Making the Case for ABM

Connect, captivate, and convert with account-based marketing.

With the advent of sophisticated IP-identification and dynamic website personalization solutions, many companies are now refining and perfecting the B2B account-based marketing (ABM) methods that ITSMA first debuted two decades ago.

Unlike broad inbound content marketing campaigns that attempt to capture potential customers from a general pool, ABM applies focused, aligned, outbound sales and marketing resources to highly desired accounts. This approach depends on a collaborative effort that combines— 

  • account insight from sales,
  • personalized content created by marketing, and 
  • IT strategies that support the attraction, identification, and engagement of high-value accounts. 
The results are undeniably impressive. However, full ABM software suites are expensive. And companies simply can’t skimp on the account research and sales/marketing resources that enable a successful ABM effort. 

As a result, B2B marketers who want to implement an ABM program might run into some resistance from sales, IT, or executive decision makers.

Need to convince other stakeholders?

The first step to getting every team on board is to realize that ABM needn’t be an all-or-nothing plan. Plenty of B2B companies use a mixture of ABM and inbound marketing. And within an ABM program, you can implement a mixture of three levels: programmatic, lite, or strategic. 

Each level has different implications and input needs for executive, manufacturing, and sales teams.

For executives

From an executive standpoint, the primary concerns around implementing ABM are cost and consequence. Will the strategy yield adequate ROI? What is the timeline for seeing results? What sort of investment will be required up front? 

Strategic ABM, which focuses considerable effort on individual accounts, is the most time- and resource-intensive option. Yet because this approach is typically applied to “big fish” accounts, success with even one could fund your entire ABM program. If your company has been trying unsuccessfully to land one or two of these big accounts, executives might be willing to give strategic ABM a try. 

Alternatively, consider a programmatic ABM approach, which has lower cost and resource requirements and can be used for a pilot effort that might be more palatable to the C suite.

What to tell them: 
  • DemandBase notes that 60% of ABM users reported revenue increases attributed to its use, with 43% that had used it for three years or more seeing an impact across the entire sales funnel. 
  • ABM encourages the alignment of sales and marketing—another goal for many B2B organizations. DemandBase says that 70% of ABM users enjoy complete or nearly complete alignment.
Where to start: An ABM pilot, using affordable, core ABM technology like CompassABM and either a programmatic effort or a few carefully chosen strategic accounts. A focused pilot can provide an excellent launchpad for a full ABM program.

For sales

ABM requires a high level of alignment between sales and marketing, which can only be a good thing. Still, your sales team might balk at the time required to launch an ABM program—which requires a good deal of input from them to 1) populate your ABM database and 2) help marketing create personalized content. 
If that’s the case, begin with programmatic ABM, which requires very little input from sales beyond a list of accounts and a single unifying factor, such as industry.

What to tell them: 
  • Aberdeen research states that 75% of customers report a preference for the type of personalized sales offers that ABM provides. 
  • Marketing Sherpa reports that 73% of B2B leads are not sales ready. ABM mitigates this issue by directly targeting accounts that have already been vetted by sales.

Where to start: A programmatic push requires minimal time or effort from sales. Yet this type of ABM can quickly begin delivering increased insights, in the form of visitor notification and report digests. That benefit can help bring sales on board for more intensive—and potentially lucrative—efforts.

For marketing

ABM can be resource-intensive. Hopefully, you already have highly focused personas. But you still need to identify and profile target accounts and stakeholders, categorize their priority to your sales team, and create personalized content to support those stakeholders through the entire buying journey. And ABM resides alongside, not in place of, a good content marketing strategy. Is all this work going to be worth the effort?

What to tell them: ABM’s targeted efforts are easier to track than larger, more amorphous inbound campaigns, making ROI easier to prove—a benefit for marketing teams who usually must wait years to prove the ROI of a content marketing program.

Where to start: Evaluate existing content to determine which assets and copy can be utilized to create customized ABM content. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel (with the possible exception of content for strategic accounts). Begin with a pilot program to hone your skills and earn some early wins.

For Developers

Many IT teams are short on resources and long on to-do lists. Understandably, they might be reluctant to add ABM to the list. That might be especially true for ABM software that demands additional user training and adds an entire layer of complexity to web development. 

But a core platform that simplifies the primary requirements of ABM, integrates seamlessly with the existing development platform, and is easy to use can help IT painlessly deliver ABM.

What to tell them: ABM tools are available to mitigate some of the behind-the-scenes work required to implement customized web content.

Where to start: Evaluate tools and solutions, as well as the built-in personalization and customization capabilities of your chosen web platform.

Need more?

Want ideas for designing an ABM pilot? Need details about how a core ABM tool like CompassABM can simplify ABM development for developers and IT? We’re happy to provide additional information or discuss your needs. Contact us anytime.

Get Started with CompassABM