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A traditional B2B marketing strategy – you know, the inbound lead generation, targeted demographics and psychographics, or detailed analyzation of carefully calculated metrics can still be risky business. They’re sort of like sowing a field of wheat. A farmer works countless hours, dawn-til-dusk, to cover as much acreage as possible. He’s planting with some abandonment in hopes of harvesting a bumper crop of the highest-quality produce, rooted in richness and saturated in potential.
Mr. Farmer, of course, has taken great care to make sure his conditions are favorable for success, but because of the unknowns – like the weather, the actual seed germination, vigour and size or soil health – success may never come.
Account-based marketing, though, is a more selective B2B marketing strategy. It’s a master gardener carefully nurturing an exotic plumeria in a meticulously controlled environment, and then watching his full-sized celadine flowers bloom just the way he knew it would.
The traditional B2B marketing strategy aims to fill the sales funnel as much as possible. With it, we’re jamming as many prospects inside their proxy of the funnel, whether they really fit or not. ABM, on the other hand, looks to flip the funnel, reaching fewer, but more qualified prospects. We’re limiting the leads in, sure. But on the other hand, the quality of the potential is higher because of the individual care.
According to ITSMA, the team credited with coining ABM, by shifting the funnel, the traditional roles of the sales and marketing teams become relaxed. Boundaries are blurred and collaboration between departments work to provide value – real, tangible value. Teams work together to help clients reach their goals.
If sales and marketing teams are client-first focused, the end result is success for the client and success for your company. So, what ABM principles should you be taking into into 2017 to pump up your B2B marketing strategy?
1. Play well with others.
Sales and marketing must be aligned. Period. They have to share knowledge, information, insights and they have to work together to understand the client’s needs to create a solution that works for the client and drives revenue for their company. Win-win. This focus works to boost revenue in your B2B marketing strategy from existing clients and adding new clients who’ve been carefully identified and qualified.
2. Know your customer. And talk directly to him with the information he wants (and needs).
Good data will give marketers the information they need to tag key accounts to focus on, instead of adopting a shotgun approach to fill a sales funnel with all manner of potential clients.
Who’s searching for your product? What do they need it for? What’s their business objective? What stage of the buying cycle are they in? Analytics will provide insightful information for identifying the customer.
Once identified, the customer can be targeted with specific messaging. Connect with them through direct mail, digital ads, on social media or video, or any channel that resonates. If you’re talking directly to a client, giving them the information they need now, you’re establishing a relationship they’ll value.
3. Technology is your friend.
With sales automation tools available today, marketers can identify key customers at any stage of the buying cycle.
In a cio.com report released last spring, Noah Elkin, painted the picture of how technology can empower ABM. “Automation enables marketers to do ABM at scale, with software tools for managing leads and relationships, scoring leads, providing predictive analysis and delivering targeted content creation, coupled with programmatic advertising techniques that let marketers target identified accounts and individuals at whatever stage of the buying process they’re in.”
Technology tools to manage data culled from web analytics, lead generation or email tracking, let marketers to identify prospects. And they can deliver a customized message based on real data to an individual client.
You know who your customer is because you have technology and data to give that information to you.