ABM … Account-based marketing … A – Bee – Em.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Unless you have been living under a rock, you can’t have helped but notice the hype around ABM.  And some of the confusion too.

But here’s the thing about ABM – it does produce results for both marketing and sales.  May not be this quarter, and it may take some work, but focusing marketing and sales effort on specific accounts does increase the return on those efforts, especially over time.

Company revenue, customer satisfaction, and customer retention are the top 3 metrics B2B marketers in the US say are the most important in assessing their ABM results.  Not leads.  Not deal size. Not conversion rates. (Source: Forrester’s BT Marketing Survey, 2017, base: 117 US respondents. Subscription required.)

Why is that?

Because business buying has changed, and you need to change with it.  Today’s B2B buyers exercise more control over the purchase process — and avoid your sales overtures until they are ready to make a purchase. If prospects come to your website and request a meeting — or if your “purchase intent” data shows which accounts are interested in your products — then “boom” — qualified lead.  If not, then B2B marketers must work harder than ever to get the buyer’s attention, and you can’t afford to waste time, effort, and resources chasing the wrong buyers or interacting with the right buyers at the wrong time.

Business models have also changed. Cloud, digital, and <fill in the blank> as-a-service all make it easier for buyers to switch suppliers. B2B marketers must now retain every account they can and grow them into profitability. This business model change from capitalized to rented, from perpetually licensed to pay-as you go, from on-premise to cloud makes a highly-targeted customer acquisition, engagement, retention, and growth strategy essential to business continuity and competitive success.

ABM addresses both of these issues by enabling marketing and sales to jointly obsess over how to pursue, establish, and grow long-term, revenue-bearing relationships with carefully selected customer accounts.

Notice the word “long-term” in the prior sentence? Since almost a third of our marketing survey respondents say satisfaction and retention are how they assess their ABM efforts, the pay off clearly comes from using ABM to invest in – and deepen relationships with – your existing customers. In today’s post-digital world, winning, serving and retaining your customers is the only way to thrive.

Want to thrive with your ABM programs? Forrester can help.

On October 4 in Austin, Texas, my colleague Steve Casey and I will host a preconference workshop focused on helping you drive results for your business using ABM.  Attend this workshop and you will learn how to:

  • Align your ABM strategy with the right business goals. (Hint: Deepening existing customer relationships is one of those goals.)
  • Create a repeatable process for data-driven account selection and personalized engagement.
  • Develop a rational approach to technology adoption and use in executing ABM programs.

This will be an interactive session with a series of exercises and discussion topics that Steve and I designed to ensure marketers, sales enablers, and business executives take away practical examples and advice on how to take your ABM to the next level.  Hope you will come to Austin a day early and join us from 1 pm to 5 pm on October 4 at the JW Marriott.

For those of you in the San Francisco Bay Area who may be interested in a similar experience, please reply to this post — or contact your Forrester representative — to learn about options closer to home and coming up soon!