What is Account-Based Marketing or ABM?
Let’s say you have a machine gun and are given a target to shoot at. You would do the best you could with it, but end up spraying far too many bullets for too few hits.
In its place if you had a revolver or rifle, you would aim at each target and take your shots.
This difference between a machine gun and a pistol is a perfect analogy for traditional marketing vs. Account Based Marketing.
Let us first see what traditional marketers do. The first thing to do is to design the messaging and content and then decide on the platforms that will be used. Once that is done, the marketers try to get hold of as many prospects as possible either by themselves, or by getting the visitors to their websites/blogs to sign up forms.
Once this list of prospects is ready to use, the marketers begin reaching out to them with all the messaging platforms at their disposal. The purpose behind this is to hope that as many prospects as possible are converted into customers. So, in a way, the base of the pyramid is created first, after which the marketers move towards the apex.
Account Based Marketing takes a diametrically opposite approach. It starts from specifically targeted accounts and aims to run personalized campaigns directed towards those accounts. Each such account is considered to be a market by itself, and dedicated campaigns are run specific to each such account.
The primary reason this is used specially by B2B marketers is that when it comes to a corporate client, no decisions are taken by a single person. There are several decision makers at different levels, and often there are committees as well. So, the marketing messaging must be designed specifically with their questions and requirements in mind. A standard message that has also been designed for thousands of other prospects will never work.
A traditional marketing approach would usually deal with everything in bulk. There would be lots of emails sent, or a number of blogs written, or page after page of web content created, with the hope that someone would find it useful and attractive. Conversely, ABM would have very less in terms of quantity but would focus more on quality.
ABM is not always directed at likely prospects. In fact, most of the time, ABM is targeted at existing customers. The aim of an Account Based Marketing strategy is to expand the depth of the relationship with that customer. This could be achieved by closing cross sell and upsell opportunities with the account. Additionally, the efforts could lead to further references and leads from the existing client.
Because of this reason, the sales and marketing functions are much better aligned to each other. Normally, the canvas of a marketing team is much wider, while the sales teams are more focused on the specific accounts or clients from where sales can be closed. Since ABM also targets specific accounts, there is a much closer alignment between the teams.