In a new webinar, Jon Miller, CEO and co-founder of Engagio and co-founder of Marketo, explains what Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is and how marketers can use it to generate heftier deals.
Lead generation, a powerful tool for reaching small businesses, is the right fit for lower value deals. Penetrating larger accounts, however, demands a more structured approach. Account-Based Marketing is the rung up the ladder that puts medium or large deals in the marketer’s grasp.
“During my time at Marketo, we became very well known for our demand generation engine,” recalls Jon. “I gave presentations about how amazing it was that Marketo would generate 80% of the sales pipeline, or more, using a combination of content and inbound marketing fueled by marketing automation.”
As Marketo tried to sell to larger and larger organizations, unfortunately, lead generation failed to deliver the results that Marketo expected. “When we sell to large enterprises, or tried to cross-sell into our current customer base, we realized that the playbook we had didn’t necessarily work to reach the bigger fish. Inbound tactics work best at the lower level of the pyramid, lower value deals. Account-Based Marketing is where you start focusing on larger value, more strategic deals at the top of the pyramid,” Jon explains.
How do you define ABM? ABM is, according to Jon, first of all strategic: “It’s is not a campaign or a tactic that you run. This really is a way of thinking about how to run your marketing department or at least a big chunk of your marketing department.” In addition, ABM is personalized: “It’s really important not to spam; emails have got to be relevant and personalized to the audience.”
Jon further believes that the third marketing juggernaut is the notion that ABM is a combination of marketing and sales. “ABM is a bit of a misnomer, because it isn’t just marketing. It’s about how the whole company aligned to achieve your goals.” Jon is also quick to remind marketers that ABM is not only about new relationships; it’s about expanding existing relationships, too.
What makes ABM different from traditional lead generation? Jon lists three things:
First, traditional demand generation tools tend to be people centric. You make lists of people and lists of leads and you run your campaigns to people. But that creates a fundamental disconnect with the sales side, because sales has always thoughts about their process as an account centric process. In ABM, marketing recognizes that it needs to be account-centric just like sales.
Second, ABM tends to be more outbound as opposed to inbound. Jon compares it to fishing: “Traditional demand generation is like fishing with a net. You put your bait out there, if it’s a good day, you catch the right fish and then you run them through your funnel to get stuff out the bottom. But you don’t really care which specific fish you catch, as long as you can catch enough total fish to make your number. That’s the demand generation model, and it works great in the higher velocity, lower value situation. But when you’re going after a named account lists, either you have a narrow market or an enterprise focus, or maybe you’re trying to market to your own customer base, you don’t wait around for the right people from those companies to swim into your net, you need to reach out to them using outbound tactics, or in this analogy, spear fishing.”
Third, ABM also focuses retention and customer cross-sell and upsell, while lead generation focuses on new leads.
According to ITSMA, who coins to the term ABM, it delivers the highest ROI of any B2B marketing strategy or tactic. “At the core it comes down to this concept of zero waste. If marketing and sales can agree on a named account list, marketing can direct all resources, time and energy against just that list of target accounts. Then by definition, you know all your marketing is going where sales wanted it to go, zero waste,” says Jon.
ABM is a powerful way to generate higher value deals. It’s about finding the right accounts and engaging them. “I think ABM is going to be the next big thing in B2B marketing,” Jon concludes.