The energy in Cleveland is electric: With the Browns’ training camp in full swing, we can’t get enough of the pre-season preparation as we look forward to that first gameday kickoff. In order for the Browns to be successful, each player must do his job as it relates to the shared team goal. But if individual players don’t buy into that goal or plan—if they work independently toward their own singular visions—the entire team suffers.
The same is true in business: If your sales and marketing team goals are not aligned, you’ll be less effective. According to Forrester Research, organizations with aligned sales and marketing teams see an average of 32% annual revenue growth, while less-aligned companies see a 7% decline in growth.
Like an all-in team effort, account-based marketing (ABM) is one way to connect the two and drive more effective marketing outcomes. It’s a strategy that targets the relevant people who influence the sales cycle: ABM focuses on an account (i.e., a list of highly relevant prospects). By aligning sales and marketing through all parts of a company’s sales funnel, ABM yields a more personalized approach by making connections with key decision makers and offering content based on their specific role/responsibility or pain point, rather than the same general message blanketing the entire decision-making chain.
While we’ve been loosely using this targeted approach for years, ABM has gained recent momentum because today’s digital tools make it easier than ever to combine sales and marketing in one seamless effort without wasting time and energy bouncing back and forth between departments.
The genius behind ABM is that it treats individual prospects and customers as their very own market—not as an entire industry. It’s a laser-focused B2B strategy that allows us, as marketers, to focus on potential/existing customers within a market, and then deliver personalized messaging that resonates with them, using specific and relevant channels.
This summarizes the basic ABM steps:
- Define high-value accounts/prospects and prioritize based on revenue potential
- Identify key players and decision makers within each organization (do your research)
- Create a content strategy (don’t overlook the value of re-purposed content) for each account
- Develop messaging that speaks to each of these audiences and their specific business challenges; make a personal connection
- Identify key channels best used to communicate with your targets
- Launch coordinated account-specific campaigns that are consistent across all delivery channels
- Test, measure and re-deploy as needed
If you’re not currently using ABM, don’t panic: It can be implemented in conjunction with traditional inbound marketing strategies: When you cast that inbound net and bring in a wide array of contacts, use ABM to help refine that list to high-priority prospects, and then take it from there.
If you’re interested in learning more about ABM connect with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.