Why account based marketing (ABM)? Why now?

Account Based Marketing (ABM) is nothing new — it has been talked about since the early nineties. So why has it become the hot topic in B2B marketing now?

Account Based Marketing is the idea that you selectively target the accounts you want to talk to rather than the best practice approach today of driving as many people as possible to your content/website and placing them in a funnel watching for them to show any signs of a buying signal. As soon as they do, they get fired across to the sales team.

Yet everyday, your sales team (and your executive team) understands what the right customer looks like and more importantly the names of those companies. Yet, marketing as it has scaled its operations, has moved in the opposite direction, pushing out content that drives unknown prospects down a funnel where sales picks off the lowest hanging fruit.

That approach works in the sense it is low cost and delivers high quality leads to the sales team. So again. Why ABM and why now?

  1. The need to stand out
    When any new marketing technique or strategy is introduced, there is an uplift to the early adopters. Marketing automation, combined with content marketing was no different. In fact, becoming the lead voice in your market using these techniques was straight forward even five years ago. Today though, the noise generated through content marketing has meant that audiences have started to switch off. The fundamentals of marketing have not changed though and one way to effectively cut through the noise is to increase relevancy or quality. Account Based Marketing allows you to do this through tailoring content and increasing attention to the different individuals in the sales process.
  2. One size does not fit all
    The average B2B sales cycle involves 6.8 people and yet marketing automation does not distinguish between the different types of people in the sales process. As sales and marketing teams become aligned, it becomes obvious that marketing can support the sales process better and increase sales velocity by working together to tailor the messaging for the different people involved. Whilst some of your lowest value leads might continue to deliver through marketing automation alone, your highest value leads benefit from increased conversion. Which brings us on to the last reason for why ABM is increasingly being adopted today..
  3. Technology is helping to make it possible
    Traditional ABM is expensive and means only the largest accounts could benefit from it. It requires increasingly customised content and a greater number of touch points alongside manually managing the account. So more time and more money. Yet large parts of this process can be automated. From targeting the right people up front to managing the marketing and sales process, technology is coming online to help lower the barriers. This is opening up ABM to a wider audience than before.

So the stars are aligning perfectly for ABM — thanks to marketing’s need to stand out from the competition, technology helping to make it more efficient to deliver and of course the overall increase in marketing performance.

This post was originally published on the Radiate B2B Account Based Marketing blog.

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