Why Account Based Marketing Is Only Part Of The Story In B2B Success

Why Account Based Marketing Is Only Part Of The Story In B2B Success

In this guest post, MD of comms consultancy firm Hotwire Australia Jaime Nelson (main photo) says account based marketing must capitalise on the bigger picture of your communications to deliver impact and trust…

Marketing to businesses is far more than building a case for ROI or having a good relationship with a client. The days of logical and formulaic b2b communications don’t cut it anymore. You need insight, data, an understanding of intent, and a strategic lens to wrap your efforts around for the long haul.

Marketing investment decisions are based on many factors that can be incredibly specific to a brand’s procurement and financial departments, as well as its corporate culture. To deliver success with large-scale accounts or clients, marketers need to work harder than ever to bring together the interfacing worlds of communications, content, and client-specific targeted engagement.

Selling to business has become a nuanced process – especially when a single customer can account for double-digit percentages of your sales funnel. When the stakes are high, and each client win or loss can represent your next “make or break”, it’s critical to ensure your sales and marketing leverages every asset and tool across the communications mix. Isolated marketing and mixed messaging in market can quickly become the enemy of developing credible and trusted rapport.

The rise of Account Based Marketing for b2b sales and marketing:

Enter the rise of Account Based Marketing (ABM). While the approach of channelling marketing and communications efforts to specific clients and organisations is nothing new – it has been around for decades – the application of ABM has experienced a renewed focus recently.

In fact, between 2020 and 2021 a global survey of 1,500 marketers from Hubspot revealed that ABM adoption rose by 15 per cent and is now being used by around 70 per cent of marketers. However, with any emergence of a model like ABM, there are going to be iterations and interpretations.

Just what is ABM? While it can mean slightly different things to different people, it boils down to a highly focussed strategic approach to high-value or priority accounts. Think of a single client or lead as an entire market – a ‘one-to-few’ focus rather than a cross-sector or industry strategy.

There have been a few factors at play in driving uptake in ABM but it ultimately comes down to our ability to track customer intent with relevant data and insights that help us build better and more personalised engagement models. The tech to make it all happen is also more accessible and cost effective than ever before. The time for ABM has never been more appropriate for b2b marketing.

Through Hotwire’s own recent industry report, the ABM model has proved incredibly successful for those that execute well. We spoke with 12 incredible marketing leaders in technology from around the world for their perspective on how ABM has worked for them. What stood out across the board was the proven impact of integration and a focus on the role of earned communications. And lessons are also being learned by observing some of the big players in b2b tech.

ABM is effective, but should not (and cannot) be used in isolation:

While ABM can certainly help focus resources, it needs to be applied in a cohesive and informed manner across the communications channel. One of the biggest pitfalls in ABM is when a strategy loses sight of how it plays into your wider communications program. Just as we focus, we must also maintain a wide lens for what our customers – who are human like you and me! – are going to read, observe and think across the communications landscape – this includes, owned, earned, paid and social.

While your prospects are receiving targeted marketing and communications through ABM, you know just as quickly they will be running a search of your product, brand, company values, or seeking out credible third party published media coverage. If your ABM messages are not reflected across the search or earned media landscape, your chances of access could be diminished.

While tech rightfully dominates the agenda for many sales strategies and is core to success in ABM, we’re still speaking to humans who have their own lives beyond their role, company or organisation. Our customers have pain points of their own, they research on their own, and they shape opinions by what they read beyond direct channels. It is therefore critical to understand how you can engage them with issues, topics, and conversations that they will genuinely be interested in learning about.

So, as you embark on your next investment in reaching your priority clients, take time to consider how you will apply ABM and where it fits with your existing programs. ABM can be incredibly effective and efficient but requires the support of credible conversations driven through a broader communications strategy.

What your audience is reading, thinking, and feeling, all play into making targeted ABM comms, impactful and relevant.

Download our latest eBook to accelerate your ABM success today.

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