Before I joined the Terminus sales team in the fall of 2015, I was all about lead-based marketing. Can you blame me? Over the past five years, B2B companies have gone all-in on marketing automation, which has helped cement lead generation as their primary marketing goal.
Sure, I had heard of account-based marketing. I understood that it involved identifying best-fit companies and targeting them with personalized messaging. But coming from a lead-centric environment, I didn’t understand why or how to make account-based marketing an immediate priority. I’m willing to bet this rings true for every marketing team that has success with lead gen.
Account-based marketing doesn’t require starting from scratch.
For me, the breakthrough came when it clicked that ABM doesn’t replace lead gen. Instead, it enables teams to complement traditional sales and marketing methods with a strategic, targeted, account-based approach.
So, where does ABM fit in a successful B2B marketing strategy? How can your team implement — and see value from — account-based marketing without disrupting your current workflow or rethinking your entire organizational structure?
During my time at Terminus, I’ve spoken with progressive marketers from hundreds of B2B companies. I’ve found that one goal the most successful marketers share is elevating the role of marketing to an ROI-focused function that concentrates on opportunity generation, pipeline velocity, and revenue generation.
This doesn’t require restructuring your team, but it does require a bit of internal rebranding. Chances are, your marketing team is currently seen as a lead generation machine. It’s time to reposition it as a revenue generation machine — and lead gen is just one piece of that puzzle.
If you’re not ready for account-based marketing, it’s time to get ready.
When I speak with prospective clients, I sometimes hear things like, “Account-based marketing isn’t a priority,” or “This is something we can worry about down the line.”
But if you’re not doing account-based marketing because you think you’re not ready, then you’re leaving money on the table. From missed revenue opportunities to wasted marketing spend, there are tangible costs of not getting on the ABM train early enough.
6 Consequences of Delaying Account-Based Marketing
1. You’ll fall behind your competitors.
ABM is a process and not a technology, so there will be a bit of a learning curve before you develop proficiency. Adopting ABM now will allow you to start learning and seeing early benefits today while putting you lightyears ahead of your competitors. By the time they get started, you’ll already have a mature account-based marketing strategy.
2. You’ll waste a significant chunk of your marketing budget.
When you select marketing channels with the primary goal of generating leads, a lot of your budget ends up going towards leads that will never become customers. Take Invoca, for example. They used to rely primarily on lead-based marketing, but they weren’t getting the most out of their budget. Julia Stead, Director of Demand Generation, says, “We were wasting a lot of time and money on display advertising to prospects that weren’t really the right fit for us.”
Account-based marketing solved this problem for Invoca because it allows them to proactively target people who fit their ideal customer profile and maximize the impact of their marketing budget. By agreeing on which accounts to target, you’ll no longer have to spend time and money blasting messages to the wrong people.
3. Your marketing messages will get lost in the noise.
With traditional B2B strategies, it’s easy for your marketing messages to get drowned out. In part, that’s because it’s harder to ensure they are relevant to each individual and company when your targeting abilities are limited.
That’s where ABM comes in.
Here’s a great example. When WP Engine did a split test on a list of a target accounts — using ABM to serve digital ads to half of those accounts — they had incredible results.
- The open rates on their SDR outreach emails increased from 27% to 43%.
- They saw a 28% increase in opportunities generated.
- Brand awareness skyrocketed. People were even coming up to them at events to say, “I keep seeing you everywhere online!”
Learn more in their presentation from SiriusDecisions TechExchange 2016.
4. Your marketing and sales teams will never really be on the same page.
A common set of tools for your B2B sales and marketing teams — such as a marketing automation platform that integrates with your CRM — is instrumental in improving transparency and alignment. But the bottom line is that technology alone is not going to align the teams.
Instead, you need to shift to an account-based mindset to make sales and marketing best friends. Rather than marketing funneling leads to sales and sales complaining that the leads suck, ABM ensures everyone shares common goals at the account-level: opportunity generation, pipeline progression, and revenue generation within target accounts. And this, my friends, is smarketing.
5. You’ll lose out on deals because you don’t have the resources to engage with key stakeholders.
Right now, your sales team is losing deals because they don’t have the capacity to engage every stakeholder at their accounts. Even if they had all the contact information they needed, there simply wouldn’t be time to connect with everyone.
But with account-based marketing, technology can supplement your sales team’s efforts. Using ABM tools like Terminus, you can expand your smarketing reach to include all decision-makers at your target accounts, not just the ones in your CRM.
“Through running a single campaign with Terminus,” Tyler explains, “we were able to revive over 35 different opportunities with those previous dead ops.”
6. Your marketing team will struggle to prove ROI.
Of course you’re already measuring the ROI of your B2B marketing campaigns, but being able to do so at the account level is a game-changer. It’s much easier to attribute revenue to marketing efforts when you have an account-level view of marketing touches. Click here for an awesome list of ABM tools that will help you do this.
How to Get Started with Account-Based Marketing
We’ve been doing account-based marketing since day one at Terminus, so we know from experience that it works. (Bonus: check out our blog post 3 Ways Terminus Uses Terminus Account-Based Marketing to learn more about how we use ABM.)
You can begin adopting account-based marketing in your organization by rebranding your marketing team as a revenue generation machine. Then, read How to Get Started with Account-Based Marketing to get tips for rallying your entire B2B company around ABM.
Is your company using account-based marketing? If not, what’s standing in your way? Let me know in the comments.