In marketing, personalization is more important than ever before. The 2010s popularized targeted, relatable advertising, and we have no reason to believe that this trend won’t continue into the 2022s. One aspect of this is account-based marketing, or ABM. What is it? How can it affect your business? In this article, we’ll explain all there is to know about ABM.
People Want Interaction
In the advertising world, the targeted group as a whole was what was most important. The goal was to find the group of people who shared something in common, then market to as many of them as possible. Now, more companies are looking at the individual rather than the entire group.
When a person goes to a website, they want to feel like they’re being talked to on a personal level. Many websites, such as Demandbase, are using AI to tweak their website to their visitor’s preferences. This is a proven technique that improves sales up to 19 percent, with over 41 percent clicking through an email personalized to them.
No one wants the cold, calculating website that makes no effort to interact. This is where ABM comes in.
Account-Based Marketing (ABM)
ABM is a form of personalized marketing that attracts its customers through organic means rather than the traditional way of marketing. With traditional marketing, it’s usually something the audience is forced to watch. A commercial during their favorite TV show or YouTube video. A call from a telemarketer. It’s cold, lifeless, and worked for a while, but not anymore.
Sure, people are going to view your advertisement, but they may not be your audience, and may despise your commercial because of it. Marketing’s attempt to catch as much as possible with one net usually ends up being a waste of money.
ABM is the leaner way to advertise, reaching the right people who are willing to pay for your services. Every bit of marketing looks to the people who want to buy your product. This is done through personalization or direct communication. Or, the customized experience can be ABM. All forms of advertising can have ABM elements.
Questions and History
ABM sounds like one of those pipe dreams, at least initially. However, with today’s Internet, it’s indeed possible to personalize one’s experience. With any marketing strategy, however, ABM requires you to ask some questions, such as:
- Which clients are going to give the most value? Many companies like Salesforce and Engagio use analytics or AI to find the customers who are most alike and market to the people who are more likely to purchase their product.
- Who is more likely to be a reoccurring customer? Many advertisers want to bring in the new people, which is a valid strategy, but ABM strives to look at the hottest accounts and find ways to make them grow even further. In order to market toward those kinds of people, many companies may look at how often a person has contacted them, for example.
- How many people and companies want to buy your product? This is known as intent. Some companies like Bombora measure intent using a combination of sources of B2B. Looking at who is buying your product or who wants to buy it can help improve your ABM even further.
When you know who you’re going to target, it’s important to figure out how you can personalize your content and make it marketable to people on an individual basis. Of course, one cannot look at every single customer and write out an email. This is where automation saves the day. Only a few companies can do this, including Demandbase, Salesforce, and Engagio.
ABM is a technique that has had its origin in 2003. Nate Skinner of Salesforce had the idea to send specific emails to “diamond accounts,” or the biggest customers. This was a process that had to be done manually, as 2003 was a much different time. Also, the people they were marketing to were big corporations, as focusing on the smaller ones would take too much time. Over the years, the technology improved and ABM is the powerhouse it is today, worth over a billion and growing.
ABM doesn’t just personalize one’s email with a generic template consisting of one’s name, but it strives to go above and beyond that. Some have compared it to one of those choose your own adventure stories, where every decision the client makes gives a unique outcome.
How Does it Work?
You may wonder what ABM technology uses to achieve such a feat. It’s a product of meticulous studying of how people shop. Companies, in particular, have had an interesting purchase history. It used to be that companies would buy after talking with a sales representative. Some research may have been involved, but for the most part, the representatives ruled the land.
Nowadays, companies research and read reviews when they want to engage in B2B. If a company reads positive reviews about a product, they will purchase it, and vice versa. ABM is a business’s way to counteract this change in how companies purchase. Here are some ways ABM may be used.
This is when a company looks at all the data from a possible lead. Of course, not all data is useful. This is where lead-to-account comes in. It sorts the data in an attempt to find the most relevant pieces. In addition, this marketing look sat where the email account is coming from. This helps to further clarify if an email is from someone who represents a company.
This is a growing form of marketing. People joke all the time about how they were wanting to buy a product, and then the advertising powers that be showed them an ad for it. Now, this form of marketing allows for even more detail, going above and beyond what people just search for on Amazon.
If you want ABM that’s scalable, there are many tools that can help. Outreach and SalesLoft are just two examples of tools that automate personalization. It’s not just emails that say someone’s name, but personalized emails that follow-up and communicate with the individual upon response.
ABM is a relatively new form of marketing, and entering the 2020s, it’s still in its infancy. Not many companies use ABM as their primary form of marketing, but instead as a secondary. It’s still quite primitive, but it’s showing promise, giving more engagement and thus more returns in the process.
It’s quite obvious, but the next step in ABM is to improve it even further, and for more companies to adopt it and take it more seriously. The number of companies doing ABM seriously is about 10-15 percent, but with any new form of marketing, it’s expected to grow.
Another thing the future may bring is a merge of different ABM technologies. For example, Hubspot and Marketo may one day merge and offer a single, cohesive ABM plan. The opposite can happen as well, with two competing forms of marketing butting heads at each other.
Companies are scrambling to find the newest way to market. In the word of adblocking and tough SEO optimization, getting your voice heard on the Internet is difficult. The future of ABM hopes to circumvent that and avoid being just another email that users never open. With the Internet, nothing is certain, but this is one form of marketing that we are definitely going to keep our eyes on.