How do you find information today? I don’t know about you but a lot of times the information I find most relevant is served right up to me. How can they possibly know which events I'll be attending? Or that we've been considering new project management platforms?! Account Based Marketing. The terminology is all over social media and everyone is raving about the power it wields for demand and lead generation. Fair enough - that’s what happens when the new “best thing” comes out. But honestly, ABM is not really a new concept. It’s actually an extension of ad firm tactics from the 60’s that embodies thought leadership from one of advertising’s greats, David Ogilvy, who said:
“Don’t count the people you reach; reach the people that count.” – David Ogilvy
Back then this approach wasn’t called ABM per se but it still had the same strategy behind it; delivering value to the right prospects and clients in the right way, which is still at the heart of effective marketing today. The difference between old school ABM of yesteryear and the modern version is that before, ABM was based mainly on guesswork and now we rely more on data.
Account Based Marketing Circa 2018
ABM is marketing to a universe of one. In B2B that means identifying one target account and developing assets and strategies specifically for the decision makers and influencers within that account. It’s very different from Inbound where you drive demand and leads by marketing to a large (unknown) audience that fits a buyer’s persona that you created.
Why ABM Matters: Vendors and Partners
One word… personalization. When you market to a universe of one, there’s no way to escape making a personal connection. Think about it. Every Channel organization, program and Partner ecosystem is unique. If your goal is to drive more revenue to and through your Channel, it’s important for you the Vendor, to attract the right Partners and for your Partners to access programs that attract and retain the right customers.
Sure, top-loading the funnel with great leads is every company's goal but many of those leads won’t close which makes inbound marketing a quantity-over-quality, numbers game. ABM, however, flips the switch by helping Vendors find the right Partners and helping Partners close deals with cornerstone accounts they need for growth.
Marketing to a Universe of One? That Sounds Complicated!
ABM isn’t overly complicated but it does involve a fair amount of collaboration and alignment between sales and marketing (which is a good thing)! No matter the organization, salespeople should be closest to the market and customers at any given time and should know which accounts to target and why. You’ll see in a minute why “the why” is super important for ABM.
After sales identifies the target account, marketing steps in researches the company, and develops strategies specific to that company. These marketing deliverables are all developed to solve for the original “why” that sales brought to the conversation. And they are developed to address both key influencers and decision makers within that account.
In general, ABM campaigns cover a coordinated, synchronized set of events including:
Social media and other networking and connection strategies
Emails, landing pages, blogs, eBooks and other content development
On and offline, and organic and paid sales and marketing tactics
ABM for Partner Recruitment
As a Vendor, you know it’s critical to find and retain the right Partners. But do you also know your recruitment teams can leverage ABM to laser target the Partners you most want to do business with? Or that in doing so, you effectively shift the 80/20 conversation, focus your team’s time where it makes the biggest impact, and realize incredible Channel growth? It’s true, ABM is powerful for Partner recruitment initiatives.
ABM for Partner Enablement
Channel teams well-versed in ABM are in the best position to help their Partners develop and execute targeted campaigns within targeted accounts. Often you, the Vendor, have more insight into which accounts are worth pursuing through ABM and can offer suggestions to a Partners’ sales and marketing teams. Your team also has a unique market point of view, which adds value, specifically around what other Partners are experiencing. But most importantly, you have dedicated resources to help align internal Partner teams and develop ABM assets and strategies unique to them. To be successful at driving revenue with ABM, Partners need your support.
More on the why - a few tips
It’s important to align sales and marketing teams when working on ABM campaigns. Don’t fool yourself into thinking one or the other will be successful alone.
Set goals and rules. What are you aiming to accomplish and what are the specific criteria that make for an ideal target?
Think long and hard about your value prop and how to weave it into the campaign strategy. With hyper-personalized content, the “what’s-in-it-for-them” has to be crystal clear.
Do your research. Make it your business to know as much about the target account and the people working there as you can before assets are developed and the first campaign tactic is executed.
Gather the data and discover what works and what doesn’t.
We developed and evolved our Managed Marketing Services solutions to encompass Account Based Marketing for Partner enablement and recruitment. If you’re looking for more information about what we see working, contact us, we’re happy to help!