What is Account Based Marketing? And why is it on every CMO’s radar? Ironically, Account Based Marketing is not new, it is just a new name for what we’ve always called things like “segmented marketing” or “target account selling.” In fact, the term Account Based Marketing was pioneered by ITSMA way back in 2004. How did ITSMA define Account Based Marketing?
“A strategic approach that combines targeted, insight-led marketing with sales to increase mindshare, strengthen relationships, and drive growth in specific new and existing accounts.”
We can thank the Account Based Marketing software vendors for creating the hype. They each have their own spin on how to do Account Based Marketing, but as you can see, they all coalesce around the same old, same old (no that’s not a typo) idea of sales and marketing working together to target specific accounts.
Terminus defines Account Based Marketing as: “A focused approach to B2B marketing in which marketing and sales teams work together to target best-fit accounts and turn them into customers.”
Engagio says “Account Based Marketing is a strategic approach that coordinates personalized marketing and sales efforts to open doors and deepen engagement at specific accounts.”
Marketo’s take on Account Based Marketing is “A strategy that concentrates sales and marketing resources on a clear set of target accounts within a market and employs personalized campaigns designed to resonate with each account.”
OK, so we have consensus on what Account Based Marketing is at its core, but why is it so hard to do? Think about it, the way it is done today is incredibly labor intensive and expensive. You identify your target ABM accounts (this can range from 50 to 1,000 depending on size of company), you go to the “sales intelligence” vendors and buy wicked expensive account and contact data to cover all the roles you want to target in each account, you put your best minds in the company to work to create content full of insights, and then you SPAM those new lists with this s0-called compelling content. Then on top of that, if you’ve been persuaded by the ABM vendors, you buy digital ads that serve specific ads up to people in your ABM accounts based on their IP address.
Then you sit back and hope that this new fangled way of doing marketing solves all the problems you’ve ever had getting the right message to the right buyer at the right time. And guess what? The results are the same.
It is time to stop the insanity and look at Account Based Marketing from the perspective of what’s going on inside your target accounts.
Let’s start with existing accounts where you worked so hard to “Land” and now you want to “Expand”. Who knows best who the right people are in those accounts who may have a need for what you offer? Is it the list vendors? Or is it your champions who you’ve already made heroes in those account? That was a rhetorical question. So is this one: Who do you think those “right people” in those accounts are going to trust more, a cold SPAM email from a vendor they’re not familiar with, or a story from one of their colleagues about how they’ve solved a specific problem by working with your company and product, and why they think that “right people” should check out this solution too? Bingo.
If you answered both of those questions correctly, then it will be drop-dead obvious that the best way to do Account Based Marketing within existing accounts is to capture the knowledge, experience, and advice of your champions in each account, and have those champions share those stories with the people in their company they think can best benefit from your solution.
Now you’re thinking, “That’s great for existing accounts, what about net new logos?” Well, look what you’re doing today. You’re creating more content in the company’s voice, with the hopes that your target buyers will find it insightful, yet we all know that busy executives have taken every possible measure to block vendor solicitations. Now imagine that instead of sending your same old “thought leadership” content, you sent them insights being shared by people just like them, in roles just like theirs, in the same industry, yada yada yada. What are the chances that these folks may pay attention? You can bank on a 5 to 10x improvement.
SO the net net: If you’ve embraced Account Based Marketing:
Stop doing ABM by trying to jackhammer the same old, tired messages into target accounts and people who don’t want to hear from you, and instead develop champions who spread the value they’ve experienced with colleagues who are eager to hear from them.