The Rarely Talked About Benefits of Account-Based Marketing

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Research clearly shows that a well-executed ABM strategy can generate significant lift for B2B marketing efforts. A study from the Altera Group found that 97% of B2B marketers report that ABM drives higher ROI than other marketing activities. By adopting a mindset of “account awareness,” where you target customer accounts as markets of one, your organization will make better use of resources, leading to greater gains in sales pipeline and revenue generation. 

The benefits of ABM aren’t limited to just ROI, though.

While measurable return is a definite goal of B2B marketing, demand generation teams who adopt ABM often achieve other benefits. Some benefits are expected while others are quite surprising.

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Benefits of Account-Based Marketing

When talking with B2B marketing teams who have adopted a concerted approach to account-based marketing, a few benefits that aren’t strictly related to pure ROI really stand out.

To learn more about the mechanics of implementing ABM, check out An 8-Step Account-Based Marketing Plan To Share With Your Boss.

1. Less Wasted Sales Time

It’s no secret to any marketer that your sales team wants to close more deals and with higher-revenue customers. When organizations are early in the adoption cycle of ABM or struggling with sales-marketing alignment, a common complaint from the sales team can be low-quality marketing leads.

In her 2017 Forbes articleElyse Flynn Meyer had this to say about ABM and marketing/sales efficiency:

ABM structures your marketing efforts on key accounts to drive the most revenue. With such a narrow focus, these initiatives optimize your most valuable resources: time and money.
 By integrating your sales and marketing efforts, you can focus your marketing team to work directly with sales to target and develop content for these key accounts. That will not only maximize the efficiency of your B2B marketing resources, but it will also help build the communication channel with sales to have an aligned sales and marketing organization.

However, this doesn’t mean you should rely on ABM to repair any disconnect between your sales-and-marketing alignment. It’s quite the opposite. A successful ABM strategy depends on buy-in, support and alignment between all involved teams — marketing, the c-suite, sales and customer success. 

The good news is that ABM means your sales team spends a lot less time trying to engage with leads who aren’t qualified, lack a need for your product or don’t have any intent to buy. This, in turn, translates to fewer rejections and a higher conversion rate for each phone call, email and meeting your sales team initiates. And you can be sure, the benefits to sales is returned to marketing in the form of greater feedback and support for your top-funnel engagement efforts.

2. Less Time Spent Processing Leads

Regardless of what kind of B2B marketing strategies and tactics your organization uses, the importance of lead quality is only growing

ABM tactics to carefully target and engage the right decision-makers at the right accounts naturally reduce the number of bad leads your organization generates, reducing the number of hours each week marketing operations specialists spend manually verifying, deduplicating, scrubbing and formatting lead data for upload to the marketing automation platform (MAP) or CRM.

Integrate’s own analysis of some 3.6 million B2B leads that were processed through its Demand Orchestration Platform over a one-year period revealed 45% qualified as “bad” for one reason or another, including 33% which contained duplicate data, 10% with incorrect form fields, 1% missing form fields and less than 1% contained invalid formatting.

While ABM can offer the benefit of refined targeting, account-based marketers still benefit from technologies used to automate lead data verification and processing. Ensuring your third-party partners are providing leads that contain actionable data and automating the standardization of data for upload can save teams dozens of hours each week.

To learn more about how an effective ABM strategy and the right ABM MarTech can help you eliminate dirty data and manual lead processing, look into the research report: The Cost of Bad Leads.

3. Superior Morale

When your lead generation and sales strategies seem as if you’re throwing spaghetti at a wall to see what sticks, it can easily tank morale. Marketing team members get frustrated over sales’ critical attitudes towards their lead generation efforts. Sales’ enthusiasm is quickly deflated when every lead they follow up on seems unqualified or disinterested, for which they blame marketing’s efforts. Customer success may feel like they’re an island, lacking the support they need from marketing and sales to effectively service customers.

ABM can increase team morale, because it changes the demand generation strategy from less of a numbers game to more of a strategic initiative. With well-defined goals, you’re able to make careful, data-driven decisions. The number of rejections on a daily basis decreases. Perhaps best of all, there’s loads of opportunity for shared, quick wins as your target accounts move through their own, unique buyer journey.

4. Less Customer Churn

If your concept of the funnel ends abruptly the moment a customer account is closed and passed to customer success for onboarding, the full-lifecycle mindset associated with ABM can deliver serious benefits with happier customers and less customer churn.

Within an ABM strategy, marketing works to support sales and customer success in their efforts to provide a personalized experience to targeted customer accounts, regardless of whether they’re in the interest stage of the funnel or already signed. By treating your existing customer accounts as opportunities, teams work together to provide better value and offerings to existing customers. 

According to Ari Soffer from LeadSpace, the deep prospect intelligence you get from ABM naturally helps you deliver more personalized service once they’re a customer.

If you’re collecting the intelligence you need for ABM, you should naturally get to know a great deal about your customers and their needs on a very detailed level.

When customers feel like their needs are met and their business is valued, they’re a lot less likely to defect to your competitors.

5. Collaboration & Alignment Aren’t Optional

Marketing teams that think ABM will result in cross-departmental alignment are in for a big shock. ABM doesn’t cause alignment, it requires it.

When your focus is narrowed from markets to accounts, your teams will instantly gain a shared language and understanding of mutual goals. With a clear view of who you’re targeting, there’s little option but to create effective tactics for maximizing the value of each target-account engagement.

Lissa Miller, CEO at iMiller Public Relations, was recently quoted by Forbes, saying that:

Account-based marketing provides for a more targeted and purposeful marketing initiative directly aligned with those of sales. In doing so, both departments keep the other accountable on their specific goals while identifying purpose – driven activities that directly address the unique needs of each account. This is an effective way to ensure that both time and dollars are spent wisely.

With a full-funnel mindset that includes customer retention, marketers are forced to work more closely than ever with sales and customer success on sales, onboarding, retention and referrals.

Marketo claims that, companies are 67% better at closing deals when sales and marketing teams are in sync. They also generate 208% more revenue for their marketing efforts, according to MarketingProfs.

If a marketing team is hoping that ABM will deliver better sales-marketing alignment, they’re in for a shock. Yet, those that rally their sales and customer success colleagues in advance of ABM-program launch, recruiting specific individuals to help create a holistic account-based revenue strategy, will not only find that alignment will improve, but that the benefits of alignment will increase exponentially.

ABM Spells Efficiency & Transparency

For many organizations making the switch to account-based marketing or account-based revenue strategies, efficiency and transparency can be among the two most important benefits. When done right, ABM and ABR ensure marketing and sales resources are focused on the accounts most likely to close and have the highest lifetime value.

Research is clear that ABM is a powerhouse tool for ROI at B2B marketing organizations. However, teams are likely to achieve a lot of other efficiency and transparency-related benefits – including a need for tight sales-marketing alignment and better customer retention – along the way.

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