Let’s face it in the B2B landscape, money talks, and marketers know that while creative campaigns and viral content are fun to develop and deploy, they mean little if they don’t help generate long-term revenue for the organization. This is exactly why if you’ve been slow to adopt account-based marketing (ABM) at your organization, it’s time to dive in. The initial learning curve and expense of starting a new ABM team may seem difficult to justify (change can be hard, after all). Still, ABM’s potential for long-term and ongoing return on investment (ROI) is significant.
And here’s the thing — to maximize ROI, there are two primary ways to get results: increasing organizational revenues through measurable and trackable campaign-based results, and decreasing marketing and sales expenses. When it comes to ABM, you can take advantage of both angles, and with time, see your organization’s ROI soar. Here’s how ABM can help generate ROI.
You Waste Fewer Resources with Account-Based Marketing
One of the pitfalls of using more traditional marketing campaigns is that it can be a little bit like throwing a bowl of cooked spaghetti at the wall — even with careful planning, you’re still just trying to see what “sticks.” This is because you’re putting your marketing campaigns out into the world in front of a big, possibly poor-defined audience, hoping to get your campaigns in front of the right eyes, in the right way, at the right time to “stick” with the right potential customers. There’s a lot of risks and a lot of wasted effort (in manpower and money) that goes into this type of funnel-style marketing strategy.
With ABM, though, you’re not just trying to define broad demographics for your target audience (such as company size, industry, location, and so forth); rather, you’re digging deep to define your ideal customer. In other words, which business, specifically, are you aiming to land as clients because their goals and your goals are almost perfectly aligned?
It takes work and effort to develop an ideal customer profile (ICP), then to identify the best-fit companies that align with your ICP. That said, by putting effort into this process, you’re ultimately improving bottom-line efficiency in a number of ways.
Ways ABM Improves Marketing Efficiency
- ABM requires you to define your market niche. Firstly, defining your ICP requires you to get to know your own company better — you have to determine exactly how your organization stands out from the competition, what your specific expertise is, and how you’re best positioned to bring it to your ideal customer. Really defining your expertise and niche can help develop your company’s value and make it easier to market your brand when you’re in front of the identified target accounts.
- Resources are focused on specific target accounts. Secondly, once your ICP has been sufficiently developed, and well-matched target accounts have been identified, your entire job is to focus your energy on just these few, targeted accounts. This means you’re wasting fewer resources (and expenses) on broad-based funnel marketing and putting them towards the potential customers who are most likely to convert into sales.
- You’re marketing directly to your account’s key stakeholders. One of the other advantages of ABM is that because you’re identifying and marketing to specific potential customers, you can take your efforts a step further to identify the decision-makers who will be involved in purchasing what you’re selling. In fact, you can identify and market directly to all of the stakeholders (usually there are between 7-20 at large organizations) involved in buying decisions, rather than just one or two. This makes it more likely that the right people have the right information and can advocate for buying with your organization when the time comes.
By improving efficiency through customer identification, stakeholder identification, and personalized strategy, you’re more likely to be able to convert the ICPs you identify into buyers.
ABM’s Personalized Approach Increases Sales and Long-Term Customers
Once ICPs have been identified, the benefits of ABM (and its ROI) really start to come to life. Equipped with specific knowledge about each target account, marketers have the ability to tailor messages and campaigns to the individual organization. This level of personalization makes it easier for stakeholders to “get in the ear” to communicate exactly why your organization is the perfect one to meet their needs or solve their problems. And the result? Sales conversions.
This isn’t just conjecture, either. A 2019 Forrester survey found that organizational teams that focused on ABM marketing were 6% more likely to exceed revenue goals than those that didn’t. And even more, interestingly, a survey conducted by ITSMA found that 87% of account-based marketers credited ABM efforts with better long-term results than standard marketing strategies. In other words, not only does the up-front challenge of switching over to ABM marketing end up paying off with increased revenues, it also has a better long-term impact. In fact, the Terminus 2020 State of ABM Report found that companies with a longer-standing ABM strategy credited 79% of their opportunities and 73% of their total revenue to ABM.
The thing is, personalized marketing messages aren’t just good for “pulling in” new clients, but they give you a chance to address the needs of the target account, solve their problems, and build a relationship. When your organization prioritizes relationship-building as a part of the ABM strategy, they’re more likely to land and keep committed, long-term clients.
And if you don’t understand why that’s a big deal, according to a Harvard Business Review article written by Amy Gallo, “acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one … increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.”
Metric- and Outcome-Tracking Makes It Easier to Focus on What Works
The other thing to consider about ABM is that because each campaign is so personalized and focused, it becomes much easier to identify the metrics and outcomes you want to track … and to actually track them. So instead of “throwing spaghetti at a wall,” with no easy way to determine which strategies end up working, you’re serving your finest ragu alla bolognese to someone who ordered ragu alla bolognese, and you’re simply waiting to see if they’re ready to eat.
The beautiful thing is you don’t even have to come up with ABM metrics- and outcome-tracking strategies on your own — there are tools for that. Organizations like Full Circle Insights are dedicated to making sure you identify, track, and measure your ABM strategies the right way. For instance, the new Full Circle ABM system enables you to “track the progress of target accounts as they show intent, engage with marketing content, and become opportunities and customers.” This makes it easy to identify what’s working, what can be tweaked, and what should be changed for future campaigns with each individual target account.
Essentially, being able to track your metrics allows you to improve efficiency and outcomes, which in turn helps bump up your ROI in the long run.
Ultimately, the best way to improve return on investment is to improve organizational efficiency by reducing unnecessary expenses and identifying better leads, tracking results, and making adjustments as needed. Account-based marketing is all about efficiency — identifying the right customers, personalizing the marketing messages, reaching the right stakeholders, and ultimately creating the best leads that can be converted to sales. If you’re ready to improve your bottom line, it’s time to get on the ABM bandwagon.
Ben Farman, Marketing Manager, Full Circle Insights