People in today’s world are becoming increasingly connected. Being a marketer today, means being innovative, more than ever before and able to constantly find new ways to connect with targeted customers. A successful online marketer identifies customers whose behavior matches the model of the ideal customer, provided by the advanced eCommerce platform with Predictive Analytics system built in. Precise targeting is crucial before creating the message to be sent to customers. It is important to connect and communicate with target customers (potential buyers of your products or services) on their own terms, through different digital channels: website, mobile, email, social media, blog, video. This would be the definition of ABM – Account Based Marketing. The aim is to engage individual accounts in your eCommerce B2B marketing strategy.
The main parts of this strategy can be defined as:
- Aligning Marketing and Sales, identifying the model of the ideal accounts and qualifying target accounts
- Converting contacts into accounts and reaching the decision makers in target accounts
- Engaging accounts on their terms, by personalizing communication with buyers through different channels
- Valuing customers and turning them into your brand’s advocates
- Measuring campaign success for every account
Building an account based plan requires balancing pre and post-sales requirements. Smart eCommerce platforms provide valuable information about customer behavior throughout the whole buying process, making the creation of your plans fully digitally supported. There are many different channels to communicate with target audience, but considering the level of investments and ROI, the online channels have proven to be the great marketing opportunity for all kinds of B2B online marketers, no matter their size and strength.
It is important to understand that tools such as CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software, your website, your social media channels, marketing automation tools, are needed and necessary technologies, as a precondition to being successful in Account Based Marketing.
Moving from Lead Based Marketing to Account Based Marketing
Traditional sales funnel looks like an upside-down triangle. It has four major problems:
- This funnel is not optimized for B2B marketing
- Marketing focuses on acquiring leads, instead of accounts
- There’s no precise targeting, as the focus is on lead volume
- All customer journeys follow a linear path
This is why Account Based Marketing flips the sales funnel. Obsessed with constant customer acquisition, online marketers forget the fact that 80% of their revenue comes from repeated purchases of existing customers. Isn’t it obvious that marketing investments should go in the same direction? Retention should be considered the new acquisition, but in a very different way, with a strong focus on gaining new customers through existing customers, who become satisfied consumers and convert into promoters and influencers.
Listening to your customers will help you develop and evolve your offers of products and services, that will better suit the needs of your customers. Estimates show that it is three times less expensive to acquire new customers through existing ones, than to use other methods of acquisition. Providing a unique customer experience will drive new customers to your online business through the word of mouth. Opinions of your satisfied customers will be widespread through the vast variety of channels on the internet (comments, ratings and reviews on your eCommerce website, social media, forums, blogs, etc.).
Account Based Marketing consists of four stages:
- Identify: focus on single point of contact and evaluate it against the set of criteria that describes your ideal customer profile. Turn this contact into an account
- Expand: this means adding more contacts, the people in the company (the ideal profile company), who will use your product or service
- Engage: through high quality content, marketers engage all contacts in an account. Marketing messages are targeted to contacts who fit the profile of the ideal customer and shipped to them through modern digital channels (website, mobile, email, social media, blog, video, webinars, eBooks, targeted ads)
- Advocate: this is the final stage. At this point your accounts are customers already. If you succeed in making them the fans of your business and brand, they will become your advocates. The word of mouth will spread through reviews, ratings and referrals making great impact on the success of your marketing approach
Stay with me on this journey. This is just Part 1, the introduction of the blog series about Account Based Marketing. The best is still to come…