Over 70 percent of B2B companies employ staff involved in account-based marketing (ABM) programmes, and for good reason. Studies show that a whopping 87 to 97 percent of B2B companies that have adopted this strategy report higher ROIs from ABM compared to other marketing strategies.
So what really is account-based marketing?
What is account-based marketing?
Although the term “account-based marketing” was first coined by ITSMA in 2004, the concept itself is nothing new. The idea of focusing more marketing resources on key accounts—rather than on large masses of potential leads—has been around since the 1960s, when advertising agencies paid special attention to their biggest clients.
While ABM is defined in many ways, it basically refers to a marketing strategy that has all three of these elements:
- Scope: It's concentrated, dedicated and focused, usually on the most valuable clients.
- Object: It's aimed towards clearly defined, specific accounts.
- Nature of its campaigns: It's personalised and relevant to its target audience.
Since B2B firms often target specific large customers, ABM’s personalised, dedicated and account-specific approach fits their needs perfectly.
Account mapping: The cornerstone of account-based marketing
Getting ABM right first requires identifying and profiling accounts to focus on, a process called account mapping. The success of your ABM strategy is highly dependent on this process.
The process of account mapping involves asking the following questions, step by step:
- Which decision makers shall we target within accounts?
- How do we determine the approach to use?
- What are their usual problems, and how do we fix them?
- What is the best way to reach them?
We shall answer these questions one by one.
1. Which decision makers shall we target within accounts?
Find out who makes decisions on purchases. On average, a company with 100 to 150 employees would have at least seven people who make such decisions. As their roles in the decision-making process vary, so should your approach.
2. How do we determine the approach to use?
Start by creating an account map. Now that you have the names of people involved in purchasing decisions, you now have to identify how their organisation makes decisions, each of their roles in the buying process, and how much impact each person’s decisions have. Usually, they are categorised into influencers, buyers, and gatekeepers. You can either do this manually, or through an account mapping software.
You may also differentiate them based on their location or the length of your organisation’s relationship with them.
3. What are their usual problems?
Identify their pain points—their usual problems, challenges, and frustrations. With this information, you can tailor your marketing strategy and establish a solid connection with each target, providing them with specific solutions to their specific problems. This step is important in making your campaigns personalised and relevant to your audience.
4. What is the best way to reach them?
Identify their digital watering holes. Find out their preferred communication channels, whether it’s web, mobile, or email. This may differ depending on their roles and industries, as well as possible restrictions.
Through efficient account mapping tools and strategies, your business can further maximise its ROI and strengthen business relationships.
Ready to get started with Account Based Marketing? Download our free guide “How To Identify And Reach Decision Makers In The B2B Space”.