The ROI Argument for Account-Based Marketing

March 27, 2018

Editor's Note: This guest post is authored by Gil Allouche, CEO at Metadata.

If traditional marketing was all about volume and mass appeal, today’s digital marketing is defined by personalization and precision. Brands don’t want to waste time and marketing dollars on consumers with no interest in their business.

As digital marketing evolves, this move toward precision is growing more glaring. But it’s also opening doors to marketing ROI like most brands have never seen before. And this movement has led to a wave of B2B brands embracing an approach known as account-based marketing.

The strategy by ABM is simple: Instead of marketing to a large audience and hoping to attract new clients, businesses first make a list of companies that would make great potential clients. Then, after prioritizing this list of prospects, businesses develop a custom approach to each business, hoping their pitch speaks to the organization’s specific needs.

The goal of ABM is to concert an organization’s resources on the highest-value prospective customers possible. There’s plenty of incentive to adopt this strategy and follow it to success: Many organizations embracing ABM are seeing unprecedented ROI for their efforts.

Personalized Outreach

For prospective clients, the primary appeal of ABM is its personalization. Businesses using ABM choose prospects individually and tailor a custom outreach strategy specific to each prospect. If you’re a client on the receiving end, you get the benefit of a vendor or potential partner coming to you with a personalized pitch that speaks directly to your pain points.

Even if you’re not sure you’re interested in what they’re selling, it’s hard to turn away from that kind of attention to detail. The very nature of account-based marketing creates a platform where businesses can use specificity to build interest and spark a larger conversation about what your company offers to the client.

If this approach feels backwards compared to other modes of marketing, that’s because it is. ABM utilizes a flipped-funnel approach that starts with the target account and works to close a conversion from there. Instead of burning up resources to target a broad range of clients through somewhat relevant topics and pain points, account-based marketing concerts all of its effort on a small group of highly-targeted prospective accounts.

The ROI of this approach depends, to a great degree, on your ability to research potential leads and score them according to their likelihood of converting, your ability to reach those potential leads with personalized offers, and the estimated value of that conversion. But assuming you do your homework, this personalized approach can pave the way for big results.

Efficient Operations for Sales and Marketing

Proponents of ABM highlight its natural role in bringing sales and marketing closer together, forcing them to collaborate on developing and executing sales and marketing strategies. According to research from Bizible, marketers are 40 percent more likely to say they’ve aligned their strategy with sales thanks to account-based marketing.

By putting these teams together on individual accounts, sales and marketing can coordinate their outreach to avoid redundancies and ensure client engagement is conducted in a high-value, meaningful manner.

Meanwhile, marketers benefit from a streamlined approach that lets them abandon a far-and-wide marketing strategy in favor of carefully chosen accounts. With resources focused on a select handful of targets rather than scattershot marketing campaigns, marketing can now focus on orchestrating and automating their digital marketing efforts. Forward-thinking marketers are turning to next-generation demand gen platforms that use artificial intelligence and machine learning to orchestrate their campaigns and exponentially increase their offer and channel experimentation. This ensures that they are getting the right messages to the right account prospects with the greatest ROI potential.

This selective, automated approach to marketing reduces the workload placed on the marketing team, and saves staff precious time while preserving limited marketing dollars. More efficient spending, and a higher threshold for returns, brings us to ...

A Cold, Hard Return-on-Investment

Account-based marketing isn’t a passing fad. According to a survey from the Information Technology Services Marketing Association, 84 percent of businesses using account-based marketing report that this strategy offers higher ROI than other marketing campaigns. B2B brands see ABM as a gateway to the efficiency and performance often associated with digital strategy.

This ROI also compounds itself over time, as insights into your ABM performance identify content channels and strategies that are effective at moving prospects down the funnel. These insights can also reveal areas where your content and/or approach to prospects is failing to gain traction, or even turning them off.

Conversations about ROI are moot if you lack the necessary measurement tools. ABM can be a complex marketing strategy in that regard, because organizations need analytics tools that can pick apart complicated, multi-channel outreach to identify strengths and weaknesses in your efforts to close the deal.

Some of the requirements for effective ROI measurement are tools you’ll need to launch any ABM strategy. A CRM integrated with marketing automation software is essential. Make sure these solutions either offer analytics tools within the platforms or can integrate seamlessly with third-party analytics vendors.

Even on a small scale, tracking the necessary data points and uncovering insights to improve your ABM strategy will be impossible without measurement tools by your side. If you’re shopping for your own custom analytics tool, consider a vendor that specializes in ABM analytics, giving your marketers the best possible foundation for success.

Over a relatively short period of time, account-based marketing has demonstrated its ability to improve marketing spend while increasing conversion rates and driving better ROI. The question is whether marketers are willing and able to put in the work.

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