Today’s ABM approach emphasizes precise targeting, appealing to expectations of personalized outreach. Another factor behind ABM’s current popularity: over the past several years, technology finally caught up with the concept of ABM, making the strategy truly scalable for the first time.
When ABM first came on the scene in the 2010s, B2B marketing and sales teams were enthusiastic about the possibilities because the approach offered a methodical way to identify the best potential customers and create outreach that spoke to their unique pain points. But marketers quickly ran into a scaling problem due to the length of the sales cycle and the number of people involved in B2B purchasing decisions.
A Gartner estimate found that six to 10 people are typically involved in making the purchase decision in a complex B2B sale, with the number of decision-makers growing in proportion to the complexity of the product. Another challenge for marketing and sales teams: prospective buyers are doing independent research, and it was difficult, if not impossible, to capture data on that when ABM was first introduced.
Marketers a decade-plus ago didn’t have the technology to capture intent, and hyper-personalized messaging at the scale required too much research and manual data entry to make it worthwhile to most companies. That’s why ABM didn’t become the dominant marketing strategy back then.
Hyper-Segmentation vs. Hyper-Personalization
Now, more than a decade after it debuted, ABM has become the dominant strategy. With the introduction of new tools, including technology that allows marketers to gain insight using intent segmentation, ABM is now scalable. Marketers are also now engaged in hyper-segmentation instead of hyper-personalization.
By using intent data when available and accessing profile data such as location, industry, subindustry, business size, technology use, etc., marketers can create high-intensity segmentation, combining profile and behavioral information. Hyper-segmentation allows marketers to tailor campaigns in a way that is both affordable and scalable.
As with any marketing strategy, it’s important to measure ABM campaign performance. This is especially true as the business environment shifts, e.g., when companies start adding in-person events back to their marketing calendars. Marketers need to know how digital and non-digital campaigns perform, how buying groups have evolved, and/or whether target customers’ goals have changed. Performance measurement can help marketers improve marketing efficiency and spot emerging customer trends.
Teamwork — And a Single Source of Data Truth
ABM is a marketing approach, but keep in mind that effective ABM requires collaboration between marketing and sales. That’s why it’s critical to integrate marketing data inside the CRM. Using CRM as the database lets marketers easily share data across the organization and create reports using a single source of truth that is credible to everyone in the company.
When done right, ABM works because it allows marketers to zero in on potential customers’ challenges and objectives. It tells the people who receive marketing messages that the company knows who they are and can help them solve their business problems. This gives the sales team an advantage as they build relationships with prospective customers and move leads through the pipeline, ending in a successful sale.
As more and more organizations move to ABM, B2B marketers need to forget outdated notions that ABM isn’t a functional practice – instead, the technology has finally caught up with the concept, enabling hyper-segmentation and the ability to affordably scale outreach. Another thing to know: B2B marketers who can track lead progress through the funnel and measure campaign impact will be in a better position to collaborate with sales colleagues and close more deals in 2022.