Account-based marketing (ABM), also known as key account marketing, is a form of marketing that has teams fishing for conversions with spears instead of nets. It’s a focused strategy to B2B marketing that challenges the traditional lead-based approach many teams currently practice. ABM is centered around revenue teams that work to keep marketing and sales aligned, following the idea formerly referred to as ‘smarketing’. This sounds very similar to a concept we’ve touched on known as Revenue Operations, which is a framework that can power your ABM strategy to capture profitable revenue accounts.
What is an ABM strategy?
Instead of targeting people with a lead funnel process, an ABM strategy begins with targeting prospects who have huge revenue potential for your business. (The fish analogy makes more sense now, huh?) Teams target accounts directly instead of nurturing prospects down the lead conversion funnel without 100% knowing whether they will convert or not. Spears are thrown directly towards the big fish who’re the stakeholders and decision-makers, cutting out the interest stage found in a typical conversion process. It’s all about the revenue in ABM.
What Makes an ABM Strategy Successful?
For an ABM strategy to succeed, marketing and sales departments must stay aligned and work together to make sure they are creating a personalized experience for potential customers. Modern marketing is all about delivering memorable and valuable experiences along the entire customer journey. Sound familiar? Revenue Operations, a framework that aligns marketing, sales, and customer success teams to deliver the best customer experiences, suits any ABM strategy well because of the revenue team that is involved. All revenue teams are composed of people who regularly interact with prospects and customers to ensure an unforgettable B2B customer experience. An ABM strategy focuses on creating a personalized experience for account holders from the get-go... meaning that marketing and sales teams must build meaningful relationships with stakeholders! But before teams can capture the attention of stakeholders, they must have access to the most up-to-date data to bolster your ABM strategy.
Data Will Hold your ABM Strategy Together
Data has become the single most important metric for all B2B companies. Without it, teams wouldn’t have the leverage to make intelligent, meaningful decisions that have a direct bottom-line impact. With 92% of companies recognizing that ABM is a must-have in B2B marketing, stepping up your data game should be a priority to hold your strategy together. An ABM strategy uses personalized sales and marketing efforts to target new businesses while creating deeper relationships with existing customers. Targeting is only intelligent and strategic when you’re guided to the right accounts, or else have fun putting your marbles in accounts that won’t turn out to be revenue drivers for your business. That’s what data is for. Marketing and sales teams need data to create these experiences to ensure their personalized messages align with what the numbers are telling them. So why not adopt a framework that converges sales, marketing, and customer success teams to drive more revenue and focuses on aligning teams and integrating company data?
RevOps Merges Free-Flowing Data with ABM
In Revenue Operations, connecting business and activity data across technology stacks is crucial to keep the revenue engine running. The purpose of this framework is to break down all organizational data silos and make every piece of data available to everyone involved in creating and maintaining value along the customer journey. Sounds like a perfect framework for an ABM strategy that just so happens to focus on the same thing. B2B companies executing an ABM strategy struggle with gaining and maintaining intelligence on their prospects and existing customers. When business is booming, growth can sometimes make it difficult to track each contact that swims in your pool. This issue becomes plaguing when marketing and sales teams are unable to successfully gather valuable insights on potential accounts to splurge on because the much-needed data is nowhere to be found, or even nonexistent. With RevOps functioning as a free-flowing data framework, all data is connected and pretty much glued together. This means all silos are broken down and every ounce of data is made available to marketing and sales teams who are ready to engage with a new opportunity or remain engaged with an existing customer. The good news is that RevOps already unifies technology and processes across teams involved with the revenue engine to ensure the free flow of data exists. The bad news is that it does require companies to assemble a team to spearhead these operations and make them as smooth as possible. This group of people is known as the revenue team. Building a revenue team will help create better experiences—The meat of any ABM strategy.
A Revenue Team is a Valuable Supporting Cast
84% of marketers say that ABM delivers a higher ROI than any other approach out there. 84% of polled marketers are bold, but they have reason to agree with said statement. But imagine how powerful your ABM strategy would be if your sprinkle in some RevOps tactics or even better, go all-in with Revenue Operations. When a company has a RevOps framework in place, that means there is a revenue team involved responsible for aligning the team with the overall business view. In this case, the number one goal is to score as many profitable accounts that fit your customer profile. The good thing about this is that the revenue team is made up of your marketing, sales, and customer success teams, or anyone that interacts directly with prospects and existing customers. These people work hard to create valuable experiences that continue to support the idea of modern marketing being customer-centric. The beauty of having a revenue team is that everyone involved makes their expectations clear. No one is left to be a lone soldier. What I mean by this is that those involved with targeting accounts can create their process and pretty much lay down their guidelines. Everyone is on the same page and no one is acting on their agenda, preventing departments from acting in a disparate manner. Because marketing and sales teams are working together to fish for promising accounts, both teams must be ready to switch roles from time to time. Remember when I said that modern marketing no longer follows the traditional marketing approach of being limited to building awareness and making the handoff to sales? In today’s world, prospects jump from stage to stage, which is why working with a free-flowing data environment best suits your ABM strategy. Everyone involved must have complete visibility and understanding of your customer journey to complete the ultimate goal of reeling in the bigger fish. This calls for quality data on customers and business activity, which is all integrated and stored in one place with Revenue Operations running the show. Your ABM strategy will thrive if your data game is stepped up, but it will also revamp the process marketing and sales teams undergo and give them bigger fish to fry.
Revenue Operations was Made for ABM
At the end of the day, creating a holistic, customer-centric view requires unified data that aligns teams. It is especially true in any ABM strategy since marketing and sales are pretty much the centers of the show. Revenue Operations will keep your teams on their heels and have them ready to throw their spears when the storytelling data they gather highlights the revenue-driving opportunities that’ll keep your business booming.