Till about 20 years ago, most big organizations had a mass marketing approach in dealing with the customers. They picked a few market segments and addressed them as a whole, with very little personalization. However, since the 1990s many organizations have moved towards Account Based Marketing (ABM) that helps them tailor their marketing approach towards the needs of each individual account.
Account Based Marketing typically involves the use of personalized marketing messaging, customized services, dedicated support (in the form of an assigned account manager). Account based marketing brings the initiatives of the sales and marketing teams together and helps the sales team become more efficient in closing the loop.
The advantages of ABM include:
- Keeping customers from defecting to the competitors
- Improved relationships with the customer that increases the long term value of the account.
- Reducing the time to close the sale, in complex products & services
- Increasing the size of the account by up-sells
- Enabling the creation new sales strategies
- Selecting the pilot accounts – since it can get impractical to target all your accounts with ABM, it is advisable to pick a smaller subset to start with your ABM campaign. The ones chosen as pilots should reflect the general profile of your accounts, have a higher potential to grow or have a greater risk of defection. Picking the right pilot accounts are thus a crucial part of your ABM campaign. Improper choices increase the risk of some accounts and causes potential loss in sales.
- Tailored project implementation for the pilot accounts. Once the pilots are chosen start understanding their needs and look for their pain points. Once that is done, the product teams have to be involved to brainstorm on how the account’s pain points can be addressed by providing them more customization.
- Build an integrated sales and marketing plan. In this step, the marketing team has to devise a plan that is closely aligned with the sales team’s plan for the account. This included fine tuning the product positioning, documentation, messaging etc. There should also be a lot of customer research that should improve the marketing relevance.
- Tracking and measurement. After you have built a successful marketing strategy for your pilots, collect data to see if you are on track in improving sales and loyalty. Get ROI for various initiatives and refine your selection of future pilots and specific engagement based on the output.