Across industries, customers are redefining what they want out of businesses. As the services sector in particular is a key driver of global economic growth—arguably the largest—many companies within this broad sector of services are seeking new ways to address evolving customer needs. Today, many subsegments within services are driving the business-to-business (B2B) market including engineering, procurement, construction, transportation and distribution, as well as professional services.
A key struggle that many B2B organizations currently have is authentically articulating and demonstrating their values in a way that resonates with today’s consumers. Companies are realizing that they can no longer rely on the simplified, one-size-fits-all approach that worked before.
In this period of flux lies the potential for profound change. It’s critical to rethink go-to-market strategies from top to bottom. It’s time to do away with jargon-filled slogans and ask a clear, honest question: how do we best reach our customers? The answer is simple and essential: to meet them where they’re at. Here’s where account-based marketing plays a key role.
B2B Meets ABM
At frog, we are always on the lookout for the latest tools that can help our clients achieve their goals. Account-based marketing, also known as ABM, is one key tool to address key challenges faced by service companies across the services sector and beyond.
ABM is a focused go-to-market approach that targets select high-value accounts through coordinated and tailored marketing and sales programs. Through this collaboration between two historically siloed departments, ABM enables marketing and sales teams to collaborate closely to prioritize accounts, nurture them with customized tactics, drive revenues and strengthen relationships. In short, ABM gives marketers the opportunity to create more relevant content for specific target accounts, as opposed to blanket messaging for a broad audience.
Why does ABM matter for B2B?
Creating a better customer experience (CX) requires B2B businesses to empathize with customers’ pain points, market directly to the decision makers in an authentic and customized way and reach them with the right mix of digital and human touchpoints when and where they want. Adopting ABM can help shift your organization’s mindset towards one of nurturing and engaging customers in a more personalized, meaningful way.
Within B2B organizations of all sizes, it is common for any given sales cycle to take months to complete. Despite its complexity, it’s important to note the B2B sales process is built on a very human foundation: mutually beneficial relationships. Through ABM, teams can target your high-value accounts with personalized campaigns that speak to an account’s specific needs, helping them more easily find you and get in touch.
When marketing and sales teams collaborate, it becomes possible to engage target accounts seamlessly. This in turn helps to build profitable relationships with both prospects and desired customers.
For companies adopting ABM, 97% reported achieving higher return on investment (ROI) with ABM than with any other marketing initiatives, and target account deals are 2.3 times bigger than deals resulting from other channels. In addition, the length of sales cycles to close these deals is on average 30 or more days shorter than in organizations not using ABM. By investing resources strategically and targeting high-value prospects, companies can expedite the sales process and convert and retain customers more effectively.
ABM gives marketers the opportunity to create more relevant content for specific target accounts, as opposed to blanket messaging for a broad audience. This personalization takes a human approach that helps increase trust in a brand and forms strong relationships that result in higher engagement and improved customer loyalty. 83% of companies say the main benefit of using ABM is increasing the engagement with their target accounts.
ABM requires marketing and sales collaboration throughout the entire process, from defining the Ideal Customer Profile, selecting target accounts, to closing a deal. The internal alignment leads to measurable benefits for the business. Marketing generates 208% more revenue in companies that have aligned their sales and marketing teams. Keeping both teams accountable for their aligned goals and metrics will result in higher-quality leads and more wisely spent time and dollars.
Traditionally, marketing would use strategies and tactics to engage and qualify as many leads as possible and then hand off Marketing Qualified Leads to sales to conduct outreach and convert. The sales team is not involved in the initial marketing strategy and vice versa. However, for a data-driven ABM approach to work successfully, marketers and salespeople must work in tandem to target and engage accounts collaboratively and continuously rather than operating in sequence with a handoff.
Personalization is the cornerstone of any ABM strategy, and having the right content and messaging is critical to prove to your target accounts that you understand their needs and are a trusted partner. However, it is extremely time and resource-intensive to create content specific to each account, each persona, and their pain points in each stage of the buyer’s journey. This is why setting the right targets is key.
Once you have well-aligned marketing and sales teams and created personalized, targeted content, the last piece of the puzzle is having the right technology stack, which will enable marketers to engage target audiences at scale. Companies typically supplement their existing tech stack with one to three new technologies. They can also—if the budget allows—purchase an ABM tool to support ABM effectively.
Even with these steps in mind, it’s important to always remember this: your ABM strategy should drive technology decisions, not the other way around. Focus on (and prioritize) the aspects of ABM that serve your business goals effectively.
ABM is a trend that you do not want to miss. It will allow for more targeted, differentiated marketing in the B2B space. At frog, we can help you craft your path towards ABM and any other business goals you may have. Reach out to us to get started on your ABM journey.
Clement Lacroix is a Senior Director from frog, part of Capgemini Invent. He is the lead in North America for the Services and Hospitality industry. His expertise is in end-to-end digital transformation, from new products definition, to customer experience reinvention to market launch.
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