ABM has maintained its position as the biggest buzz phrase in B2B for years now with good reason. The term, coined by ITSMA back in 2004, realigns marketing’s core principles of segmentation, targeting and alignment. The result is that businesses effectively focus their resources on the top percentage of accounts that matter most to them.
The adoption of ABM by European organizations is anticipated to increase from 49 percent up to 66 percent in 2020 (2019 State of IT Marketing report by Spiceworks), and the steady incline of its practice will continue to have a meaningful impact on ROI for businesses that implement it properly. More marketers than ever are relying solely on specialist vendors to run and deliver ABM tactics to account lists. But many companies still don’t have a full in-house ABM strategy, despite the demonstrated benefits.
A main challenge that marketers continue to face in the implementation of an ABM strategy is organizing and defining the KPIs. Many strategies focus on quantity-based goals, despite the fact that this negates the very principles of ABM. Marketers must remember not to focus on vanity metrics such as the volume of the traffic, impressions and the number of leads they are attracting on their content. Instead, they should track the subsequent activity and engagement of individual accounts, prioritizing the quality over quantity approach in how they measure success. This will pay off in the long run by securing more conversions and more meaningful buyer relationships, thereby increasing revenue.
In 2020, marketers must focus not just on aligning with ABM, but on integrating it. A holistic approach should mean that sales, marketing and product marketing all incorporate coordinated ABM strategies to create the most targeted campaigns possible. As a result, salespeople spend less time following up unqualified leads and marketers spend less time composing badly targeted campaigns. Successful integration will mean that previously separated departments will be able to work toward long-term goals as one, thereby wasting less time and resource.
Marketers should continue to personalize content to target individuals or accounts. B2C has raised the bar in terms of the personalization expected by buyers. Personalized, engaging content has been proven to accelerate the sales cycle and improve the customer experience. This will continue to cover everything from websites to content, emails, direct mail and advertisements. Technological advancements mean that effective ABM is more feasible than ever, with platforms such as Argus allowing you to view all of your identified in-market accounts and individuals side by side, along with engagement scores, campaign performance trackers and layers upon layers of content consumption data.
The move toward ABM has inspired a move toward MQAs (market-qualified accounts) over MQLs for somewhat obvious reasons, but this doesn’t mean we will be forgetting about MQLs entirely. The problem with relying solely on MQLs is that if multiple individuals from one account make different touchpoints, their individual engagements might not be scored highly enough for this to be flagged. Or the picture of their interest and position in the buying cycle may be inaccurate. The rise of the MQA will be largely dependent on the specific sector your business falls into and the typical size of accounts, but it is something that we are set to see more and more of nonetheless.
Excerpted from What’s Next For B2B Marketing in 2020? by Kingpin.