What is different is that with Account Based Marketing, we can systematize and scale the process so more sales reps can get into more top accounts, more often, and close more deals, faster.

How it Works

Account Based Marketing is a strategic approach that integrates a number of specific activities towards improving sales success with highly valuable accounts. As a practice, it consists of the following seven key activities:

  1. Selecting high value accounts. These are typically no more than 5% of your total target market accounts for Tier 1 ABM, and no more than 25% for Tier 2 ABM.
  2. Understanding the key initiatives and mandates that are top priority within these accounts
  3. Identifying departments and individuals charged with seeing these initiatives to fruition
  4. Mapping and aligning the target accounts initiatives with a solution that the seller provides
  5. Developing highly personalized messages specific to an account and an individual within an account
  6. Deliver account and contact specific interactions
  7. Coordinate these interactions towards a scheduled meeting of key stake holders with your sales rep

The steps are clear and relatively straightforward.

However, each step requires a significant amount of time and effort to complete in order to achieve the desired goals of ABM—accessing more high-value accounts to win more high value deals, faster.

What typically happens is that companies begin an ABM approach, and when they can’t find the time or resources to do it properly, resort back to the traditional demand gen approach of buying a list and sending the same message to all contacts on that list.

A better approach is to run a pilot ABM program first in parallel with traditional demand gen campaigns. ABM is sufficiently different, requiring a different setup, metrics, processes, and even culture.

Ideally, the pilot would be run by an outside agency that already has the process, tools, and skilled resources in place to immediately begin executing on a ABM strategy. Once the pilot ABM program is concluded (typically within 6-12 months) the setup, systems, and resources can be transferred to your company o you bring ABM in-house and scale it.

You can read a case study here.

How we can help

With over 20 years of strategic enterprise sales experience, and having assembled a top-notch research team, key technologies, best practices, and some of the top business development reps in the industry, SOMAmetrics is your partner for successfully piloting your first ABM program.

Please contact us today to discuss how we may be of help in implementing your ABM strategy.