Today’s marketing allows you to build your pipeline in ways we never could have five years ago. There have been people over the years who have promoted a singular tactic to drive sales but where we are settling in is exactly where we should be – looking at integrated tactics that marketing and sales can tackle together. It is called Account Based Marketing [ABM] and, if done right, it is a game-changer for companies. It is a strategic process that integrates a three-tier approach with varying degrees of intensity based on the size and value of the prospects you are targeting, with the most intensive approach aimed at 20-50 accounts and the least intensive opening up to thousands of accounts. This has marketing and sales working together to determine where the bigger effort and budgets should be focused to personalize marketing and sales efforts. This allows you to open doors and deepen engagement within specific accounts while still positioning your company to the thousands who could be valuable prospects.
The best approach we have seen is in Jon Miller’s (Co-Founder and CEO of the Engagio ABM Platform) eBook, The Clear & Complete Guide to Account Based Marketing:
- Number of Accounts: 20-50 (Tens)
- Tactics: Account Plans
- Deep research and 1:1 personalization
- Sales + SDR + marketing + executive support
- Targeting lasts for months / years
- Number of Accounts: 200 (Hundreds)
- Tactics: Segment Plans
- Industry / solution / persona level personalization
- SDR (phone, email, social) Marketing (ads, direct mail, events)
- Multi-touch over weeks
- Number of Accounts: 1000+ (Thousands)
- Tactics: Solution Plans
- Limited personalization
- Inbound (marketing qualified accounts)
- Targeted outbound in waves
ABM is an extremely powerful combination of people, process and technology, deployed intelligently to create an alignment between the sales and marketing teams. When these two teams deploy a harmonized and aligned process with the implementation of technologies such as data analytics, marketing automation and customer relationship management [CRM] software, the results can be amazing! The unique perspective shift that ABM brings to marketing is that the three tiered approach allows you to both fish with a net [Tier 2 and Tier 3] and fish with a spear [Tier 1]. In Tier 1 the team takes a more targeted approach to marketing as it focuses on specific accounts, with significant research to truly understand their challenges and opportunities and very specific targeted outbound marketing tactics are used to break through the clutter and start to get them to engage. For Tier 2 there is still significant research done to understand the target while outbound tactics are used to reach the prospect rather than wait for them to find you. In Tier 3 inbound tactics are used, which casts a wide net and allows you to wait for the results. That is exactly how inbound should be used – to attract people to the top of the pipeline, not to start selling out of the gate.
Effectively utilizing ABM requires work, collaboration and focus; but, when implemented, ABM can help you to stand out from your competition as one of the first to align your sales and marketing teams with a three-pronged approach to build your pipeline that will stand the test of time.