ABM is The New Silver Bullet for CMO’s
A CMO in the marketing of today is undergoing a full-scale assault to drive lead generation B2B campaigns for measurable, tangible, and revenue results. The executive leadership, CEO, firm’s stakeholders, and the board have spent huge marketing budgets but show no business results. In this highly competitive landscape, it’s no wonder the CMOs are always looking for a “silver bullet” to drive growth and revenue. Meanwhile, we all know that there’s nothing like a silver bullet; ABM marketing may be the closest that a CMO will find today.
Based on a recent benchmark study by the ITSMA, 87% of companies said that Account-Based Marketing provides more ROI than any other marketing type.
On the other hand, the B2B generation of leads has almost entirely reinvented itself over the last decade. ABM marketing is rapidly emerging as a new discipline that enables businesses to close bigger deals by focusing on accounts that will drive conversion. Enterprises have identified that the traditional lead generation B2B programs and automation marketing tool that support them were primarily created for a specific type of deal – the short cycle, high velocity, usually lower value accounts. It resulted in the maturity of marketing efforts and enterprise sales across all industries. Marketers are identifying that their tactics and mindset must closely align and shift with that of sales.
Yesterday’s mantra for success: Capture and nurture leads, kick to sales.
Today’s mantra for success: Land and expand as an orchestrated team
We recently talked to a CMO about the key metrics for CMOs that have financial accountability, along with the relevant technologies and strategies. He discussed account-based marketing and its impact on achieving quantifiable marketing results and aligning it with the sales team. We have also heard a similar refrain from other CMOs, but we have also seen unsuccessful ABM initiatives. This created an interest to explore why an Account-Based Marketing strategy is useful in some companies but not so effective in others. So, it comes down to one question –
Are You Ready for Account-Based Marketing?
While ABM marketing is a powerful strategy to add any marketing mix, you must address the elephant in the room. Ask yourself – Am I truly prepared to implement a successful Account-Based Marketing initiative? Everyone is not ready, and if you don’t have the required foundational elements in place, you may be wasting your money, time, social capital, and of course, your effort. Based on our clients’ and personal experience, these foundational elements have specific conditions on the marketing team and particular sales process conditions.
Why CMO’s should Care about Account-Based Marketing Strategy
There are several compelling reasons not to take ABM marketing too seriously. As a valued executive at your firm, these tie closely to the results for which you are responsible. Meanwhile, adopting this go-to-market approach affects VPs, CMOs, and marketing leaders everywhere.
Compatible with Complex Sales Process
ABM marketing works best in the sales process with a complex sales cycle that involves several stakeholders over an extended period. The customer is a client for life, meaning account based marketing helps close the first deal and nurtures the relationship over time for future revenue. Leveraging an account-based marketing strategy to expand accounts’ opportunities is essential because marketers have experience in account expansion versus account acquisition. It is usually overlooked and a powerful element of a successful ABM marketing program. The entire sales team is organized around significant account selling, and important highly interested accounts are easily identified in this situation.
Marketing has Sales Acumen
Time after time, we have seen ABM marketing successfully driven by the marketing leaders with sales credibility and insight. They talk and walk just like a VP of sales. They have a quote, have experience working with sales, and have experience in driving revenue results. The takeaway here is that this marketing leader has sales and revenue credibility as perceived by the sales team. If you are a member of a marketing team that never talks to sales, is never involved in reviews and sales meetings, and is seen as the “pens and mugs” department, this will be a challenging task for you.
Marketing is Aligned with Sales
An organizational chart speaks thousands of different languages based on the department. From our experience, the best ABM programs are run by the marketing teams that are closely aligned with the sales-accounts team. This means they sit in the same area, meet the same clients, attend the same meetings, have a similar quote to receive and work towards the same goal. This approach requires close alignment between CMO in marketing and sales Heads to launch, define, and optimize any ABM marketing initiatives. Both the teams work to uncover a perfect account list that relies primarily on data.
Successful ABM marketers use several new automation marketing tool to fuel their ABM efforts. The core solutions – CRM and automation in marketing – are in position and optimized, including personalization and integration. The advanced account-based marketing strategy leverages retargeting, predictive analytics, and AI tools. If you are a regular user of marketing automation solutions that are not connected to your CRM, then the ABM may be a stretch for you. Usually, we see marketers use the marketing automation tool as a glorified email solution. And if this is the case, even the most advanced tools won’t help. You have first to optimize your existing resources.
You can quickly learn about a marketing company’s readiness for ABM by looking at its existing metrics. Find yourself in a more traditional marketing mode and report metrics depending on the activity like the total number of visitors to your website, the total number of people that attended your webinar, or open and click-through rates of your campaign. You may not be mature for a revenue-driven account-based marketing strategy. The more distant your existing metrics are from revenue, the less ready you will be for ABM. Generation of leads with your marketing automation campaigns will be tricky without accurate metrics.
The CMOs are implementing are finding the following benefits:
Strong Brand Recognition
ABM enables you to build and cultivate trust with your customers, creating substantial brand value over time. With the traditional demand generation approach, where you emphasize velocity and volume, there was a growing pressure to do more. With the advent of the sales automation solution, you can enable the sales representatives to blast messages to prospects. This produces “scorched earth.” When you send a message that is not relevant to someone and everyone but only about the people that respond, you risk your brand reputation for those who don’t respond. In simple words, you are damaging your overall brand reputation. Although, if you take the time to leverage the core tenants of ABM and take the time to send a message that is relevant and personal to a targeted audience, you are creating trust and a stronger brand.
Marketing owns the customer journey
ABM instructs intelligent account expansion at current customer accounts. As you move up in the enterprise, businesses depend more on expansion revenue to grow their business. To effectively deal with multiple buying units and complex accounts, the teams must coordinate their efforts. In an ABM program, all the customer-facing teams are in harmony to ensure a customer’s experience is consistent, positive, and is in context with the rest of the account. It’s about giving a holistic view of every customer account, coordinating the interaction across teams for each stage of the customer experience, and then measuring the results with an account centric lens.
New Strategic Advisor
Since the marketers have become the customer journey owner and are usually assigned more responsibility, they have secured a seat at the table. More executives, including the CEO, turn to a marketer for essential business decisions. The expansion of responsibility for customer engagement beyond marketing activities indicates that the future of the CMO in marketing is very bright. Harvard Business Review (HBR) explains that most CEOs are making the shift to a customer-focused growth strategy, and they are stepping out to drive company-wide change to improve their customers’ experience.
Increased customer satisfaction
ABM continuously delivers a relevant and personal experience that the customers want. So, the leaders have turned to what drives growth: creating more value for customers and leveraging new technologies to transform the customer experience. According to the Harvard Business Review, “The most customer-centric companies are the ones that are outperforming their competitors and are raising the bar set on customer expectations.” The correct person to own the orchestration and coordination of relationships is a marketing professional as they have the skills and the technology to do so. ABM is a trending revenue-generating technique of personalizing customer experience for increased satisfaction.
Managing the Change that Comes with ABM
It’s natural and expected human behavior to inherently oppose change since the fear of the unknown is genuine. Understanding how to effectively manage change is an essential part of successfully implementing any initiative. The organizations that recognize the need for active change in management to help guide their ABM program are usually the ones that see rapid success. One of the most significant changes occurs on the marketing side. A team that used to be measured by the total number of leads generated is now measured by down-funnel metrics and engagement with the target accounts. In well-executed ABM programs, the only challenge is that more sales representatives will want to be included than the program can accommodate.
The Case for ABM
ABM drives much better results than most marketing initiatives. Given the complexity in effectively achieving any of the foundational elements for the ABM program’s success, many CMOs see ABM as the way to get started and as a “silver bullet” that can solve many problems of the past. ABM is not about just a piece of technology, having only one meeting to continue working in a silo or establishing key accounts. ABM is a multi-faceted strategy that needs understanding in every foundational element. Technology does us a huge favor in implementing a specific solution as a concrete action that can effectively drive change across the entire company, but only if it is capable and prepared to digest and embrace this change.
What we have to do
70% of marketers said they have adopted or are planning to adopt ABM, and 84% said they receive more ROI from ABM than their other marketing programs, according to research by ITSMA and DemandMetric. ABM is a highly strategic method that effectively aligns marketing and sales to target key accounts and contacts with personalized engagement. As a result of the vast explosion of data analysis and marketing automation tools, ABM has increasingly become a high priority for enterprise marketers. To deliver tangible business results, break through the clutter of marketing communication, and get their sales team afoot in overwhelmed executives’ door overwhelmed executives’ door—partner with Infotanks Media for the best data-driven ABM strategies. Get a completely customized solution today!