Account Based Marketing: The strategic flip that’s sure not to be a flop

by in Marketing

funnel-flip

Are you making the most of your pipeline? Over the past two to three years, countless companies have transitioned to account based marketing (ABM), a strategy for creating sustainable growth and profitability among their most important accounts. This transition unfolded relatively quickly, and the momentum continues to increase. According to SiriusDecisions, 92% of business-to-business (B2B) marketers consider ABM important today.

At its core, ABM is a framework that involves aligning sales and marketing teams around a very targeted set of accounts. With its focus on personalizing campaigns and generating prospect-specific offers to connect with customers, it is the polar opposite of traditional broad and far-reaching marketing efforts designed to reach as many accounts as possible—commonly termed the “spray and pray” approach.

Here’s why the ABM trend has gained momentum so quickly: The traditional process of converting customers through far-reaching marketing efforts is extremely inefficient. According to Forrester Research, less than 1% of B2B leads in today’s economy ultimately become customers. The inherent inefficiencies of traditional tactics have caused many marketers to adjust strategies and hone in on more efficient ways to funnel customers through the sales process. ABM has been the natural panacea for many.

An ABM approach tends to result in heightened levels of customer satisfaction, compared to conventional approaches. Because you personalize your messages, they hits close to home and resonate with your audience. According to Alterra Group, 84% of the marketers it surveyed found that an ABM approach reaps significant benefits in terms of retaining and expanding existing client relationships.

Here’s the premise underlying ABM: Focus your marketing on the accounts that are most profitable for you, and return on investment (ROI) will shoot up. The 2014 ITSMA ABM Survey revealed that ABM delivers the highest ROI of any B2B marketing strategy or tactic. Because ABM relies on tailored and personalized strategies, your marketing efforts and expenditures are much more relevant for each account than ever before. This, in turn, reduces the churn of fruitless outbound marketing efforts.

With targeted strategies, marketers and sellers are in a better position to assess the effectiveness of each campaign. It’s far easier for you to draw causation with an ABM approach, as compared to the “spray and pray” approach, which typically relies on broad hypothesizing and predictions about what will move the needle for the majority of accounts.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, ABM puts your sales and marketing teams on the same page and aligns your efforts according to the same basic metric: the account. When you implement ABM effectively, marketing and sales teams work together throughout the lifecycle of an account. According to a 2015 survey by LeanData, sales teams that rely on ABM are 20% more likely to trust the attribution numbers compiled by marketing. They’re also 20% more likely to understand the goals of the marketing team. There’s an unprecedented synergy.

The #FlipMyFunnel Roadshow

In many ways, ABM “flips” traditional thinking on its head when it comes to marketing strategies. In years past, marketers have tended to rely on a largely untargeted and broad approach for capturing leads. It was about reaching as many prospects and customers as possible and then holding on to as many of them as possible.

In 2015, frustrated by the inefficiencies of traditional marketing approaches, Sangram Vajre, co-founder and CMO of Terminus, decided to take a stand on the matter. He launched the #FlipMyFunnel movement and, in doing so, built the first community centered around ABM.

On Feb 25th, #FlipMyFunnel is coming to San Francisco for a one-day event, the #FlipMyFunnel Roadshow. The event will feature a series of speaker sessions and opportunities to mingle and meet others interested in ABM. Vajre describes the event as a “‘No BS’ event. There’s no fluff. Just real-world, actionable insights that you can’t afford to miss.” More than 300 attendees are expected to attend.

The speaker lineup is exceptional. But with so much happening over the course of one day and with multiple sessions happening simultaneously, you’ll need to plan ahead and choose the sessions that are most relevant to you and your company.

Following are our top picks of the sessions to attend:

PICK #1

11:00AM

How Fortune 500 Companies Around the World Use Account-Based Marketing to Drive Business, with Christopher Engman, CEO at Vendemore, Hans Bunes, Global Account Director and Senior Advisor at Vendemore, and Mikael Flygh, Director Channel Marketing Enterprise Group EMEA at Hewlett Packard Enterprise

As companies scale, it becomes more and more difficult for them to remain connected to their customers. This, however, is the silver bullet in terms of ensuring company longevity. For this session, Christopher Engman and Hans Bunes of Vendemore will be joined by Mikael Flygh of HP, who has deep experience in analyzing markets and uncovering new business opportunities. Vendemore has a very intriguing business model, which involves harnessing the power of mass advertising to deliver personalized and tailored content according to an ABM approach. It might seem that these tactics – mass marketing and ABM – are contradictory. Attend this session and learn why and how they can work in tandem.

PICK #2

1:15PM

The Big 5 Metrics for Account-Based Marketing, with Jon Miller, CEO and Co-Founder at Engagio

If you’ve decided to attend #FlipMyFunnel, you’re likely at least partially convinced of the value of ABM. Attend this session and learn how to measure the effectiveness of your ABM efforts. Jon Miller, CEO at Engagio, has a proven track record of success in sales. He founded Marketo and led the company to its IPO in 2013. His current company, Engagio, revolves around ABM, which Miller likens to “fishing with spears instead of a net.” Using multiple online profiles, including LinkedIn, email, and Twitter, Engagio is able to pinpoint the decision makers in an organization and help users monitor their progress towards reaching that decision-maker directly. Consider Miller’s following example of ABM put into practice:

“So let’s say you’re marketing manager at Pepsico and you’re in charge

of selling to the 7/11 account. Engagio maps out the hierarchy of regional managers, branch owners, franchise owners, merchandising managers, and more so that you fully understand the entire team of people to which you’re pitching. You can create web content for a specific pitch or plan some schmoozy dinner with the franchise owners.”

This #FlipMyFunnel session is a must-attend.

PICK #3

2:00PM

Account-Based Marketing: Content Marketing “On-the-Go,” with Joe Chernov, VP of Marketing at InsightSquared

Joe Chernov has become a household name for many B2B marketers.

Before serving as VP of Marketing for InsightSquared, he served as VP of Marketing for HubSpot, where he led the company through its IPO. Tune into this session to learn how you can implement content marketing according to an ABM approach. Chernov certainly has the credentials to speak on the subject matter. He has been named Content Marketer of the Year by the Content Marketing Institute for his efforts at HubSpot and other companies. Under his leadership, HubSpot’s content team built one of the most popular technology blogs of all times, responsible for generating 80% of the company’s marketing-sourced leads. Joe is sure to be a star of the roadshow.

PICK #4

3:20PM

Dead Simple Ways To Get Started With Account-Based Marketing, with Jessica Cross, Director of Audience Marketing at Everstring, and Adam New-Waterson, CMO at LeanData

While ABM seems great in theory, it can’t be implemented overnight. It requires not only a shift in organizational structure, but also a shift in mentality. This session could be aptly labeled “ABM for Dummies.” You’ll learn simple strategies to get off the ground with ABM quickly. Jessica Cross, Director of Audience Marketing for EverString, will share her views on ABM and explain how an ABM approach helped EverString become a leading predictive platform for B2B marketers. Cross will be joined onstage by Adam New-Waterson, CMO at LeanData. Like Cross, New-Waterson believes in keeping it simple. He is adamant in his belief that sales and marketing efforts must be streamlined to ensure that both teams can focus on selling effectively.

PICK #5

4:40PM

Marketing and Sales Fireside Chat, with Sangram Vajre, Founder of #FlipMyFunnel (Moderator), Jill Rowley, Queen of #SocialSelling, and Jason Lemkin, VC and Trusted Advisor at SaaStr

It’s hard to ignore Jason Lemkin’s proven track record of sales success. The co-founder of EchoSign, Jason grew the company from $0-100M in annual recurring revenue, and led it through its acquisition by Adobe in 2011. He is now a managing director of Storm Ventures, as well as the founder of SaaStr. Jason is an acknowledged thought leader in SaaS and has deep experience and purview into how to tailor marketing and sales efforts to gain customer traction. Attend this session and learn why Jason believes that “customer success is where 90% of the revenue is” and why it’s time you should be of the same mindset.

Having already made stops in Atlanta, Boston, and Chicago #FlipMyFunnel is finally coming to the Bay Area. By planning your day well in advance, you can make every session count. Having done so, when you bid adieu to the roadshow on Thursday evening, you’ll be confident in your ability to implement ABM and transform your sales and marketing teams.  

 

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About The Author

Rebecca Hinds
Rebecca Hinds - View more articles

Rebecca Hinds graduated from Stanford University in 2014 with a M.S. in Management Science and Engineering. In 2013, Rebecca co-founded Stratio, a semi-conductor company developing infrared sensors. The company was selected by the Kairos Society as one of the 50 most innovative student-run businesses in the world.