I was recently commissioned to write a blog series on the subject of Account Based Marketing (ABM) for sales intelligence vendor Avention. ABM is one of the hottest trends in sales and marketing as firms have realized that blanketing the market with non-personalized messaging is both inefficient and becoming less effective. ABM provides a structured approach to sales and marketing whereby firms define their best customers and prospects and then focus their energy on these best candidates. Due to improvements in datasets and technology, firms can now target and personalize their messaging much more effectively.
Here are my recent articles and opening paragraphs:
- Data Quality Remains Boring, but Ever More Important: Three years ago, I wrote a blog titled, “Data Quality is Boring”. To be honest, it still is. Few marketing executives will walk into the job and set data hygiene as their first priority. But is it more critical than ever due to the increased scope of SalesTech and Martech and the advancement of Account Based Marketing (ABM) and predictive analytics. None of these tools will achieve their promise without a rigorous process for embedding high quality data into your leads, contacts, and accounts. Marketers need to build data quality into the front-end of their data acquisition process and then maintain data quality over time. Likewise, data quality needs to be maintained within CRMs due to the rapid rate of contact decay.
- Demand Gen is to Fishing With Nets as ABM is to _____: Account Based Marketing (ABM) is quickly moving up the hype cycle and becoming a best practice at many B2B organizations. While ABM has been around for decades, it is only in the past two years that the wisdom of B2B targeting combined with focused sales and marketing activities around ideal customers has been revisited.
- Digital Transformation of Sales & Marketing: In my last blog, I discussed Forrester’s model of Digital Predators, Digital Transformers, and Digital Dinosaurs. Forrester argues that businesses must quickly become digital with products and services which are either sold or delivered digitally. According to Forrester, about five percent of business revenue is being converted from traditional to digital each year with nearly half of all revenue being digitally mediated by 2020. At that point, ninety percent of digital predator revenue will be digitally mediated, and nearly seventy percent of digital transformer revenue will be digital, but only one-third of digital dinosaur revenue will be digital. Thus, over the next four years, the transformers will quadruple their digital revenue mix while the dinosaurs will merely double it
- Account Based Marketing & Cloning Best Customers: As sales and marketing teams embrace Account Based Marketing (ABM), they have come to realize that ABM requires that the two departments agree on what constitutes a best customer as well as how to identify them. Account Based Marketing is a balancing act between extending your target market and retaining strategic focus. Firms need to direct their energy and investments into a universe of best prospects and customers. Once this ABM target list is defined, sales and marketing must maintain a laser-like focus on these candidates.
- Account Based Marketing & Expanding Your Footprint: When assessing vendors for Account Based Marketing (ABM), the initial focus may be on building the ABM target list, but equally important is the ability to sell more broadly across an organization. Thus, deep contacts and linkage are critical for upselling, cross-selling, and accessing new pockets of potential buyers within firms. After all, it is easier to sell deeper into your best fit accounts than it is to establish that initial beachhead. Furthermore, a broader footprint generates both greater income and greater account security.
- Account Based Marketing & Company Research: Account Based Marketing (ABM) has been re-embraced as a strategy by sales and marketing teams as they have realized that traditional outreach methods (e.g. banner advertising, phone, and email) need to be better targeted towards a set of Ideal Customers. Simply taking a “spray and pray” approach to marketing is becoming less effective as prospects become less willing to answer calls or read poorly targeted emails. If the voicemail is generic or the email appears to be generated from a marketing automation platform, it is unlikely that the prospect will do anything beyond hit the delete button.
- Meet ABM’s Kid Brother: ABSD: In my last few blogs, I’ve discussed Account Based Marketing (ABM) as a targeted approach to strategic B2B marketing, but have yet to broach the subject of how ABM affects sales reps. Since ABM began at the very top of the funnel as programmatic marketing to anonymous targets at named accounts, it had little process impact further down the funnel; but now that ABM has become a broader marketing strategy for named accounts, the question is much more relevant.
- MQL and SQL — Why Can’t We Just Agree on Lead Qualification: For too long, sales and marketing have been at loggerheads over what constitutes a qualified lead. This disagreement on what is an actionable opportunity has been one of the sources of ongoing conflict between sales and marketing. How many times has marketing crowed about all the leads they generate for the sales team only to be dismissed by sales reps and their managers?
- I Don’t Want More Leads (and Neither Do You): The headline to my email read, “I don’t need more leads. Said no marketer ever.” I guess I’ll be the first to disagree with that statement – as would the marketer who wrote the headline. You only need to read her subsequent copy which states “When fully integrated into your demand generation efforts, predictive marketing enables B2B marketers to drive deeper buyer engagement and increase revenue opportunities from target accounts.”
Note: I am a former Avention employee (2001 – 20010)