While it’s true that 80% of marketers said that ABM outperforms other marketing initiatives, that doesn’t mean it’s a one-size-fits-all solution. Consider using these 3 ABM tests to see if ABM is right for you.
Of course there are so many use cases for ABM that it’s nearly impossible to cover them all, but here are a few tests that will help you determine whether ABM is right for you.
ABM depends on the number of stakeholders
The biggest difference between ABM and direct response is the number of stakeholders that are targeted. With a traditional campaign, your ads might be going out to 50,000, 100,000, or even millions of people.
Which isn’t a bad strategy if your deal size is, say, $50.
But if your deal size is between $10,000 to $100,000, it doesn’t make sense to randomly target a huge number of people. That’s because closing large deals requires getting multiple stakeholders at the same organization to sign off. On average, B2B sales now require 5.4 people to formally sign off on each purchase.
That means if you’re just using traditional digital advertising, you might be getting your ads in front of hundreds of people, but it’s likely that they’ll be at different companies. That means that you won’t reach that threshold of five stakeholders and you’ll end up wasting a lot of ad dollars.
Of course, it’s possible to close B2B deals using a traditional approach (most companies do), but it puts a much greater strain on your sales team and isn’t very efficient.
Account based advertising allows you to target people within a certain company so that you can make sure your ads are being seen by the people you want them to be seen by. This, however, is only possible if you’re working with an ABM vendor who allows you to see engagement at both the account level and contact level.
Looking at the contact level data you can see whether you’ve interacted with enough influencers within your target account to have a better chance of closing the deal.
ABM depends on the length of your sales cycle
Another ABM test to run when deciding whether or not to use ABM is the length of your sales cycle. One of ABM’s biggest strengths is accelerating the sales cycle by influencing decision makers before they even talk to a salesperson.
In traditional lead-based marketing, a prospect interacts with one piece of marketing material (e.g., an ebook or webinar), and then their contact info is sent over to a salesperson. The salesperson then has to do outreach, educate the customer about the product, and close the sale.
ABM takes some of the burden off sales and shifts it over to marketing. At its core, account-based marketing shortens the sales process by extending the involvement of marketing in the sales funnel.
By using a hyper-targeted account list, marketing can deliver personalized ads and educate the prospect through multiple touchpoints. A prospect can be shown an ad for an ebook, then a webinar, then an event, and so on. By the time the prospect is sent to sales, they are very well primed for the product, and the sales team can simply address technical questions and close deals.
It’s good to think about the length of your sales cycle when considering ABM. If your sales cycle is just a few days long, then ABM might not have enough time to work. On the other hand, if your sales cycle is three to twelve months (or even longer), then ABM is perfectly suited for you.
ABM depends on the strength of nurturing content
The final ABM test to consider is how much content you have. Account-based marketing is all about interacting with a prospect through multiple touchpoints. According to Forrester Research, companies that nurture leads make 50% more sales at a cost 33% less than non-nurtured leads.
In the past, nurturing simply meant setting up an email sequence and waiting for the lead to interact with your marketing collateral. While that’s all well and good, ABM offers a far more elegant approach. Rather than simply emailing your target accounts, ABM uses a combination of inbound and outbound strategies to reach prospects both online (across multiple channels and devices) and offline (e.g., events and direct mailers). Here is an example of some of the direct mail campaigns that were part of our first ABM campaigns:
Before you can coordinate an ABM campaign, you need to ensure that you have strong nurture content built out or that you plan to build out. Looking through your content library, you should look at what you have or where there are gaps that need to be filled.
You can learn how to work around certain ABM obstacles by doing what we call the “Customer Journey Mapping Canvas” exercise. This exercise helps you map out who you’re targeting with your ABM campaigns and see if you have any content gaps you need to fill.
If you close sizeable deals, have a longer sales cycle, and have some content in your library, then you should definitely consider adding ABM to your marketing strategies. Account-based marketing isn’t meant to replace your marketing efforts, but rather ABM is there to boost your marketing efforts.
If you’d like to see some of these strategies in action, you can read our Big Book of ABM Campaigns that was co-written with Bizible, Datanyze, LiveRamp, and Radius. Inside you’ll find 5 ABM campaigns that each company actually ran, along with pictures and lessons learned.