Account-Based Marketing (ABM)

ABM – Account-Based Marketing is a strategy for B2B companies to actively engage with a specific number of potential clients in a highly personalized way. 

ABM vs. Inbound

It is often set against inbound marketing that targets a larger pool of people using passive techniques.


InboundABM
AudienceLarge, basically anyone, so often includes people that aren’t potential buyers.Limited by Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), decision-makers in the companies that need your product/service.
StrategyBuild web + content environment and wait for the audience to come, some of them will be your potential clients. Study market, define your ICP, identify companies that match it and actively go after them. Don’t wait, start the conversation instead.
MessageContent-specific.Personalized (using sales intelligence data).
ExamplesContent (website, blog, videos, events), SEO, SMM.Outreach via email, phone, offline, social networking websites.
Marketing MixInbound is recommended for every company on the market. B2B companies with high ACV, multiple decision-makers, and consultative sales process.

Although ABM is set against Inbound, they are not the only two options to choose from. We’d rather consider Account-Based Marketing as a must-have strategy for B2B companies that want to increase the ROI of their sales process. 

An ABM approach is advisable when pursuing clients of substance. Some call it targeting the must-win logos on your dream client list. Interestingly, ABM may be the best way to actively increase key sales metrics such as Average Deal Size or even Increased Win Rate — as the targeting that is afforded by picking the companies you want to win means you can control for variables like size (correlated with Average Deal Size) and even which salespeople work deals that, in contrast to Inbound, may not be 60% of the way through the funnel before they talk to you.  

In the meantime, companies should by no means neglect such inherent components of Inbound, such as a website, educational content about their products/services, active social media presence, high positions on Google SERP for their keywords, etc.

Account-Based Marketing has several steps:

ABM strengths:

  1. You target only your potential clients.
  2. You engage only the decision-makers (even when you ask for their contacts from somebody in a company, you end up targeting them in the end).
  3. You actively engage with the companies that you want to become your clients rather than wait and hope for them to notice you and your product/service.
  4. The personalized approach makes your potential clients understand you really care about them and also creates great customer experience from the first touch.
  5. You can start sales conversations at the early stages of a buyer journey of your potential customer (including the pre-awareness stage) and show that your company can bring value.

ABM weaknesses:

  1. The cost of an in-house team increases Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC).
  2. There’s a small percentage of buyers who don’t like to talk to sales reps.
  3. ABM depends heavily on the correctness of your ICP, the accuracy of your leads and the quality of your copy.

How Account-Based Marketing works:

RedDot is an IT company that builds customized digital solutions for HRM. Their product enables their clients to manage over 1000 employees. That’s why their key accounts are large companies with multiple decision-makers. The sales process takes 6+ months and the price of one deal is high.

Account-Based-Marketing is a great solution for RedDot. Their client pool is limited by the number of employees of potential buyers. RedDot defines an Ideal Customer Profile (1000+ employees, titles: heads of HR and Operations) and acquires a list of leads that match the ICP. Next, they send personalized emails to the prospects on the list trying to start a business conversation. For more examples, please see CIENCE case studies.