This is 2021! It's pivotal year in B2B marketing. With today’s buyer journey becoming increasingly digital (digital-only for the near future), B2B startups/SaaS companies are taking a keen interest in Account-based Marketing (ABM). A framework that prioritises quality over quantity; hyper-personalisation vs impersonal messaging; coordinated vs random. A cursory search on ABM benefits shows up stats and infographics (like one shown bel0w) that excites marketers like never before.
ABM represents a new and better way to drive revenue for today's dynamic B2B organisations. And, the question in every B2B marketer's mind today is not "Why ABM" but how do I start an ABM program for my company?
There is quite bit of information available including our own ABM playbook to put together and ABM process and execute it successfully. However, there are a few initial considerations that organisations have to follow before embarking on their ABM journey. Here are few of them to start-with.
How do you know your organisation is ready to shift to the ABM way of acquiring customers? For starters, an affirmation to most of the below questions can be seen as a good indicator that you are ready for the switch to ABM.
- Do I have member(s) from my marketing team who can anchor the ABM program?
- Can I get marketing and sales teams to align and work on a common GTM goal?
- Can I deploy a portion of my budget towards a set of handpicked accounts?
- Will I be able to switch to measuring marketing and sales impact using account-based metrics
- Do I have 3-6 months to establish and stabilise my ABM program?
Business vs ABM objectives
Your ABM program and the associated activities should be designed to deliver on one of the below business goals.
- Acquisition Priority
- Expansion Priority
- Retention Priority
Orchestrate the outreach and focus on that single goal that can bring maximum benefit to the company. ABM programs often fail or under-deliver for the lack of this very clarity.
1. Acquisition Priority
If your objective is to acquire new companies (net-new logos), you would start with creating awareness of your products/services. And by leveraging the combined strengths of Sales and Marketing teams you would drive deep engagement until a purchase is made. You would setup a series of Account-based campaigns focusing on Demand-gen, Account nurturing and to Accelerate the pipeline.
2. Expansion Priority
If the business priority is to grow relationships with your existing customers, you will look for opportunities to upsell or cross-sell the products and services that the customers use already. The expansion could be both horizontal and vertical - Geographical expansion vs Upgrade, Inter-unit expansion vs User additions. The ultimate goal here is to increase the average contract value. Therefore, Your ABM campaigns will have to align for Account nurturing, Pipeline Acceleration and Account penetration efforts.
3. Retention Priority
If the goal is to retain you existing customers, you’d want to ensure that they have maximum customer satisfaction and they are served consistently and proactively. This involves efforts to improve deliver maximum value from their existing investment and decrease churn. And hopefully turn them into evangelists of your brand. You ABM plan will focus entirely on Account penetration activities.
Here is a snapshot of various ABM tactics that are available at your disposal with their associated effect.