Traditional sales funnels tend to cast a net into a big ocean, hoping to draw in as many fish as possible. On the other hand, ABM is the idea of focusing on a smaller pond, where there is only one type of fish, and casting your bait using a reel.
What is Account-Based Marketing (ABM)?
ABM has been the talk of the town within the B2B marketing world. But, what exactly is ABM? ABM is a new method of looking at the sales funnel and lead conversions. Traditionally, the sales funnel starts by broadly targeting everyone. As such, the company spends big money and long hours in the pursuit of qualifying leads, to guide them through the stages of Interest and Consideration. This traditional top-down approach of generating prospects is now seen as inefficient and costly- 79% of leads do not convert into sales!
ABM suggests that we should flip this traditional sales funnel around. This is accomplished by identifying qualified prospects, expanding to others in the same roles, and engaging these individuals with personalized content. The key idea in ABM is that each account (i.e. corporate buyers and their individual company) should be treated as one segment. The focus should be on engaging them on a deep level. Remember, how we spoke about B2B is about a network of corporate buyers? The tradition B2B sales funnel is ineffective because it targets individual buyers!
There are multiple ‘buyers’ in a B2B buying process who each have their own stake in protecting the business. It’s not about what the individual ‘likes;’ it’s about what’s good for the business…With ABM segmentation, the focus is on collecting information on individual stakeholders to form a complete picture about the organization’s goal, and so objectives are based on the market not individuals, according to Makistry. ABM can be understood as content personalization done at the business level!
ABM is like fishing- do you net or do you reel?
Traditional sales funnel for lead conversion is like casting a net into a big ocean, hoping to draw in as many fish as possible. This method can be quite wasteful and risky. Say, you are fishing for trout- when you cast a net into the ocean, along with your trout, you may also bring in other type of fish. In the fishing world, these extra fish are not necessarily a bad thing. However, from a B2B marketing perspective, these unwanted fish will just clutter your database and you will end up wasting your money and time to filter them out. Just like how 82% of B2B website visitors are not potential customers– B2B customers are very limited and it would be a big waste of resources if you just blindly target everyone.
In contrast, ABM is the idea of focusing on a smaller pond, where there is only one type of fish is baited by using a reel. This method would obviously take a lot more time, which means more planning ahead to finding the right pond. Still, with this method, you know that your baits would not be wasted. With zero wastage, ABM can increase website engagement by 3 to 4 times.
Considerations before implementing ABM
Like any fishing trip, you need to plan well ahead of time! So to avoid tripping head first into the pond, think about these questions first.
- Magnitude- how many accounts are you planning to target?
- Budgeting- do you have enough money to target all of your prospective accounts?
- Resources- do you have the crew to help you develop the personalized contents and campaigns required for your accounts?
- Direction and monitor- do you have a set direction for your ABM campaigns? Have you plan for how long the campaigns will go for? What metrics will you use to measure for the success of ABM?
“What makes ABM so attractive right now is the way it combines insights for strategy and technology for execution. Marketing teams who understand ABM are in a powerful position to better align to what sales needs, and to make smart choices about the right actions to take and the right time to take them to grow high-potential accounts”- Serius Decisions.
The sales team has the account information that is needed for the segmentation, and the marketing team has the technology required to implement content personalization. As a parting note, to make ABM function effectively, there needs to be good communication between the sales and marketing teams– because this is a collaborative endeavour!