Why Research is Critical to Your Account-Based Marketing Strategy
What is account-based marketing?
A traditional lead generation funnel runs from the broadest part of the funnel—brand awareness—to the narrowest—converted customers. This is a strategy that diffuses your company’s resources across a broad array of potential customers, and it might use tactics like direct or electronic marketing, social media campaigns, search engine optimisation or advertising to make sure a mass of prospects are aware of your product or service so that a relative minority can be converted to paying customers.
Account-based marketing (ABM), on the other hand, is a strategy that concentrates company resources on a much narrower range of accounts which represent opportunities for significant growth or expansion. But those accounts are not selected randomly or informally, and the expected conversion rate is much higher.
How does account-based marketing work?
It’s pretty clear that it does work. Gartner’s Technology Marketing Benchmarks Survey saw account-based marketing creating improvements in deal sizes and conversion rates.
As to how people do it, most ABM strategies rely on the development of business personas, which, just like regular customer profiling, is a practice that defines the parameters of the ideal business customer.
The development of these personas will depend on a variety of elements unique to the business and sector. Factors like technographics, demographics, annual turnover, or company values will all contribute to the development of the right personas for your ABM strategy. But whatever direction you choose to take, there’s plenty of information out there to inform your review of companies and markets.
That’s where research comes in.
Research is vital for good account-based marketing
ABM is resource intensive and, while there are ways to introduce efficiencies and streamline your practices, there’s no way to completely get around the resource cost of the strategy. This is not casting a wide net—it’s a tactical courtship of specific targets. If you do it well, there can be a big payoff. But it does require resources.
And because it’s resource intensive, you will always need key information about both the industry at large, so you have and the accounts you target. You have to make sure they’re really the best recipient of so much of your organisation’s valuable energies.
Due diligence in researching your prospects might include, for example, confirming that your proposed target accounts are all still servicing their debts consistently. Other information you might want to consider for your ABM campaign includes:
- year on year profit and revenue statements
- insolvencies, court judgments or tax defaults
- company mission, vision and value statements
- any news media or reporting that mention the company or concern the industry more broadly, and
- information regarding similar or related organisations
Obviously, a company that has a strong credit history and a well-aligned mission, which consistently turns a profit will likely be a stronger prospect for your campaign. Technology solutions—such as business research tools—can help you streamline your research into likely target accounts, and CRM and marketing automation platforms can make sure you don’t miss a single touch point.
Data drives your bottom line.
In the end, savvy sales professionals using data to drive their ABM are going to have a big advantage over those who aren’t—and those who aren’t using all the data available to them might soon find that their customers are buying from the competition!