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8 Account-Based Marketing Takeaways from #ITSMA15

Author Sangram Vajre Category Account-Based Marketing

This week, B2B marketers gathered in Cambridge, Massachusetts for the ITSMA Marketing Vision 2015 Conference. One thing I learned at the event? These days, you can’t talk about B2B marketing without including account-based marketing in the conversation.

We loved watching all the Tweets and seeing everyone get excited about the topic. In case you missed it (or just want to relive the highlight reel), we wanted to bring you eight of our favorites and share why we picked them.

1. Account-based marketing is a marathon, not a sprint.

Something I see commonly is marketers who are still focused on lead generation as a primary goal and expect ABM solutions to bring them quick wins. The honest truth is ABM will bring you fewer leads, but more revenue and higher quality customers that will stay with you longer.

2. Technology has made executing ABM campaigns easier than ever before.

In the past, account-based marketing was largely a manual process, and connecting the dots between your results was difficult. Today, though, there are enough ABM tools on the market that G2 Crowd has even created the first-ever account-based marketing category. Implementing an ABM program is a much less monumental task with tools that make it easy to get started.

Recently, Terminus partnered with 35+ other ABM solutions to form the Account-Based Marketing Cloud. Take a look to see a list of the top ABM tools in the market, from data providers and analytics tools to advertising platforms and customer success solutions.

3. Marketing and sales alignment is critical to ABM success.

As Andrew Harris tweeted at ITSMA, transparency is crucial in B2B sales. Here at Terminus, we have a weekly “smarketing” meeting to ensure our sales and marketing teams are on the same page and working towards the same goals. I also personally spend a great deal of my time sitting in the sales room listening to calls to make sure I truly understand what our prospects and customers are looking for in an ABM solution, and I encourage the rest of the marketing team to do the same. And let me tell you, it makes a huge difference.

4. No two B2B buyer journeys are alike.

One of the reasons I created the #FlipMyFunnel Movement is that I realized that every buyer journey is unique. The one similarity? Today’s B2B buyer demands personalization and wants communication to be on their terms.

I recently led a workshop about the flipped funnel model and asked the attendees to draw their current funnel. Everyone’s funnel was different, and the collection looked a lot like the slide in Fred’s Tweet above.

Fortunately, the flipped funnel model is ideal for every B2B company. That’s because it involves focusing your marketing dollars on the best-fit accounts that match your ideal customer profile (ICP) rather than throwing your money at marketing channels and hoping for the best. If you’d like to look at an account-based marketing strategy more closely, check out the Account-Based Marketing Framework.

4. There are humans within accounts. Market with this in mind.

One of the first lessons I learned as a B2B marketer is that you are never really marketing to a business. You’re marketing to an account full of (real, human!) decision-makers, each with their own persona and challenges. Pretending that every person in an account is the same will be a death sentence to your sale. Personalizing your message to each buyer persona is the way to go because it provides more value to your customers and helps your sales team close the deal.

5. The traditional B2B marketing funnel is dead. ? It’s time for #FlipMyFunnel.

There are many marketing technology landscapes out there, but there’s the one that makes the most sense for account-based marketers is the #FlipMyFunnel Account-Based Marketing Stack. The reason I created this stack was because I felt the existing landscapes, while comprehensive, were a bit overwhelming when it came to picking the best marketing technology for ABM. If you’re already using account-based marketing and want to see where you have gaps or overlaps in your martech stack, I recommend using the Account-Based Marketing Stack Grader.

6. Advocacy is an often overlooked part of the customer journey.

I really liked how this Tweet highlights the need for B2B marketers to focus on advocacy through account-based marketing. I don’t have to tell you that the cost of keeping a customer is way less than the cost of acquiring one. Additionally, when customers have a great experience with your brand, it doesn’t take much to get them talking about you to their peers. This helps drive additional best-fit customers into your funnel.

7. More marketing dollars are flowing toward adoption and renewal.

Piggybacking off my last point, B2B marketers finally understand how important it is to create an amazing customer experience. Investing in customer success pays dividends in the long run in terms of the success of your business. The interesting thing here is how companies are focusing on getting customers to consistently use their software, which helps increase the likelihood of renewal once the contract is up.

8. Communicating with customers on their terms has never been more important.

I really couldn’t have said this better myself. The most successful B2B marketers of today are the ones who find a way to be where their customers are and show their message in a way that isn’t interrupting or intruding on the customer’s day-to-day life. Unfortunately, many B2B marketers are still very channel-focused, and customers are demanding more from them. Once again, this is why flipping the funnel is so important for modern marketers.

I can’t say enough good things about the work ITSMA is doing to promote the category of account-based marketing. Seeing the insights from the summit was especially fascinating for me. What were your biggest takeaways? Tell me in the comments below.

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