Account-Based Marketing For Dummies
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Account-based marketing is about connecting with the right accounts. This is the business-to-business (B2B) industry, and it's called that because your business sells to other businesses, not to leads. It's about the quality, not the quantity, of your customers.

Creating clear metrics

The metrics to define success in account-based marketing are different from traditional B2B lead-based marketing. Marketers have to commit to changing to these metrics, as it will help you as a marketer to be more successful. With ABM, marketing teams show how they're driving engagement in the right accounts for more impact. Marketing is ensuring that content and messages are reaching all the decision-makers in the account to help move accounts faster through the sales pipeline.

In ABM, the number one metric is revenue. But revenue doesn't happen overnight. Creating velocity helps to grow revenue, and this takes time. Your "smarketing" team creates the list of accounts to target, strategizes campaigns for the accounts based on their stage in the purchase decision, then modifies those activities accordingly based on the success rate.

With account-based marketing, it takes time to show that your ABM campaigns are working, especially when you're switching from a traditional lead-gen strategy to demand generation in your best-fit accounts.

Your one "smarketing" team marketing shares ownership with sales on your target accounts. Because your target accounts won't immediately start generating revenue, what you can do is pay attention to additional key performance indicators (KPIs). These KPIs are documented in your CRM and will correlate with revenue growth. These KPIs include
  • Number of qualified accounts generated by marketing
  • Number of opportunities added to pipeline, or marketing-sourced pipeline
  • Time for stage-progression from prospect to opportunity to close
  • Engagement in accounts, showing an uptick in the account's score in your marketing automation system

Linking your ABM strategy to revenue

One inherent problem with traditional B2B marketing is that marketers were always trying to assign a lead to one source. The lead came in through a webinar, a form completion, a referral, and then the lead was attributed to a source in your CRM. Marketers used to think that worked. But with account-based marketing, you accept that you can't attribute a lead to a single source.

Think about it this way: David is a marketing manager who comes to your website and downloads an ebook. Tim is a marketing director who attends one of your webinars. Michael is a CMO who comes to an event you sponsor. David, Michael, and Tim work for the same venture capital firm, DTM & Co. You've identified venture capital firms as the best fit for your product or service. DTM & Co. is an account on your target list to close this quarter. Your "smarketing" team will engage David, Michael, and Tim in many activities to create velocity and close the account. The ABM strategy you employ for the contacts at DTM looks like this:

  • David is emailed a case study that shows how VC marketing managers are successful with your product. This is followed by a video testimonial from another marketing manager in his industry detailing his success with your product.
  • Tim receives an email with a recording of the webinar he attended, and a copy of the slides. The next week, he gets a case study, featuring a marketing director who details the problem, the solution, and why he chose to do business with your company.
  • Michael is sent a handwritten note in direct mail from your team member he met at the tradeshow. He's also emailed a copy of a whitepaper that was developed for C-level executives; it details the value of your solution for his industry.
Which of these activities contributed to revenue? It's a waste of time to track it by a single activity. Think of it as a strategy, as multiple activities will create velocity and engagement within an account. Contacting multiple touch points in an account helps you to build a relationship in the account toward the ultimate goal of closing a deal.

About This Article

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About the book author:

Sangram Vajre has quickly built a reputation as one of the leading minds in B2B marketing. Before co-founding Terminus, a SaaS platform for account-based marketing, Sangram led the marketing team at Salesforce Pardot. He has spoken on the topic of marketing technology around the world and is the mastermind behind #FlipMyFunnel.

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