Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is a highly focused business strategy in which a marketing team treats an individual prospect or customer like its very own market. AMB is useful for certain business-to-business organizations and especially helpful if there is a finite number of customers that you serve with a big ticket offering. Here's what you need to know to get started with AMB.
**This video was filmed prior to COVID-19 and social distancing**
While account-based marketing has been around for some time, it was not a well-known strategy until recently. In fact, according to HubSpot, more than 60% of companies plan to launch an ABM-based campaign in the next year.
But what exactly is ABM?
ABM stands for account-based marketing, and it’s a highly focused business strategy in which a marketing team treats an individual prospect or customer like its very own market. The marketing team creates content, events, and entire campaigns dedicated to that target customer profile, rather than the industry as a whole.
It's important to note that this type of marketing is most valuable when executed by certain business-to-business (B2B) organizations targeting a finite number of customers with a big ticket offering. (Really, where customers are spending tens of thousand dollars a month or more for a product or service.) Look at the factors that define this ideal customer, such as geography, industry, or the customer’s annual revenue. Since at this level you only need a certain number of customers to make a thriving business, ensure that the audience you're going after is truly your ideal customer. Then, build out of a list of identifiable target customers – this is known as your total addressable market (TAM).
HubSpot helps make ABM easier to tackle with tools specifically designed for account-based marketing. These include workflow templates and properties you can import into HubSpot. These resources help take care of the initial leg work to get started with ABM. You do need to reach out to HubSpot support and ask for these features to be enabled in your portal.
ABM is a great way to bridge the gap between sales and marketing teams. The disconnect between sales and marketing teams is not a new issue – sales desires better leads, and marketing wants more visibility into the customer so that they can improve their strategy. Applying ABM has a lot of impact potential as it helps strategically align both sales and marketing. The marketing teams knows exactly who they are reaching and sales gets the leads they need.
“[Account-based marketing] a great tool to unite sales and marketing as they should be, because it's basically handing sales all the leads they need on a silver platter."
Think of it this way, when the target audience is so specific, marketing can tailor their messaging to address particular pain points and problems the prospect is experiencing. And then once those leads respond, they're very qualified leads that are ready to be handed off to sales to close the deal.
Watch this week’s episode of Basecamp to learn more about how to get started with ABM. Tune in next week for part two where Anne and Steven further discuss ABM and how it can help your business grow.
Read the Transcript
Steven Carter: Hey guys, welcome back to another episode of The Basecamp here at Ascend Inbound Marketing. And today we have the pleasure of having Anne Shenton, our Agency Director, back with us again. Anne, thanks for your time today.
Anne Shenton: Of course. Always.
Steven Carter: Well, I'll talk a little bit about something you've really been getting into lately, and I'm excited because I know you're going to drop some knowledge on us in a minute with some of the new HubSpot features and stuff like that in this regard. But we're going to be talking about some accounts-based marketing, what it is from a birds eye perspective, and then maybe some ways and things about it, how it can strategically help your business or organization.
Anne Shenton: Right. Account-based marketing is a type of marketing that is particularly useful for certain business-to-business organizations. It is helpful if you have a finite number of customers that you can serve and if your offering is a big ticket offering. Your customers are spending tens of thousand dollars a month or hundreds of thousands of dollars on a project, that kind of thing. You only need a certain number of customers to make a thriving business in that case, so you want to make sure that the ones that you're targeting are who you really want to work with.
Steven Carter: Sure.
Anne Shenton: ABM is all about setting that perfect target customer profile or ideal customer profile, and you're looking at things like really what defines your ideal customer. You might look at things like their annual revenues, their geography. If you only service a certain geographic area, you know you're only going to be looking at businesses in that area. You might look at certain industry verticals. If you service the healthcare industry, you know you're only going to be looking at hospitals or doctor's offices of a certain size, of a certain revenue size, that kind of thing, and build out a list of identifiable target customers. We call that the total addressable market. That is your total pool of customers that you could service or would service. That is your total addressable market or your TAM. And then you come to that database or list of customers through defining your ideal customer profile. Again, going back to defining those features like revenue or industry, et cetera.
Anne Shenton: HubSpot has really some features recently that are geared towards account-based marketing. As of us talking today, which is in February of 2020, these features are in beta. You can get access to them, but you need to reach out to support to get them. And quite honestly, they're not necessarily new software features or add-ons. I'm sure that will come with time, but for now they're basically workflow templates and properties that you can have imported into HubSpot. They're still really helpful, but it's not necessarily anything you couldn't already do within HubSpot. It just helps you take care of some of that leg work.
Anne Shenton: For example, I'm working with this with one of our clients. I got this feature ungated, and one of the things that we got was a workflow that will filter through your database and pull companies together into basically three levels of an ideal list. There's your tier one, and those might have an annual revenue of $10 million a year or more. There's your tier two that might have $5 million, et cetera. And anybody who fits in this profile has to be in a certain industry, has to be in a certain geographic area. And what this workflow has been really helpful in doing is narrowing down that database for us and doing a lot of that work automatically instead of us having to have somebody go through each company one by one and segment it out that way.
Steven Carter: I would assume that this is really a good way, an opportunity to really help that sales and marketing where there's oftentimes a big disconnect, I think.
Anne Shenton: Right. Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Steven Carter: And the sales team and a marketing team, marketing is wanting sales to provide more insight on who that ideal customer is, and obviously sales is like, "Well, we just need more leads. We just..." There's a disconnect, but this seems, especially you mentioned from the B2B side, this maybe isn't obviously as opportunistic for B to C companies, but on a B to B side, this really has a lot of impact potential there.
Anne Shenton: Yeah, for sure. Yeah. It is a great tool to unite sales and marketing as they should be, because it's basically handing sales all the leads they need on a silver platter at the end of the day. These are the perfect fit customers that we need to be reaching out to, that we need to get in touch with. And the way that marketing can work with that scenario is you can set up ad campaigns, you can set up mailing campaigns, emails, of course, that specifically are tailored to these prospects, even so much as to their particular company, and tailor your messaging that specifically. And when you can do that, of course you really can speak to the specific pain points and problems that a prospect is having. It just helps you hone in on that focus for your marketing messaging. And then once... I'm sorry. And then once those leads respond, that's when they're ready to be handed off to sales so that sales can work with them to close the deal.
Steven Carter: Right. Obviously, it would have a significant... I guess help with your measurement of your ROI as well, right?
Anne Shenton: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Again, you have your pool of your TAM that you can work with. Basically as soon as they start responding to marketing messaging, you hand them off to sales. The conversion rate between MQL and SQL is going to be very high. And then from that point, since the messaging is so tailored and so specific to what they need, it should be really not that difficult as long as you have a good sales team in place for them to close those deals, and the ROI would definitely be demonstrated.
Steven Carter: I guess it would be really great for existing clients as well, companies that already have these big ticket clients that are B to B, and helping maintain that relationship and stuff like that from enablement, sales.
Anne Shenton: Yeah, that's a good point, especially when you're talking of course upsells and cross-sells. But then even referral marketing can come into play with that as well, making sure that you're reaching out to your existing customer base periodically and A, making sure that they're happy with you and the work that you're doing, and that they don't need anything from you at the moment. And if they do, what you can do to come in and facilitate that. But then B, if they are really happy to let you know what vendors they might be working with that have customers like them, or what other organizations that are their peers would you be a good fit to work with as well.
Steven Carter: Yeah, that's awesome insight, and I think this is a really interesting topic that we could learn a lot more from and that we could offer more insight, and to anybody watching this. I have some more questions I'd love to learn more about, so maybe we can actually just do a part two of ABM coming next week.