In years gone by, marketing automation was the focus in cementing lead generation. It was a simple process; contacts enter the pipeline, automated emails generate leads for you and they then turn into revenue. However, that just isn’t cutting it anymore, Forrester discovered that less than 1% of leads turn into revenue! A number of factors are responsible for the downfall of traditional lead generation; there are more stakeholders involved in purchasing decisions now than there used to be, prospects are less inclined to fill out forms for gated content and are sick of getting automated emails and quite frankly, I don’t blame them. Companies are finding it increasingly hard to build a pipeline solely using marketing automation tools, so what can you do instead?
Personalisation is now the key, prospects are more likely to respond to a warmer outreach than a cold call, and the more personal the touch, the better. So avoid getting left behind and switch to an Account-Based Marketing approach.
What is ABM?
Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is a marketing strategy that takes the traditional sales funnel and flips it on its head. Where normally marketing would target as many prospects as they could, account-based marketing sees the marketing team lock onto specific targeted accounts; quality over quantity, if you will. Think of it as moving from casting a net to spear fishing. You will create an ideal customer profile (ICP) that encompasses the perfect prospect and create a key accounts list based on this. Furthermore, you will gather intent data on these companies to see if they are in a buying window. From here you can start building personalised campaigns for these accounts.
Ensure Your Message Doesn’t get Lost in the Crowd
One of the problems of using traditional marketing automation for lead generation was standing out amongst the noise. ABM is a great method for implementing some personality into your messaging. Regardless of industry, there’s always competition; prospects are bombarded with products and services, so yours needs to stand out! Prospects can get hundreds of emails a day, so they’re hardly going to pay attention to an automated one, but a personalised video that speaks directly to them? That’s a different story. Reach out to your prospect in personalised ways: emails, videos messages, hand-written postcards for example. Intelligent Demand found that 40% of prospects who considered content to be tailored to them would be more likely buy from that company. Personalisation demonstrates that you are dedicated to the prospect, educated on their company, and worth doing business with.
Bring Sales and Marketing Closer Together
It’s imperative that marketing and sales are aligned for account-based marketing to succeed. If they’re on the same page, you increase productivity, as the opportunities marketing are generating are all relevant to sales, because they fit the ICP. According to Hubspot, misalignment between sales and marketing wastes $1 trillion worth of marketing spend each year. Less time spent with the wrong prospects, means a better ROI on your marketing investment. Companies generate 208% more revenue from their marketing spend when their sales and marketing teams work closely together (HG Data).
Strengthen Existing and Future Relationships
So how does ABM affect prospects and customers? 84% of marketers said ABM had a significant impact on retaining and expanding existing client relationships (HG Data). In taking a more personal approach, not only are you more likely to reach your prospects, but you’re more likely to create a business relationship with them. Furthermore, if you approach existing customers with the same care and attention as prospects, this will lead to stronger relationships and they’ll become advocates. Advocacy is the stage of ABM where your customers become fans of your company. Through the use of testimonials and customer stories, you can use your current customers to help gain other customers.
Your Competitors are Getting a Head Start
Marketing is evolving, your competitors are adapting and you need to adapt too, in order to survive.
72% of companies plan to increase what they spend on ABM and in 2017 ABM funding increased by 23.5% (Itsma). Your competitors are likely to be part of the 72%, but may well fall into the 23.5% – if they do, then they are leaving you behind. In a head to head battle, if a prospect is contacted by both your company and your competitor who has implemented an ABM strategy, more often than not you’re going to lose out, as companies using ABM campaigns for their marketing achieve 10% higher win rates (BrightFunnel).
ABM requires a commitment, but the benefits of implementing it are clear to see. After a year of using ABM, 60% of people reported a 10% revenue increase, 19% saw a rise of 30% and up and 43% of people using ABM for 3+ years reported that it was impacting their entire funnel (LinkedIn & Intelligent Demand). So don’t hang about, get brainstorming your ABM strategy, so you can start saving time and improving your marketing ROI!
A great way to start implementing ABM is by aligning your sales and marketing teams. You can read more on how to do that by checking out our other blog, ‘Smarketing: Solving Your Sales and Marketing Divide’.
If you have any questions about where to start, feel free to get in touch! For further reading on ABM check out our blog, What is ABM?!