ABM is a buzzword. Admit it. But are real companies thinking about ABM as much as the thought leaders and vendors who are making all the noise? Well, the results are quite telling.
Account-based marketing provides a strategy for B2B companies that want to grow revenue by focusing on the best-fit prospects and customers. The key metric is revenue. For too long, the B2B marketing industry has considered lead generation the primary metric. B2B marketing teams worked hard to pour leads into the top of the funnel for sales.
Now that you want to start with account-based marketing, you have to sell the executives at your company on the idea that you aren't focusing on leads. Enticing the stakeholders in your company to agree to focus on accounts, not leads, can be a very daunting task.
The C-level executives have always used leads to determine whether the B2B marketing team is successful. The job of the marketing team is to create opportunities for sales; this was accomplished by generating leads. But the most important metric for your company is revenue. By focusing on accounts, not leads, your company can both grow revenue from new sales and generate additional revenue from existing customers.
Proving how account-based marketing is transformational to your organization can be done using data. Good data enhances your credibility for making the case for account-based marketing; numbers support your words. Bad data can be detrimental to your marketing efforts. Having the right data to support your company’s revenue goals is essential for account-based marketing.
You can use data from your current lead generation efforts. Using this data from your leads, you can show the amount of money your team spent on marketing and a potential return on investment (ROI). Data demonstrating why your team needs account-based marketing should include the following items.
Leads generated year-to-date (YTD): The number of leads that marketing generated over the past year; it can be presented as the number of leads generated monthly or quarterly.
Revenue from leads generated by marketing: If your company had $1 million in new revenue this year, how much of it came from new leads that marketing brought in? If you have a marketing automation system, a report can show the lead source tied to revenue.
Revenue from existing customers: While reviewing your revenue, you can determine how much came from either your current client base or from new leads generated by marketing. You’ll compare year-to-date new revenue against your current annual recurring revenue (ARR).
Remember: the goal is to demonstrate that lead-based marketing is extremely inefficient. The data should show that marketing isn’t focused on the right business metric: growing revenue for your company. If your marketing team is focused on creating new leads for sales, and those leads don't turn into revenue, then it’s a waste of resources that could have been allocated to other activities.
In a recent survey I conducted with my marketing team, we received responses from more than 200 B2B marketing professionals about their goals for account-based marketing. Almost 50 percent of respondents cited pipeline acceleration and revenue generation as their main goal for implementing ABM. Even more interesting is that this includes marketers from organizations that range from SMB to enterprise. That's an awesome business case for marketers to acquire the right tools and create the right programs to build revenue generating programs.
When you compare how much it costs for a lead to become closed revenue for your organization, you can make a compelling case for why your company should switch from traditional lead generation to account-based marketing:
Only 0.75 percent of leads generated become closed revenue (Forrester).
Generating high-quality leads is the number-one challenge for B2B marketers (IDG Enterprises).
More than 90 percent of B2B marketers acknowledge account-based marketing as either important or very important (SiriusDecisions).
B2B companies have begun utilizing targeted account strategies, as 86 percent of marketing and sales professionals stated (LeanData).
More than 60 percent of B2B marketers surveyed said they plan to implement an ABM program within the next year (Terminus).
ABM had higher ROI than other marketing activities, according to 97 percent of marketers in a survey (Alterra Group).
Almost 85 percent of marketers who measure ROI describe ABM as delivering higher returns than any other marketing approach; half of those marketers cite significantly higher returns (ITSMA).
On average, the number of people involved in a large technology purchase has increased from five to seven (IDC).
For more than 90 percent of B2B buyers, the amount of their product research depends on the price of a purchase; as the price increases, the amount of research increases (Salesforce).
Nearly 85 percent of marketers said ABM provided significant benefits to retain and expand existing client relationships (Marketo).
Account-based marketing is a rapidly changing field and technology is allowing B2B marketers to scale their efforts like never before. This opens the door great opportunities like #FlipMyFunnel for marketers to come together and support each other by sharing best practices and stories. It also means that it is prime time for vendors to innovate to meet the new and ever-changing demands of B2B marketers. Let’s market smarter and win together.
Sangram Vajre is the co-founder and CMO of Terminus, a B2B account-based marketing company. Before co-founding Terminus, Sangram was Head of Marketing at Pardot, which was acquired by Salesforce in 2013. His first book Account-Based Marketing For Dummies is now available. You can follow him on Twitter at@sangramvajre.