What is Account-Based Marketing?
While many marketing activities are focused on building a customer base and reaching new prospects, there’s a lot to gain by marketing to existing customers. In fact, it can cost up to eight times more to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one.
Given this huge disparity, many companies develop strategies to maintain and strengthen relationships with existing clients. This is known as account-based marketing.
The concept has always been around in one form or another—particularly among B2B companies—but new technologies are allowing businesses to put together more comprehensive strategies. When a business has a clear understanding of its customers, it can customize services and offers to each customer’s specific needs.
Your company can take an account-based marketing approach to gain this understanding and build solutions that generate more value. On this page, you’ll find a more in-depth explanation of account-based marketing, as well as the steps involved and the benefits your company could enjoy by using them.
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What is account-based marketing?
Account-based marketing is the process of developing individual marketing strategies for key customers and accounts. Instead of segmenting by business type or size, these accounts are chosen based on their revenue potential over the long term, and strategies are designed to generate the highest revenues possible.
Account-based marketing can be considered a variation of one-on-one marketing. Because no two customers are alike, no two ABM approaches will be alike, either. It’s also the ultimate iteration of customer relationship management, because it involves staying in regular contact with accounts and personalizing your messages for each.
While account-based marketing makes the most sense for B2B marketing, it can be valuable for marketing directly to consumers as well, particularly if your offerings can meet multiple needs.
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How is ABM different from traditional marketing?
At first glance, the account-based marketing definition makes it sounds like some evolved version of sales, customer relationship management, or integrated marketing. It borrows elements from all of those tactics, but it’s more comprehensive and collaborative than that. Here’s how:
Under traditional marketing paradigms, salespeople work with multiple accounts—often independently—and sell them similar solutions. If there are multiple contacts on either side, someone is chosen to take the lead and take over the relationship. This isn’t the case with account-based marketing.
Your sales reps, creative teams, marketing managers, and content teams can work together to create the best possible strategy for each account, meaning you’ll achieve the best possible results.
Before approaching the account, the marketing team may do extensive research to identify stakeholders, needs, and recent developments to craft a compelling solution for the target account. The research continues even after the first sale, with each of your teams gathering data about account satisfaction, emerging needs, and other concerns that impact how they approach their account’s contacts going forward.
Greater channel integration
Most marketing campaigns span a wide range of channels, and account-based marketing is no different. But instead of gearing efforts towards people from multiple businesses, they’re all geared towards people in one specific account.
Content is written for them, ads are targeted to them, and conferences and other offline events cover the topics the entire organization is trying to address.
What does account-based marketing involve?
Any marketing strategy requires time, money and careful planning. Few strategies involve as many people or processes as account-based marketing.
No two strategies will be the same, since no two accounts are alike. However, all will require the following elements, which can be implemented with the right combination of technology and project management.
Research and analysis
The entire ABM process starts with research—it’s the only way to identify the most viable opportunities within your customer base. Once those accounts are identified, your team will have to continue doing research to figure out what the account wants right now, what it might want in the future, and what kinds of approaches will yield the best results.
Since these priorities may change over time, the research will be ongoing.
Collaboration and delegation
Sales, marketing, business development, client services, and other departments may work together in some situations and independently in others. In account-based marketing, they must always work together to reach the same goals.
Your strategy must be designed to enable easy collaboration between teams, but also be very clear about which teams will handle specific tasks such as communication and content development.
Customer relationship management
If all of your teams are going to be on the same page, everyone has to know what’s already been done. A good CRM platform provides one central location where employees can get a complete view of the account, including key contacts, prior communications and current activities.
This keeps everyone up to date and eliminates the possibility of inefficiency and inconsistency.
Tracking and measurement
In account-based marketing, a strategy is created specifically for one account. The initial strategy may not be correct, though, which is why tracking and measurement are so important.
A reliable analytics program will tell you which strategies are working and which ones aren’t, and your team can use these findings to optimize future campaigns for even better performance.
Ready to create an account-based marketing strategy?
As your company looks for ways to generate more revenue, you may find your best opportunities with existing customers. Consider an account-based marketing approach to get the best results possible.
If you’re considering starting an account-based marketing strategy, WebFX can help. Contact us today to speak with a strategist!
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