According to Triblio, “More than 60% of companies plan to implement an ABM program within the next year.” If you don’t know anything about ABM and how it affects the B2B sales process, you clearly need to find out more!
What is Account-Based Marketing (ABM)?
Rather than reusing the same marketing and sales content for each prospect, ABM for B2B sales takes a more individualized approach. This approach involves customizing the message for the specific needs of a specific prospect.
Chief Marketing Officer at TripActions, Meagen Eisenberg, explains ABM as, “more targeted and personalized versus spray and pray, where you’re just trying to capture anyone in your net."
Eisenberg goes on to say, “You’re being very specific about who you want to talk with, and it’s a way for sales and marketing to align on the target.”
This tactic is especially helpful for the B2B sales process because it allows sales reps and marketers to focus on how their products or services will uniquely benefit each stakeholder in a particular business.
This focus enables sales reps to modify their sales pitch for each individual decision-maker, making the business more likely to accept an offer and purchase the product or service.
This is a major benefit of ABM for B2B sales because it’s common to interact with multiple stakeholders through the B2B sales process.
How Account-Based Marketing Works
Knowing how account-based marketing works will give you a better understanding of this effective strategy. Here is a brief overview of the ABM method:
- The sales and marketing teams join forces to determine which accounts are worth targeting.
- After the target accounts have been selected, the company’s social networks and other online channels are investigated in order to discover who the decision-makers are.
- Once contact has been made with one decision-maker, the next step is to get other stakeholders involved. This is where the ABM method of customizing the message for each individual is applied.
- If all goes well, the decision-makers will advocate for your product or service within their company, which ultimately results in a sale.
The ABM Sales Funnel
The sales funnel for ABM is a little different than the traditional funnel. Let’s look at the differences between the two:
- Traditional Funnel - The top of this funnel constantly grows wider as more and more leads are generated. It’s quite possible that most of those leads don’t really have a chance of reaching the end of the sales process.
- ABM Funnel - With a focus on quality over quantity, only prequalified leads enter this funnel. Those accounts are periodically updated.
According to Marketing Land, the different phases of the ABM sales funnel are:
- Target accounts
- Engaged accounts
- Opportunity target accounts
- Won accounts
The problem with the traditional funnel is its oversight of the post-sale relationship with converted prospects. But according to Sangram Vajre, Co-Founder and CMO of Terminus, the ABM funnel focuses more on events and interactions following sales.
Referred to as a flipped funnel, this unconventional system encourages a long-term relationship with customers.
The Benefits of ABM for B2B Sales
Jon Miller, CEO and Co-Founder of Engagio, says, “Account Based Marketing is a strategic approach that coordinates personalized marketing and sales efforts to open doors and deepen engagement at specific accounts.
Sound great right? And it is! But you probably want to look a little more closely at a few specific benefits that account-based marketing offers. Let’s go over those right now.
Customers Feel Valued
Basing your sales message on what a particular person needs will cause that person to feel valued. This will increase the odds of winning a sale.
More Efficient Use of Your Time
When using an ABM funnel, the leads that enter the funnel are limited to those who are most likely to buy your product or service.
This allows the sales team to spend more time on the most encouraging prospects instead of wasting energy on businesses that aren’t likely to buy. This will also free up the sales team from the lengthy process required to determine quality leads.
Increased efficiency combined with a laser-sharp focus on the best prospects shortens the entire sales process. And everyone can agree that quicker conversions are a good thing.
Develops Quality Relationships
In your quest to acquire new customers, don’t overlook the importance of customer retention. In fact, it makes more financial sense to encourage repeat purchases than it does to gain as many new customers as possible.
Why? Because the process of acquiring new customers is more costly than retaining current customers. A decrease in customer acquisition costs increases revenue.
You might think that keeping current customers satisfied is up to the customer service team. Although this department does play a major role in maintaining strong relationships with customers, ABM places some of the responsibility on the sales and marketing teams.
When these two departments provide customized marketing and sales content that successfully converts prospects, those customers will be more likely to continue doing business with your company.
Brings the Marketing and Sales Teams Together
The success of an account-based marketing program depends on the collaborative efforts of the sales and marketing teams. These departments must team up in order to successfully target, engage, and convert prospects.
This is a vast improvement over the standard practice of marketers pushing leads over to the sales team and expecting the sales reps to pick out the leads that are worth pursuing.
Focuses on Engagement to Determine Quality Leads
Picking out the good from the not so good leads takes up time. This time would be better spent reaching out to prospects and moving them through the sales funnel.
ABM for B2B sales provides the solution with its focus on engagement. Only accounts that have indicated enough interest in your product or service are pursued.
This engagement takes on various forms, but one example would be a business visiting numerous pages of your company’s website. This is a sure sign that a prospect is interested in what you have to offer.
By now it should be clear that ABM greatly impacts the sales process for B2B sales. And those impacts are for the better.