By Natalie Boyd
More than 15 years after the phrase was coined, account-based marketing (ABM) is still trending among enterprise-level sales organizations. A study by SiriusDecisions found that 92 percent of B2B marketers consider ABM to be “extremely important” to their overall marketing efforts. Compared to other approaches, account-based marketing is personalized, delivers obvious ROI, shortens the sales cycle, reduces attrition, and aligns sales and marketing teams behind a common strategy. Before we dig into examples of account-based marketing, let’s cover some ABM basics.
What Is Account-Based Marketing?
Account-based marketing is a targeted business strategy that treats an individual prospect as a “market of one.” Rather than casting a broad spotlight on “the industry,” marketers focus on the various stakeholders within the organization. High-value accounts are identified, key personnel are targeted, and marketing strategies are implemented across channels to appeal to the unique personas (yes, buyer personas are essential for effective ABM) and needs of these distinct entities.
The Benefits of Account-Based Marketing
Although it sounds like a lot of time and effort for one individual client, statistics reveal the numerous benefits of account-based marketing:
- After two years, 89% of marketers report a higher return on investment from ABM than from traditional marketing initiatives.
- Companies practicing ABM generate 208% more revenue for their marketing efforts.
- 91% of ABM marketers see a larger average deal size, with increases of more than 50%.
- In a survey of individual stakeholders, 40% said they are more willing to buy from suppliers who tailored content to their specific needs than from suppliers who didn’t.
- Nearly one-third of marketers reported more than 100% greater engagement with C-suite targets when working in an account-based manner.
- ABM reduces up to 50% of wasted sales time on unproductive leads.
Most marketers witness the meaningful results of ABM in a matter of months. But for some accounts, it can take several years, so it’s important to start with the kind of tested, tried, and true approach you’ll find in any of the following three examples of account-based marketing:
Three Examples of Account-Based Marketing Worth Trying
1. Leveraging Social Media
Social media is a tactful way to gain information about target buyers before meeting with them. Social listening identifies pain points and challenges, while liking, commenting, and sharing shows early engagement and boosts credibility. HubSpot’s Social Inbox makes it easy to stay on top of target decision-maker accounts. Content can then be developed based on what prospects are looking for or sharing.
Direct messaging is no longer viewed as a “lazy” method of contact—but rather, as an in-tune way of contacting prospects wherever they are. Avoiding the direct sales pitch through this channel is still important, but social media remains a great way to make a personalized first impression.
2. Lunch and Learn
There’s nothing new about “wining and dining” as a strategy for winning business, but marketers are combining this old classic with newer modes of presentation to appeal to busy prospects. Instead of simply inviting prospects to attend your webinar or masterclass, why not send a pizza, lattes and donuts, or a catered lunch for prospects to enjoy with the show?
This strategy boosts attendance rates and improves attentiveness. Of course, having compelling content, with a strong call-to-action and customized landing page helps with engagement, too. Lunch and learn may be employed with initial prospects, at times of renewal, or when reengaging at-risk accounts. In a real-world example, BMC tripled their webinar attendance with a lunch and learn powered by eatNgage. It was also noted that attendees remained connected throughout the entire webinar.
HubSpot Academy "Prof Tip"
"The great thing about ABM is its mandate to focus on a select number of specific companies. You don't have to design a campaign that will resonate broadly across companies. Instead, you can get creative in designing a campaign that will resonate deeply with just one company."
- Kyle Jepson, Senior Inbound Sales Professor
3. Templated Videos, Customized by Sales
One of the challenges of ABM is how to conserve time and resources. Creating a templated video for sales to personalize makes it easier to scale ABM content. Personalized content typically includes the use of the prospect’s first name, business title, or company name—clearly visible in the thumbnail image for the video.
Simply customizing the video headline can increase engagement up to 500 percent. Digging deeper, marketers should begin the presentation by sharing relevant customer success stories that speak to the prospect’s individual pain points. In one real-world example, Vidyard ran a personalized holiday campaign with a click-through rate that was 157 percent higher than the industry average.
Ready to Get Started with Account-Based Marketing?
It’s easy to see how building an ABM strategy that converts a dream list of big clients can be worth its weight in gold. Account-based marketing has the potential to change everything for B2B marketers. The first steps begin by refocusing sales and marketing teams on the personalization agenda, followed by researching and prioritizing major prospects, determining the best marketing channels, and creating one-to-one content that speaks to pain points and persuades.
Closing the deal requires innovative account-based marketing, like in the examples listed here. Testing and improvement will continue over time to fine-tune the strategy down to a sales pipeline science.