@ Adetem’s B2B club, we discussed yesterday “ABM: What’s new with strategic accounts?” Stakeholders and participants debated, questioned and shared their experiences.
But first of all, : what is the ABM?
ABM – Account Based Marketing – formerly called “one-to-one marketing” focuses marketing efforts on key accounts. An quality is preferred to quantity. It is a natural approach for startups who lack budget and resources, and also a marketing strategy used for 30 years in aircraft engine manufacturers sector. ABM strategies are often deployed in companies with long and complex sales cycles.
So, how do we do it?
Stakeholders have detailed with us the 4 steps required to implement an ABM strategy:
1. Identify strategic accounts
2. Define a dedicated business plan
3. Produce customized campaigns and content
4. Measure these target accounts engagement
Géraldine Cabannes, expert in marketing strategy in IT, proposed the below infovision to the participants:
Géraldine confirms that a top down approach is necessary for the orchestration of an ABM strategy. It requires a predefined methodology to be validated by all actors: CEO, sales manager, account managers, marketing manager. Then, a dedicated business plan shall be define for these key target accounts in collaboration with the sales and account management. It will require regular steering commitees to optimize all marketing efforts.
Some companies invest in ABM solutions and / or are accompanied by ABM agencies. Working with an agency will help enrich data and increase the coverage of accounts, for example. (For information only, ABM Orkestra may be quoted.)
Three Azalead users shared their experience of using a dedicated solution:
For Sarah Chaniet, Marketing Director at 3LI Business Solution, this solution, which was implemented in two months, allows her to get real-time feedback to share with the sales representatives in charge of the accounts. The interactions of each client are identified and reflected in the CRM. Sales team are pretty satisfied to get this information and alignement between Sales and Marketing is greatly improved.
André Quicheron, Head of Field Markeking at Colt Technlogy Services, considers ABM “switches on the light in the room”. When we previously knew that 100 people visited our web site, we are now able to identify them, focus on them, track their engagement and compare to non-strategic accounts. Marketing offers value when communicating this information to the account managers.
Guinel Cadignan, Marketing Digital Manager at iXblue, now measures the commitment of his target accounts, which he was not able to do before. He can then decide how and how much to invest on these accounts, and develop a personalized marketing plan. For example, iXblue now adapts its home page and content according to the target account that visits it!
For all, doing ABM means listening to the client and giving him what he likes! They report daily improvement in terms of alignment with Sales, and collaboration between marketing and Sales is strengthened. Sales know their customers better and can engage in conversation more elegantly and intelligently!
What about ABM and Social Selling?
According to André Quicheron, if a priori Salesmen seem rather reluctant to engage in dialogue with strategic accounts via social media, they adhere to it more easily when they are accompanied in the process as it was the case @ Colt:
• Development of personal brand,
• Training in 3 modules,
• Relevant content to share with key accounts, provided by Marketing of course !
Not only is their personal digital identity improved, but the customer relationship benefits from this content pushed at the good time, for the good reason. (see my blog post on Content Marketing) .
We move from interaction to exchange.
Which indicators to measure the effectiveness of an ABM strategy?
The following indicators will help measuring if your ABM marketing strategy is successful:
- Sales cycle acceleration
- Sales amount increase
- Upselling, cross selling
- Interactions with customers
- Customer loyalty
and last but not least, marketing alignement with Sales – which can not be measured- should not it be considered as the best indicator of a successful ABM strategy ?