At the enterprise B2B level, account-based marketing is a proven tactic for aligning sales and marketing efforts in the pursuit of high-priority clients. In fact, 67% of brands are leveraging account-based marketing in 2020, according to a Hubspot survey.
So, what is account-based marketing? And how can organizations use an account-based marketing strategy to achieve defined sales goals? Keep reading to find out!
What is account-based marketing?
Account-based marketing is an ultra-targeted approach to business marketing that focuses exclusively on identifying and closing specific, high-value clients. What makes account-based marketing so different — and so powerful — is that it views and treats “individual accounts as markets in their own right,” according to the IT Services Marketing Association (ITSMA).
Traditional inbound marketing looks to cast as wide a net as possible within a particular industry, vertical, or marketing channel. Inbound marketers use buyer personas to create campaigns that attract and qualify leads that are then passed to the sales team. However, only 28% of salespeople say that marketing is their best source of leads, which means there’s often a major disconnect between marketing and sales departments.
Account-based marketing seeks to bridge this gap by homing in on only the most highly qualified leads, which includes current accounts that contain multiple buyers and more complex business opportunities. With an account-based marketing strategy, sales and marketing teams work collaboratively to create unique campaigns that are tailored to one individual account or prospective client.
Though it may seem counterintuitive to concentrate resources on a single account, 85% of marketers who measure ROI say that client account management delivers higher returns than any other marketing strategy. Take Northrop Grumman for example; the firm leveraged an account-based marketing strategy to win a 10-year, $2 billion IT services contract with the Commonwealth of Virginia. That’s a powerful testament to the potential of a well-executed account-based marketing strategy.
What are the benefits of account-based marketing?
Some of the biggest benefits of account-based marketing include:
- Sales and marketing team alignment
Typically, marketing teams create inbound campaigns designed to capture as many new leads as possible, while the sales department spends its time nurturing only those leads that are most likely to buy. With account-based marketing, though, your sales and marketing teams must be aligned in order to identify the biggest, most high-value opportunities and collaboratively create utra-targeted campaigns that speak directly to them.
- More consistent and relevant customer experiences
Another great by-product of sales and marketing team alignment is a more consistent customer experience as well as more relevant and tailored marketing messages. Instead of seeing marketing content that appeals to an entire industry or vertical, account-based marketing targets receive campaigns that are designed specifically for them on a routine basis.
- Shorter sales cycles
An account-based marketing strategy can also shorten the sales cycle considerably by nurturing all decision makers within the target account simultaneously. Account-based marketing campaigns give marketers the ability to create campaigns that speak to multiple pain points of a given client, instead of the traditional inbound model which may only focus on one aspect of an industry or vertical at a time.
- Clearer, more measurable ROI
Finally, ROI is much more measurable when using an account-based marketing approach. Because you’re only marketing to one client, the relationship between marketing spend and sales is clear and easily defined.
Top tips for managing an account-based marketing strategy
It’s clear that account-based marketing can help organizations collaborate more effectively to land high-value clients. Here are some top tips for managing an account-based marketing strategy:
- Ditch the personas
With inbound marketing strategies, buyer personas are meant to help guide marketing efforts by defining an ideal client archetype. But with account-based marketing, buyer personas are just too general. Remember: the whole point of account-based marketing is to tailor every single campaign to a single prospective client. So, while buyer personas have their place, they don’t belong in an account-based marketing strategy.
- Identify target accounts
Naturally, before you can launch an account-based campaign, you need to have a target account identified. Think of inbound and account-based marketing as fishing with a net versus fishing with a spear; inbound marketing looks to cast a wide net to catch as many leads as possible, whereas an account-based strategy targets one specific lead and hunts it exclusively. But before you can successfully spear a fish, you have to have your sights clearly set on one.
- Conduct deep research
Once you’ve identified your target account, it’s time to do a deep dive into the company’s pain points, its decision makers, and where it currently is in the buyer’s journey. This will help you craft highly specific campaigns that are tailored to your target account.
- Collaborate to create highly targeted campaigns
With your targets in sight and research compiled, it’s time to develop relevant content and tailored campaigns that will demonstrate why you’re the perfect solution for the prospective client’s problem. Of course, sales and marketing should be collaborating from the first stage of target identification through the research phase, but it’s particularly crucial for these departments to come together during the campaign development phase.
Why use Wrike as an account-based marketing tool?
Clearly, successful account-based marketing calls for a high level of intra-organizational communication and collaboration. That’s precisely what makes Wrike such a powerful account-based marketing tool.
With Wrike, you’ll be able to centralize communication for easy access, unify your marketing processes and cross-team efforts, and easily monitor campaign progress in real time. What’s more, Wrike’s tried-and-true marketing templates and robust suite of reporting features will help you get account-based campaigns up and running faster while allowing you to demonstrate results and ROI to management and stakeholders quickly and easily.
Ready to see how Wrike can help you get up and running with an account-based marketing strategy today? Get started with a free two-week trial.