To succeed in marketing and sales, it is best practice to tailor your interactions with each prospect and customer. For this reason, personalization is a strategy used by so many successful organizations that aim to provide their customers the experience of feeling important and recognized.
Account-based marketing (ABM) is a B2B growth strategy that combines marketing and sales efforts to target and convert high-quality prospects into customers.
By personalizing the customer experience, an organization can provide a stellar experience that makes the prospect or customer feel valued, important and that a brand provides what they need.
Successful ABM campaigns can deliver on their promises, analyze, and measure the effectivity of their marketing and sales efforts. So how can your business do this? In this article, we will provide some helpful tips.
How ABM helps drive revenue growth
While account-based marketing seems complex, it boils down to one concept: customization.
An ABM approach helps identify consumers who are genuinely interested in a product or service. It customizes a brand's marketing and sales endeavors in a way that positions the product or service as valuable – no forceful sales techniques required.
By aligning marketing resources and content, prospect profiles, sales conversations, and other interactions that impact the customer sales cycle, organizations can understand the win rates, deal sizes, buying behavior, churn rates, and lifetime value of prospects and customers.
By tracking these data points with an ABM platform like HubSpot, teams can adjust their one-to-one communication with leads and nurture them to start talking pricing with sales. This, through the use of content, emails, LinkedIn ads, and retargeting ads aimed at specific lead accounts that have previously demonstrated an interest.
ABM focuses on tracking prospective clients and current customers through an account created for them. We can typically find information collected on them within this account and their lead/customer score based on their previous interactions with your brand.
At its core, account-based marketing is about reversing the "no" and "I will get back to you" answers sales teams often get when interacting with prospects during the sales cycle. By tailoring the marketing and sales messages prospects receive, organizations can help drive revenue growth for their existing and newly created accounts.
Examples of ABM
Account-based marketing can take many forms, but it all boils down to providing value to an account and subsequently reaching out.
Examples of ABM campaigns include:
- Creating educational content on a topic you know one of your target accounts is knowledgeable in and acknowledging them as a source for their expertise.
- Sending personalized emails with content that addresses the challenges they face in their job position to target account contacts.
- Creating an interactive product launch using a custom landing page, video, or interactive pictures and emailing your target account contacts the link.
- Sending a gift (relevant to your organization) along with a personalized offer to work closely with the target account via mail.
- Hosting in-person industry networking events and inviting your target accounts.
Creating successful account-based marketing campaigns does not have to be complicated, but it will require substantial planning and alignment from marketing and sales.
When both teams know which accounts to target, have strategies in place, and know what to measure to label an ABM campaign successful, launching a campaign is far easier.
Determining the ROI of account-based marketing
ABM campaigns that achieve positive results and new customers require planning and a lot of effort to establish and execute. Therefore, it is a human quality to determine if such endeavors are worth the effort required.
The truth is, measuring and reporting the ROI of your ABM campaigns can be tricky.
How can your marketing and sales team ensure that they are getting a detailed account of your organization's return on investment?
Define your campaign goals and objectives
Every organization's marketing and sales teams will have a different ABM track record. If your teams are new to account-based marketing, you can use their previous results.
To measure how effective your ABM tactics are, you will have to look at the outcome(s) of your current marketing (ABM or non-ABM) campaigns.
Identify the metrics your team has measured in these past campaigns that require improvement. This is important for the sake of comparison – you will need hard numbers to prove if ABM tactics can render better results.
Understanding your marketing and sales' past performance and opportunities for improvement will help determine the objectives each of your future ABM campaigns will need to achieve to be successful.
The use of an ABM tech stack that includes CRM, analytics, and email automation tools, and account profiling, validation, and scoring tools will facilitate your team's task(s) at hand.
Mike Khorev, a growth marketing consultant, shared how he measures marketing and sales ROI.
"To measure the ROI of sales and marketing strategies, I use UTM codes and lead attribution on my websites and CRM. All leads created in CRM are being attributed to the keywords, landing page, marketing channel, and specific activity so we know where it's coming from. If that lead later converts into a sales opportunity, we will see what activity helps us generate sales and revenue.
[I] also have an aggregated lead and sales report that summarizes activities in the marketing and sales funnels and shows us the most profitable tactic and channels."
An ABM tech stack can facilitate your team's efforts to convert your target accounts into paying customers. By setting UTM codes and lead attributions throughout your digital ABM campaigns, you can help determine which practices convert accounts the most.
Determine each campaign's cost
At the heart of every ABM campaign is personalization.
Once your marketing and sales teams understand the areas they can improve on, and what they seek to accomplish in their next campaigns, you will need to set a budget.
This includes assigning a fixed cost to every piece of content (blog posts and paid ad campaigns), event, communication outreach (email sequences, phone calls, packages sent in the mail), the cost of the ABM platforms, and the time investment required to carry out the strategy.
Caroline Lee, Marketing Director of CocoSign, explained how her company measures its marketing ROI.
"When we measure our business ROI, the first thing is to set a time limit, during which certain money for marketing was spent and earned revenue. It includes both short- and long-term periods. For our business, net revenue is what constitutes ROI. It's the strongest metric to evaluate our marketing strategies.
Calculating revenue to our market expenses is the simplest and most effective way. We use a formula that constitutes:
(Revenue - Investment) / Investment
For instance, if you’ve invested $5,000 in marketing and generated $15,000 in revenue from your marketing strategies. Your formula would be:
($ 15,000 - $5,000) / $5,000= Answer x 100%
To use this formula, you have to know what your marketing channels have generated in ROI.
Remember to take into consideration non-monetary resources, like your time. If a certain marketing channel is consuming much of your time and not generating revenue, you might opt for another tactic. Don't forget to include advertisements costs; your total ROI encompasses them."
While assigning a fixed cost to everything can be difficult, doing so will help your team determine an accurate ROI based on the effort required to achieve results.
Select which metrics to measure
While tracking revenue-focused metrics such as revenue and customer acquisition are essential for measuring ABM success, account-specific metrics such as impressions, engagement, and brand awareness should also play a decisive role.
While these metrics will not necessarily help close more deals, they can provide insight into your overall brand sentiment.
Keep in mind that the metrics you focus on will depend on the objectives marketing and sales prioritize for each campaign.
Just as important is to determine how each of these KPIs plays into your ROI. You want to avoid focusing on too many or too little and not getting a full picture of how each campaign performs.
Your marketing and sales teams should consider what matters. Are you interested in the financial impact in terms of cost per acquisition? Or are you more concerned with increasing brand awareness among your target accounts? The answers to these questions will depend on each campaign's goals.
Managing your expectations
Keep in mind that ABM is often a long-term strategy.
Results might not come as fast as your team may like, and they will largely depend on the length of your current sales cycle.
For example, if it currently takes your sales team 6 months to close a deal, it likely will not take 3 months in an ABM campaign. While the possibility is there, it is often best not to have such high expectations without sufficient data to support it.
Measuring ABM success
Most account-based marketing campaigns will require comprehensive planning and a clear understanding of its bottom line.
To effectively measure ABM's success, it is essential to know what marketing and sales wish to accomplish, how it plans to do it, how much it will cost, and the best way to measure its ROI.