Account Based Marketing (ABM) seems like a no-brainer: focus your marketing spend on the people who are likely to have the biggest impact – your key accounts and targets – and inevitably you will achieve better ROI. Despite the superficial attraction of such a strategy, many companies are only spending a small proportion of their budgets on ABM, and some are doing nothing. Why is this?

This article considers the good and bad reasons marketing teams give for not committing to Account Based Marketing, and analyses how they might overcome the perceived barriers.

We Don’t Have Major Accounts

Some companies argue that they don’t have a product where a small number of accounts are responsible for a significant proportion of sales. In B2B, these products are often general purpose, and sometimes they can be replaced by alternative solutions in high volume. Marketing managers for these products will frequently point to a customer base of tens of thousands of companies.

Despite this, very few products don’t have the potential to attract large customers. For example, casual games attract large spenders called “whales”. These customers can spend hundreds of pounds a month on in-game purchases, and are disproportionately responsible for word-of-mouth about the games. So even when there are millions of customers (or players in this case), major accounts still exist.

By defining key accounts, often companies with these “broad appeal” products will be able to uncover opportunities that they weren’t aware of, building base of larger customers.

We Can’t Reach the Accounts

It’s true that sometimes it can be hard to reach specific accounts, but digital technologies and creativity will usually provide ideas. LinkedIn is one of the best ways to target specific job roles in particular accounts, although CRM retargeting is increasingly popular.

Not knowing the email addresses for contacts in the key accounts is no excuse. It’s easy to find out email addresses for companies: Google and a hundred specialised tools exist to help you get emails, which are almost certainly [email protected] or <firstletteroffirstname>[email protected] or if the contact is senior or the company is small, simply [email protected]. So, there’s no reason not to be able to identify email addresses for direct email or CRM retargeting.

ABM offers an opportunity to be very creative as many things can be used to segment the target audience. We’ve seen companies buy up billboards or sponsor roundabouts outside key target customers: even if you aren’t thinking creatively you can be sure your competitors are!

We Keep Reaching the Wrong People

Frequently ABM campaigns frustrate marketers because you can see your budget being spent on individuals (or less frequently companies) that you don’t want to target. You might want to reach electronics engineers designing ASICs and find that an electrician wiring up equipment to the mains sees your adverts.

Don’t worry!

Your untargeted or broadly targeted advertising will reach a lot more of the wrong people. Giving up on ABM and going back to untargeted advertising with publications is crazy: you’ll just be swapping a few mistargeted adverts that you can identify to a much larger percentage of wrongly targeted adverts. You may not be able to identify the wastage as easily, but in almost all cases ABM campaigns waste much less of their budget through reaching the wrong people than conventional marketing.

GDPR

OK, GDPR is a real pain. And if you have decided that you will only send email with explicit consent, then it will be hard to run an email campaign. The legitimate interest of direct marketing that allows for data processing without explicit consent is there to allow campaigns such as ABM.

If you’re determined not to use consent, then there are a lot of other ways you can reach the audience at your key accounts: from IP-targeted advertising to developing landing pages that show up in searches your key accounts are likely to conduct, there are a wide range of different ways to reach your target accounts without cold-emailing specific individuals.

Cost

Yes, it’s going to cost you more. Yes, your cost-per-impression will go up. Although well-targeted adverts should increase the CTR, even the cost-per-click might increase. But only a badly-designed ABM campaign will produce lower ROI: that’s the whole point of ABM – focussing on the accounts likely to result in the highest revenue is probably going to generate the best RoI. Don’t forget that marketing is about growing your business, not simply achieving CPM metrics!

We don’t Have the Right Content

It’s true that ABM can put content generation under pressure: you’re not the only one who has heard a salesperson say, “I don’t want my accounts seeing that!”. Be honest with yourself: if the content isn’t good enough for a major account, why is it good enough for smaller accounts?

Ultimately you may have to allocate more to content generation than you have done previously (or work with an agency like Napier that generates outstanding content). The higher RoI of ABM will more than justify the additional spending, and you might just find that all your marketing activities benefit from the production of exceptional content.

We Just Need New Customers

Sure, I get that more customers are better. But the reality is that more customers spending larger sums of money are even better: it’s all about how you can grow the business rather than hitting artificial targets for the number of new customers.

Don’t forget that ABM should just be an element of your marketing strategy: we’re certainly not suggesting that you allocate all your budget to ABM, so there will be money left over to target what might be called the A…Z accounts.

We Don’t Know Who to Target

Very few marketing managers actually say they don’t know who to target, but many of them create an excuse that is basically saying the same thing. We often hear things like “our sales process is complex” or “from one customer to the next, there will be different people involved”.

In this case, get a grip! Stop overthinking things and remember that ABM is about moving the odds in your favour. A simpler sales process and not overthinking who might be involved in the decision will result in a better campaign that reaches the prospects that are likely to spend the most money.

Get Your ABM Campaign Started Today!

Hopefully you can now see that nothing should hold you back from deploying a proportion of your budget to ABM campaigns. What’s holding you back? Lack of time? You can solve that easily by calling Napier on +44 1243 531123!