4 Account-Based Marketing Lessons from the Field

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4 Account-Based Marketing Lessons from the Field

This blog was originally posted on Marketo's Blog here.

By: Charm Bianchini

Posted: March 2, 2016 | Account-Based Marketing

What happens when B2B marketers from leading companies gather for a day? They talk about account-based marketing (ABM), of course! ABM has recently gained momentum in the B2B community as an alternative to traditional demand generation strategies. It is a strategic approach to lead generation in which your time and resources go into targeting a key group of specific accounts.

Last week, the FlipMyFunnel conference brought together some of the top digital marketers in the Bay Area for another stop in a multiple-city roadshow focused on account-based marketing (ABM) and sales.

Understanding what account-based marketing is, why it should be leveraged within marketing programs, and how to measure it effectively were key themes throughout the day. The agenda highlighted customers deploying various ABM programs as well as real struggles being experienced in this new ABM world. Let’s take a look at four key takeaways from the conference that will make an impact on your account-based marketing strategies:

1. The Funnel Must Be Flipped

Gone are the broad-based marketing days. Forrester Research states that less than 1% of leads turn into revenue generating customers. Because of this, it’s time to challenge the status quo and focus your time, budget, and resources on generating quality leads vs. quantity.

If you want to win and retain certain key accounts, you need to utilize ABM. The old lead funnel with Awareness, Interest, Consideration, and Purchase as funnel stages needs to shift toward an ABM-focused one with Identify, Expand, Engage, and Advocate as the funnel stages. Since we sell to accounts and multiple people within accounts, using ABM to identify and engage the right people in target accounts will help you increase pipeline and improve sales and marketing alignment. While your funnel might be smaller at the top, it will yield more qualified leads in companies that you care about in the long run.


2. Pick a Level of ABM to Execute

Deploy the type of ABM programs that work best for your company. What does that mean? There are different types of ABM and one might be a better fit for your marketing strategy and goals. You may want to concentrate on a handful of large accounts and dive deep into an ABM strategy, take a few hundred accounts to do targeted marketing to, or fold your ABM accounts into your existing marketing programs. Spend time on working with sales to select the right accounts and execute marketing programs across various channels for maximum ROI. And you don’t have to master ABM in a day. Prevent yourself and your team from getting overwhelmed by starting small and growing from there. You need to implement ABM in a way thatworks for you and your organization.

3. Select the Right Technology

The conference asked all speakers to list the technologies they are using to execute ABM programs. It’s nice to see marketers are not on their own. Many technologies today make the delivery of ABM scalable and precise. FlipMyFunnel published an ABM stack outlining more than 900 technology vendors to assist the ABM marketer. At the center of the technology stack are marketing automation platforms, like Marketo, that track account insights and engagement, and enable companies to create personalized relationships with their buyers. If you’re just getting started with an ABM strategy, start by evaluating your technology stack and make sure you are leveraging the right technologies to conduct and optimize your ABM programs.

4. Optimize and Measure

Launching an account-based marketing program can be hard, but measuring your results can often be more challenging. But, especially with a new strategy and program, measurement is critical to optimizing and ultimately growing your program. Track the funnel flow starting from the top of the funnel to discover incoming accounts and early results. Some metrics to consider include new names, account engagement, conversion rates, meetings, pipeline, velocity, opportunities, and closed revenue. In addition to tracking key metrics, an important part of ABM is getting regular feedback from sales and collaborating with them on new ideas for optimization. So set goals, A/B test, learn from the results,and iterate.

To learn more about how to get started on ABM, check out our ebook: A Recipe For Lean Account-Based Marketing. And to discover how Marketo is using it today, come watch my presentation, Account-Based Marketing: Marketo’s Collaborative Approach, at the Marketo Marketing Nation Summit.