What is Account Based Marketing and How Does it Relate to Sales Enablement?

One of the hottest trends is Account-Based Marketing, but what does that really mean? It is altering marketing and sales strategies and changing the way that marketers create and share content. In this post we will discuss:

  • What Account Based Marketing (ABM) is
  • The Trends Driving ABM
  • How it Relates to Account Based Selling (ABS)
  • How Sales Enablement Adds Value to ABM
  • The Future of ABM

1. Account Based Marketing Defined

ABM is a B2B marketing model that uses an account-based approach to predict which companies are more likely to buy a product like yours. ABM targets certain personas at key accounts to build internal champions and move them through the sales cycle. Sales then will receive super-targeted and high-value accounts to focus on. This approach places quality over quantity and is not a one-size-fits-all approach. The results are better qualified leads, higher engagement rates, increased funnel conversion, shorter deal cycles and larger deal sizes.

2. The Top Three Trends Driving ABM

-According to Forrester Research, 74% of buyers do more than half of their research before making a purchase. The prospect-and potential buyer has become more educated based on what they are able to find online. They have the ability to look up reviews, research the technology and learn more before they even speak to a single person within the organization.

-The purchase process has become more complex as the instance of “buying groups” is becoming more prevalent and more stakeholders are involved in buying decisions. There is now an average of 6.8 stakeholders per B2B deal, according to CEB, with different stakeholders representing a wide variety of roles, functions and geographies. As the number of people involved in buying increases, the likelihood of purchase decreases.

-The advancements in technology have played a big part in the push for ABM. Organizations now are able to automate a lot of the sales process, from identifying decision-makers to recommending the most relevant content. Advances in analytics, data and automation have made an account based approach more efficient and effective than traditional methods.

3. How ABM relates to ABS

Account-based marketing and account-based selling need to be executed in tight coordination. Any account-based strategy requires an organization-wide alignment where sales, marketing, operations and even the success teams operate in sync with each other. Due to the complexities of the buyer journey, marketing needs to support sales from the top of the funnel to the bottom. You must keep the account engaged as sales helps guide them through the bottom of the funnel. At the end of the day sales and marketing are working toward the same goals: bring in new business and increase revenue.

4. How Sales Enablement adds value to ABM

With ABM at the top of the funnel, Sales Enablement fills the bottom of the funnel with more customized content, just-in-time learning and helping the reps to add more value during a buying cycle. Sales Enablement technology makes it possible to execute an account based strategy and expand within an organization. Sales Enablement adds value in three ways: helping reps know what to say by pushing out the right, on-brand messaging and content, adding value to sales engagements by recommending the right content and messaging based on each individual buyer, and increasing an organization’s ability to target prospective customers by using real-time data and dashboards to help organizations determine what pieces of content will advance the sales cycle.

5. The Future of ABM

We see account based strategies becoming even smarter with account-based analytics. Without intelligence and analytics an account-based strategy is more often than not simply based on guesswork. When you combine analytics and account-based strategies you can get information like:

  • Not just which companies to target but who will be your best internal champions.
    • If the company itself keeps showing up in your account-based strategy, but you can’t get any traction, maybe you aren’t reaching out to the right contacts.
  • Not just who is most likely to buy, but when they are ready to buy

The more information known about an account, the better you are able to target and personalize.


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