B2B Marketing recently published an article on the future of account based marketing.
Here’s Tommy’s interview in full:
What’s behind the explosion of Account Based Marketing’s popularity?
Technology has a lot to do with it. B2B marketers have long known that target account selection is critical. If you’re not targeting the right companies, you’re wasting your time – and your marketing budget. But, until relatively recently, the selection process has involved a lot of fairly unscientific ‘educated guesswork’. Now, with the prevalence of technologies such as lead scoring and predictive intelligence, it’s possible for businesses to be much smarter about how they choose their target accounts, and much more confident about spending time, money and effort to try to convert them. Another reason behind the growth of ABM is that affordable technology now exists to make it a realistic option for most B2B marketers. There are now plenty of tools which enable marketers to engage their target accounts in a highly personal manner, and doing so can cost far less that a blanket approach to an entire segment. Finally, there’s the simple fact that we are all inundated with marketing messages and sales approaches – particularly online. A highly personalised, multi-faceted campaign is the best way to ensure your marketing cuts through all the noise.
Are we making the most of its capabilities?
Yes and no. The majority of B2B marketers I speak with are embracing ABM to some extent. However, very few are doing so across all of the available channels, or ensuring that sales and marketing teams are suitably aligned to ensure a cohesive approach towards each target account.
How widespread will ABM become as a marketing tool?
ABM is already fairly widespread, and it appears to be growing in popularity fast. But it will never be for everybody. If you have a suitably high value product or focus on a particular niche, chances that that if you’re not doing ABM already, you’ll probably start sometime soon. However, it’s far less effective for low cost or mass-market products.
Generally speaking, it’s currently most popular with larger organisations, do you see adoption growing within smaller brands? If so, how?
ABM is definitely being adopted by smaller businesses (including Growth Intelligence). A key reason for this is cost. Targeting a small group of ‘sweet-spot’ prospects is far more affordable than running a large campaign. Another reason is technology. As I mentioned earlier, there a a lot of affordable tools out there to help marketers deliver effective ABM campaigns.
Will ABM become more scalable?
Technology is already helping make ABM a bit more scalable, and will continue to add more efficiency to the process. However, by its very nature, ABM is for organisations trying to target a small, manageable set of their top tier prospects. A surefire way to fail at ABM is to try to target too many prospects. Your efforts will end up diluted as you won’t be able to highly personalise your approach. Research and personalisation are the two most critical elements of a successful ABM campaign, and both are difficult to scale unless you grow your team.
Will new technologies enhance the way we use ABM?
It’s already happening, and will continue to do so at pace. As AI and machine learning solutions get better and more affordable, many of the time consuming elements of ABM will become more streamlined. But the human element will remain critical. Content marketers will find themselves in-demand with outbound as well as inbound teams as businesses realise that, in ABM, a single well-researched, beautifully written and highly personalised email to a sweet-spot target can be just as (if not more) important to their revenue as a newsletter to 10,000 subscribers.
What are the most exciting emerging trends in ABM?
Personally, I’m very pleased to see how ABM is bringing sales and marketing functions together to work target accounts as a cross-departmental team. Sales and marketing leaders becoming more open to this kind of collaborative approach can only be a good thing. I’m also very excited to see how this will affect the sales and marketing technology landscape. I expect we’ll start to see some acquisitions as the large CRM and marketing automation players vie to become the first true 360 degree sales and marketing technology platform. We’re only a few days away from Salesforce’s big Dreamforce ’16 conference, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see some interesting announcements from them in this area.*
You can read B2B Marketing’s full article now at https://www.b2bmarketing.net (free account required).
* My prediction was kind of right. Salesforce announced Einstein, a suite of artificial intelligence technologies that will be baked into their various clouds.