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Has ABM created a change in the marketing world?

  |   Market Outlook

Ashling Kearns, Salesforce’s VP of marketing for the UK and Ireland, comments:

“ABM isn’t new to any of us who work in marketing. The chances are we’ve all employed ABM strategies to better target valuable account leads. What is new, however, is that marketing technology has caught up, and it can now more effectively enable and enhance ABM. These days customers are demanding personalised engagement. With the tools and technologies now available, ABM can really deliver this in a very effective way.”

Here at Marketing Moves, we are increasingly asked for candidates with account based marketing (ABM) skills.

ABM is an alternative B2B strategy that concentrates marketing resources on a clearly defined set of target accounts within a market. It employs personalised campaigns designed to resonate with each individual account.

Many companies, particularly those seeking to acquire specific high-value customers find that they are better served with an ABM strategy rather than taking a broad-reaching approach to their marketing effort.

Because ABM requires more account-level personalisation than traditional marketing methods, it has historically cost more to implement. However, advances in marketing technology have enabled marketers to employ ABM for much less than previously possible and at much greater scale.

The change in the technology marketing landscape

With the rise of technology, traditional marketing departments have evolved. Previously, marketing and communications were under one strategic roof of the 4 ps; product, place and price – with promotion including a tactical mix. However, in many technology companies today the marketing mix has become more fragmented – not following the normal structure expected.

Pricing has now moved to the finance team and sales has become its own team, as has customer support. It seems the marketing mix has now been reduced to just a small set of communications functions.

What does this mean for technology marketing departments?

With the change in the technology landscape, ABM has become increasingly prominent. It drives clear business results and helps to convert leads and generate ROI much greater than traditional methods. Tracking and measuring marketing contribution also becomes clearer – it is easier to draw clear conclusions from methods due to the smaller target size, rather than a vast set of metrics. Additionally it allows marketers to be more efficient in their efforts due to more specialised, personalised, precise and accurate marketing.

With so many moving parts, ABM may seem challenging and complex to execute effectively. However, many organisations already have a strong foundations to build on – and marketers are able to target valuable leaders through the following six key steps:

  1. Identifying the target audience – this includes prioritising high value clients.
  2. Researching accounts – discover how the target account are structured.
  3. Creating relevant content – that addresses clear and significant business challenges the organisation face.
  4. Choosing the right channels – communicate through channels that can be leveraged and which are most effective.
  5. Executing campaigns – coordinate and align for maximum impact.
  6. Measuring results – test, measure, adjust and repeat. 

Has ABM created a change in the marketing world?

Although some aspects of ABM may seem similar to key account strategies, new software and technology has changed the game. To be successful, organisations have to realise it is a team game that needs to encompass other departments such as sales, product and service teams. If the alignment is not there, ABM efforts will go to waste. Teams and departments need to be on the same page to create a winning mindset and tangible results.

Traditional sales and marketing roles have no doubt changed. To create the best experience for customers, marketing participation should continue through to sales and support the full journey.

ABM tools have come on leaps and bounds and there are many different tools to use which can help with target-account identification and personalisation. However, with so many tools on an organisations doorstep, it can be difficult to decide which one you need and time should be invested in researching potential before making any investments. However, software does not dictate success. A strong strategy needs to be in place, including a clear account based view of your CRM and marketing automation platform.

This form of marketing combats the changing needs of the technology sector. But it seems whilst companies are setting up account based marketing teams, they don’t have the people with the targeted marketing skills to deliver what they want.

It’s a new concept to a lot of marketers. As such, those with the ability to show true account based marketing experience can command a high salary.

Here at Marketing Moves, we are building a pool of marketers with core ABM skills, even if they are sometime referred to by a different name. To join that pool or access the people within in, please contact Melvin Day on mday@marketingmoves.com.