ABM is one of the most evocative concepts in sales and marketing circles.
For some of us, it triggers memories of gifting box seat tickets to a baseball game in the hopes of landing a dream account.
For others, it brings to mind a manual system of direct mail, branded swag, and cutesy messaging.
But the most persistent idea about account-based marketing—the one that seems to exist across new and seasoned marketers alike—is that running a successful program is only for the big guys.
When we consider that almost 80 percent of a company’s high-value accounts are completely unaware of their offering, it’s clear this mode of thought isn’t entirely sound.
Small teams don’t just stand to benefit from ABM. They now run some of the best programs on the planet.
The old paradigm: ABM is strictly for the enterprise
Many transformative technologies begin with a focus on big enterprises.
Armed with the resources to try these technologies first, this usually perpetuates predictable cycles of wealth. Big companies get bigger while smaller ones struggle to grow.
It doesn’t help that perceptions around ABM tend to dwell on manual target account lists and a strict reliance on direct mail.
The general misconception is that ABM platforms are big, clunky, and require significant resources to manage—a belief that supports the idea that they’re reserved only for those that can afford to experiment with “something new.”
Taken together, these factors kept many myths about ABM afloat. Today, some people still believe that ABM is:
- Enterprise only
- In-person, slow
- Top 50 accounts
- Known accounts
- Only for marketing
In reality, smaller companies are precisely the ones that stand to benefit the most from an account-based approach.
The new reality: Small teams may gain the most from ABM
SMBs have greater needs when it comes to driving scalable growth.
Marketing teams of one or two often face resource challenges when they apply a traditional approach to generating demand.
In practice, that usually means chasing leads. It’s a numbers game that favors volume—and in that narrowing process of filtering folks through the funnel, there’s usually a ton of waste.
With limited staff and a limited budget, marketing dollars and sales efforts fixate on “disqualifying out” the noise rather than pursuing high-fit accounts.
What we’ve learned confirms there’s a better way. For small teams, taking an account-based approach is considerably more important.
Those that adopt an account-based strategy don’t squander their energy on spray and pray. They focus their limited resources on the accounts that will have the most impact on the business.
Combined with the magic of modern ABM platforms, these one and two-person marketing teams execute at a scale that was previously not possible—and they do so in direct alignment with their sales team’s resources and goals.
The road ahead: Greater accessibility to innovation
The days of clunky and inaccessible ABM programs are over.
As smaller organizations take an increasingly data-driven approach to identifying and prioritizing high-value accounts, they also achieve deeper engagement and faster sales cycles for the accounts that matter the most.
COVID-19 has accelerated this shift. With marketing teams of all sizes forced to scrutinize their spend, a growing number of budding brands have caught on to the fact that digital engagement is a lot less effective when casting the widest net possible.
The future of ABM means:
- Small, medium, midmarket, enterprise
- Digital, fast
- Account data and machine learning-powered
- 1000s of accounts
- Known and unknown accounts and buyers
- Marketing and sales collaboration
With digital activity at an all-time high, flexible ABM software empowers the SMB to go beyond the manual target account list and direct mail approach to treat ABM as a mechanism for future growth.
Powered by the right technology, the success of these smaller organizations proves that ABM has evolved—and eventually, the marketing and sales community at large will too.