the past two decades, Account-based marketing (ABM) has simultaneously been
recognized as a guaranteed winning approach for B2B businesses while also being
“scrapped” as something that is nothing more than fashionable blowing.
The ambiguous reputation of ABM reflects the problems that companies face when introducing an approach focused on key customers. Just two years ago, only 29% of marketers considered ABM an effective strategy; businesses struggled to coordinate sales and marketing, personalize their tactics and build truly individual relationships with stakeholders.
Since then, the success of ABM has increased dramatically. Now, 97% of respondents claim that the ABM method provides a higher ROI than other marketing tactics. This is a result of the ABM practice being thoughtfully deployed. When administered correctly, it allows marketing and sales teams to close large deals in a targeted and consistent manner.
What is Account Based Marketing (ABM)?
Account-based marketing (ABM) is a marketing strategy, following which companies offer and sell their products to accounts – to different people in the same company – and not to individual potential customers in different companies. Within ABM, companies consider each client as a separate market, adapting their tactics to the needs of the particular account.
4 key benefits of ABM
- Precise targeting of valuable accounts.
- Customer-oriented approach to revenue growth.
- Close coordination between sales and marketing.
- Improving customer retention and empowerment.
The focus on high-value accounts helps increase the return on investment seen by organizations using ABM, see below graphics based on the survey of over 100 firms that are using ABM:
How ABM Differs from Traditional B2B Sales
Imagine taking a traditional sales funnel and turning it upside down that’s how in short, you can describe the fundamental differences between ABM and traditional sales.
Instead of using a large-scale marketing campaign to deploy a large lead generation network, ABM focuses on several potentially valuable customers and then focuses on “lead” or “lead nurturing,” conversion and long-term retention.
As part of ABM, the sales, technology, and marketing departments work together to provide each target customer with a hyper-personalized experience.
For example, to stand out from the competition, teams can collaborate on a direct mail campaign, during which they send a physical gift and a handwritten message to decision-makers on specific accounts.
It is important to note that ABM and traditional tactics of demand generation, such as paid advertising and content marketing, are more likely to complement each other.
Integrating ABM and Salesforce Marketing Cloud
ABM is designed to help your business get high-value accounts and build long-term customer relationships, while Marketing Cloud allows you to target the right people, at the right time, through the right channel with the right content.
However, having these great features available will do little if you are not utilizing all components of the marketing strategy and technology. Success is achieved when each part of the marketing strategy and the technology are working together. Thus, Integration ABM (Strategy) and Salesforce Marketing Cloud (Technology) need to work simultaneously. So, let me address how these two can be integrated by looking at key concepts of ABM (Strategy) and what functionality will be used in Salesforce Marketing Cloud (Technology).
See the image below that attempts to illustrate strategy and technology alignment using Salesforce stack.
1. Connect to customer contact points
experience for a “single customer view” requires precise coordination between
sales, marketing, and customer satisfaction. Each team should know what their
colleagues are doing and build their strategy accordingly. Using disordered
letters and tactics is the fastest way to lose a deal and a customer.
If you are already generating leads using the Salesforce Marketing Cloud platform that is integrated with Salesforce CR- you are on the right track. Marketing Cloud offers seamless integration between Landing Pages, e-mails, Ads, SMS, and Salesforce CRM.
Key integration takeaway: Salesforce Connector, Dashboards, and Internal Notification Systems should be developed to make sure all teams are aware of “what is going on.”
2. Create personalized experiences for decision makers
Personalized customer experience is essential to the success of marketing strategic customers. ABM practice requires marketers and salespeople to go beyond the usual “verification” letters and “triggers”.
The Marketing Cloud allows you to maximize communication personalization, moreover, it creates a very complex propensity to buy model that would take into consideration why your customer wanted to do business, and what type of message corresponds to them. To do this it takes into account the products they purchased before, the product licenses and other information you have about your customer.
Key integration takeaway: dynamic content, user-journeys and complex data models.
3. Pay attention to the speed of communication and subsequent actions.
The response speed is important when you are working on any transaction, but it is especially important when you invested a lot of time and money in order to pursue large accounts.
With Marketing Cloud we can create internal triggers that would call-out to the right individuals at the right time, so called “internal” journeys. An example can be if a key account has opened e-mail, clicked through the link and submit a form to a sales manager that can respond on it on the go, the trigger can notify Sales Manager to say: Your customer is awaiting your response.
Key integration takeaway: Journey builder, API calls and CRM Connector.The above is a baseline integration of ABM (Strategy) and Technology (Salesforce Marketing Cloud), but you want to turbocharge our ABM strategy? We’ve got that covered below.
4 Key Features in Marketing Cloud that can Turbocharge your ABM Efforts
information described above encompasses the following: a messaging platform and
a CRM- that’s your bare minimum. In addition to these baseline marketing
automation features, Turbocharged ABM requires digging a little deeper into Salesforce
Marketing Cloud functionality and into a technology stack that works with the
Here are four turbochargers that you should consider using as part of the ABM strategy and technology mix.
1. Data Consolidation and Single Customer View
Data consolidation and a single customer
view help you choose the right accounts and identify the right people to target
in these accounts.
At the most basic level, you will need to bring together the data you want to use for decision making marketing triggers, meaning, what activates what message and at what time; as well as the key customer data to understand their past, present and potentially future purchase behaviour.
You can then automatically send personalized
messages to key decision-makers and convert them while they actively check the
solution proposed to them.
Marketing Cloud is a perfect solution for that, not only can you create a complex custom data model encompassing multiply data sources and views, but can also build your marketing automation logic using this data.
2. Dynamic Sender Profile
ABM is based on an individual relationship, so it is important to ensure that decision-makers communicate with their account holders – just like you see above. Routing ensures that the right people are connected to their respective accounts.
Some tools allow you to mark chats with important customers as “high priority” to help sales representatives quickly identify them and respond immediately.
Imagine a case where a customer looked at the product e-mail, then forwarded the e-mail to their colleagues. All of them then visited web-site and signed-up for a webinar. What does it tell us? It signifies that we would then need to reach out to them, we need to be personal, the account manager should be notified of the activities, and at the same time a personalized message needs to go to a client saying – “Let’s talk tomorrow! I noticed you have an interest in %%Product_A%%.”
3. Multichannel Messaging
As with traditional demand generation, when using ABM, you need to find yourself in the parts of the marketing funnel where your target accounts are located. This means the need for a multi-channel approach to conducting ABM campaigns and the use of such channels like e-mail, chat, direct mail, programmable advertising and much more.
Coordinate common ground for your accounts via email, in-app messages, and push notifications. So you can use the ABM approach throughout the entire life cycle of the client – from acquisition to onboarding and retention.
An example of a multi-channel approach: a personal manager sends a letter of gratitude to the client for registration, then, using a push notification, reports a new option available in the application.
Ultimately, ABM is all about channels, and Marketing Cloud is built to be multi-channel marketing automation tool.
4. Reporting – Marketing Cloud, Salesforce CRM and Datorama.
Measuring the success of ABM campaigns requires a careful study of their impact on sales performance. For example, ABM should reduce the closing time for your largest transactions because you take a much more focused approach to work with key decision-makers. You will also need to keep track of new types of metrics, such as coverage and account reach.
Turbocharging Revenues through ABM and Salesforce Marketing Cloud
For B2B companies that want to get a higher ROI from their marketing efforts and form a long-term relationship with key accounts, ABM may be the right approach and the pathway to success. Salesforce Marketing Cloud can turbocharge these efforts by utilizing its core-functionality to enhance these strong-ties with the customers by sending the right communications at the right time via the right channel.