Updated: Nov 23, 2021
We were onboarding a new client that was looking to grow its business by an additional $3 million next year. When we asked about the company’s target audience and how much revenue a new customer would generate, we learned that on average a new customer is worth about $1.2 million dollars annually. Our response was, “So if we can help you add just three new clients next year, we will exceed your $3 million revenue goal?”
Our client hadn’t thought about it that way because the company sold its engagements one service at a time and then hopefully grew the account by working really hard, providing excellent service, and then getting other opportunities as they arose. Taking a more intentional and strategic approach to grow existing accounts and to land new ones that leverage an integrated sales and marketing effort is called account-based marketing, or ABM.
ABM can help in two ways. It helps you grow existing accounts, and it can help you get new accounts. It works best if you:
Have high-value customers with a high lifetime value (LTV)
Have a sales team
Typically experience long sales cycles
Can provide ongoing services for your clients
Marketing and sales working hand in hand
For ABM to work properly, your marketing team needs to work closely with the sales team. We have weekly meetings with our client’s sales teams and often talk to salespeople daily to provide insights from campaigns and to get insights from them on the voice of the customer, results, and obstacles. We then help provide sales enablement tools, updated messaging, social content, and other support for their sales efforts.
Air support for the infantry
You may be thinking this sounds like typical account-based sales, but the difference is that ABM helps supercharge the sales team. Think of it like this: sales teams are the infantry battling out their campaigns on the ground, with marketing providing the insights and support that can’t be seen from the ground. The air force – marketing – can also soften the targets ahead of the infantry going in to drop supplies to refresh the infantry when they need it or, better yet, before they need it.
Marketing's role in ABM
Help you identify the new accounts you want to pursue
Identify the buying center within that account
Provide competitive insights
Provide messaging and value propositions
Provide market and customer insight
Produce high-quality sales enablement tools and social media content
Generate leads within the account
Provide content that can help grow existing accounts
You can see how working with a good marketing team, that’s providing the support listed above, can help you shorten the sales cycle and improve your sales team’s batting average.
Dividing the world into current accounts and future accounts
When engaging in an ABM strategy, we begin by looking at the client’s existing accounts. Which ones are the most profitable and why? Which ones have the most potential and why? How might we further penetrate this account? Are we working only in one geography? Are there other business lines where we can add value?
Next, we look at the market to determine if there are other companies like these in the market that we are not currently working with. Why not? How can we displace their current vendors? Who should we be talking to there? What are the top 20 companies we should be working with but aren’t?
Support for a long sales cycle
As someone who engages in business development myself, I know how painful it can be to nurture a prospect in a long sales cycle. Is there anything worse than calling a prospect and saying, “Hi, it’s me again. Are you ready to buy yet?” OK, maybe you don’t say it exactly like that, but that is what the prospect hears. Yuck. Wouldn’t it be better to have a library of useful content that helps persuade the prospect by educating them about the value your offerings can provide while increasing their sense of urgency and advancing the sell with each touchpoint? That is why your marketing team should be developing that content in the form of case studies, white papers, webinars, explainer videos, lunch and learns, and other ways that speak to your prospects. Plus, the dialog between sales and marketing generates great objection-handling content for the sales teams.
The final chirp
If you sell expensive things to a small number of people, ABM might be a good fit for your company, but you want to get it kicked off right and have the right partner to guide you through the process. BlueByrd offers an Account-Based Marketing Workshop and also works with clients on a retainer basis to support their ABM activities. If you think your company could benefit from ABM or just want to find out more, let’s jump on a call and chat.