I’ve been a B2B marketer for about 20 years. We’ve never had trouble identifying the unique challenges we face compared to B2C: B2B deals have a much longer sales cycle, there are more influencers and the buying decision is much more complex. “If you’re buying a pack of gum, you’re probably the only person involved in the purchase decision,” I would sometimes declare in presentations, “unless you have kids.” And the audience would chuckle politely.
We’ve tried lots of ways to address the challenges. I’ve personally put a lot of effort into reaching B2B decision makers through social media and content (a.k.a. inbound) marketing, with more than a little success. And no matter how much we hem and haw, we still go to trade shows. We still buy ads online and in airports. And somehow, despite what people like me predicted in 2008, we haven’t abandoned email and the telephone for Twitter.
These days, everybody is talking about account-based marketing, which, according to TOPO, is “the coordination of personalized marketing and sales efforts to drive engagement at a targeted set of accounts.” SiriusDecisions reports 92 percent of companies they surveyed recognize the value of ABM, and 60 percent of those who have employed ABM for at least a year say it has driven a revenue increase.
In fact—and I am not joking—today on Kearny Street in San Francisco, on my way to see Nicky the Barber, I passed two guys discussing ABM. So it must be the next big thing. But is it just the next next big thing?
Hot, With a High Probability of Success
I don’t think so. First, let’s be honest, all good marketing is about reaching the right person at the right time with the right message. I had a neighbor once who had a door-to-door lightbulb seller knock on his door moments after a lamp went out and he realized he had no light bulbs in the house. We’re all trying to approach that level of immediacy and ability to solve a customer’s problem at the moment they’re ready for a solution. ABM has a tremendous amount of potential to do that.
- ABM forces a tighter alignment of sales and marketing.
- An ABM strategy considers all the influencers in the account, not just the one person who answered the phone.
- It’s a complementary strategy to existing efforts (inbound, outbound, direct mail, advertising, etc.).
- It works with your existing marketing tools.
At Leadspace we’re pretty bullish on ABM, both to help us reach our own audience of B2B demand-gen pros looking for data-driven predictive analytics, and to power our customers to use Leadspace as part of their own ABM approach. That’s one of the reasons we partnered with ABM pioneers Engagio.
As I believe I may have read in a press release somewhere, Engagio’s Jon Miller agrees. “We partnered with Leadspace because their predictive analytics platform is the best way to connect people to accounts and understand the relationships among them,” he said. No wonder we like him.
Shut Up and Let Me Download the E-Book
At this point you’re probably thinking, “Dave, how can I learn more about implementing ABM, maybe from that smart Jon Miller guy and the ABM experts he no doubt hangs around with in secret marketing bunkers? And why have you spent so much time reminiscing when the obvious purpose of this blog post was to present the e-book?”
I’m not sure I like your tone, sport. But anyway, Jon and his pals have penned an impressive tome that tells you just about anything you’d want to know about ABM. Remember talking about “thud value” with printed materials (or the considerably less-euphonious “plop value”)? I don’t know what the digital equivalent is, but this baby has it.
Download it now and enjoy it around the fire this festive holiday season.