The phrase “account based marketing” or ABM is thrown around a lot, but how much do you really know about it and is it the right approach for your company?
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 36 seconds
As inbound specialists, we believe that inbound marketing and account based marketing (ABM) strategies work hand in hand. The inbound philosophy offers people the right information at the right time. Attracting all people who are searching for a particular topic/product. We feel that account based marketing, while similar, is a more targeted approach and provides laser focus by targeting our content so that the right prospects see it - and ideally prompts them to start searching for more information.
The idea behind an inbound approach to an ABM strategy is finding those big fish that your company would love to bring on board as customers, and finding non-interruptive or inbound ways to speak to their business. We build ABM strategies for our clients while still keeping the inbound philosophy in mind - this allows us to create strategies that are highly targeted, personal, and ultimately successful.
Let’s start with the one question we find many ask, but most don’t really know the answer to:
What is account based marketing (ABM)?
In a nutshell, ABM is a philosophy where B2B business would choose to target key companies and then find ways to “get in front of” those specific companies. Understanding companies that are an ideal fit for your business and then building a specific campaign that allows you to reach the relevant people in that organisation. At Spitfire Inbound, we always keep the inbound methodology in mind whether we are working on strategies for marketing, sales, or service teams. With that in mind our ABM strategy is built around our buyer personas and integrates with an inbound marketing strategy.
How is ABM different from inbound and traditional marketing?
Darren Leishman equates inbound and traditional marketing to fly fishing vs dragnet fishing. In traditional marketing (like dragnet fishing), you’re happy to go out to the river and throw out a net to catch as many fish as possible. You might pick a specific part of the river and even a specific species of fish, but it’s still a very wide net you cast. Inbound marketing (as Darren points out in this article), is much the same as fly fishing because it ensures you’re hooking the fish you really want to satisfy your business needs.
With ABM though, you become even more focused. You’ll go out with a goal of catching not just a particular type of fish, but ones that meet specific criteria like colour and minimum weight. You know it’s worth spending the time focusing on catching those fish because the ramifications for your business are significant.
How is inbound marketing similar to account based marketing?
Like inbound marketing, an ABM strategy aims to build valued relationships with the aim of attracting a high-value customer.
Here are a few similarities between the two approaches:
Both strategies aim to attract target customers in a way that win their trust rather than being pushy and invasive.
Both Inbound marketing and account based marketing use tools like social media, content marketing, and email marketing tactics - but the way these tools are used may be slightly different.
Personalisation is key to both of these strategies.
The customer should be at the centre of either strategy.
Why is account based marketing so important for B2B businesses?
Customer experience is changing the way businesses are functioning and it’s no longer about leads and conversions, but more about engagement, and ensuring that the customer’s experience exceeds expectations... and the customer experience starts before they are even a customer. By using an ABM approach you’re aligning your sales and marketing teams to research and target prospects you know will be a good fit for your company, not just for the initial sale but also ensuring you understand what they want and what will keep them on the books.
Account based marketing is a targeted strategy that personalises the experience to key contacts in a target organisation. It is a useful way to get noticed by companies that would benefit from your product and maybe don't even know it yet.
Four factors to consider with account based marketing
Have you identified target prospects that you would like to approach?
Are your marketing and sales teams aligned and working together to understand your target prospects?
Do you have the resources needed to target those prospects?
Will landing those deals give you the required return on investment?
Remember, ABM is about identifying the perfect fit and working to make them your customers. So if you offer an inexpensive product where you need to make several deals a month to balance the books, ABM might not yield enough of a return.
Account based marketing is all about planning and you should be planning well in advance to make sure that everyone is aligned and that you have enough time in your sales cycle to close the deal. Try using our handy Marketing Calendar to start planning your year ahead.
Or talk to us to discuss how we can help you build an Inbound ABM campaign.