B2B marketing has evolved notably in recent years. Nevertheless, not since the appearance of inbound marketing had such an intense and transformative change loomed on the horizon as account-based marketing or ABM.
Traditional sales strategies are beginning to fade away, while new initiatives are pushing ahead. Getting a proper grasp of the implications of organisational dynamics and management, correctly selecting key customers in the business and building models that ensure effectiveness are some of these.
Despite the range of possibilities that exist, B2B sales has become more complex with the passing of time, for three very specific reasons: less interaction with the customer, the large number of people involved in the process, which hampers joint decision making, and lastly, digitalisation.
The problem is not just that selling is more difficult, but moreover the outlook is constantly changing
At present, as Professor Jaime Castelló points out in his online KAM programme: Building relationships with strategic customers, the road to success has two key stopovers: guaranteeing the loyalty of the most valuable customers and strengthening companies.
Out of all the possibilities and tools that exist to attain these goals, account-based marketing offers the solution to the need of the moment: the ability to stand out.
New reality, new strategies
The great advantage provided by ABM is that it makes it possible to perform marketing initiatives that are more specific, personalised and focused on boosting business, generating more value and enhancing sales opportunities.
It allows a coordinated partnership that also has the right tools to target the most important accounts, orchestrating multichannel campaigns that enable the message to be consistent irrespective of the medium.
Concepts like the number of leads and lack of coordination between sales and marketing are a thing of the past. Now we have sales based on a story that shows what the road to success will look like.
We are moving away from straitjacketed structures in which the customer sits and gives instructions and instead adopting a made-to-measure mindset, exerting the necessary control to get the desired results.
Eighty percent of companies are thinking of buying solutions involving account-based marketing
ABM, step by step
Within the world of B2B sales, account-based marketing has arrived quite recently. It is booming in Canada and the US and growing steadily in central Europe. Although it is a fairly old concept, the number of companies that are switching over to this method is growing increasingly fast.
1. Select profiles
The first step of any strategy is to select the most interesting profiles. From a horizontal perspective, their appeal is analysed, whereas a more vertical focus is given to the customer’s receptiveness to our technology or their willingness to work together.
2. Define and personalise your strategy
Getting to know the customer and their potential needs makes it possible to answer questions like: What do they need? What solution am I going to give them?
3. Choose a relevant channel
Working with proposals that match the customer’s needs with the supplier’s solutions helps to find the meeting point with the audience and choose the most suitable medium for setting up the conversation.
4. Provide solutions
In order to generate high-impact solutions we need to know not just the customer but also the decision-making processes. The ultimate purpose of ABM is to create value propositions.
5. Measure, learn and optimise
Sales effectiveness is not the only thing we should measure. Marketing campaigns play an important role and will be decisive in measuring success and failure.
The effectiveness and use of ABM is reaffirmed by 71% of companies
A more optimised future
ABM is not a success that is measured solely in sales. Neither is it a strategy or a name for a new area of technology solutions. ABM is a combination of strategy and technology, but also other KPIs linked to the capacity to relate to and get to know the customer.
People who are trying it are experiencing customer interest, as it employs a methodology that catches the attention of the potential customer unintrusively and always providing them with value in accordance with the purchasing process.
These strategies are not mutually exclusive: it is possible to continue with other marketing strategies with potential customers and adopt an ABM strategy for those selected customers, as there is no bigger mistake than treating all your customers the same way.
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