Alignment – or lack of it – between sales and marketing teams has been a major concern for businesses across different categories, and B2B marketing is no different when it comes to overcoming this hurdle often.
One of the ways LinkedIn is solving the challenge is by providing tools that support account-based marketing (ABM) and making it a focused growth strategy that is an integral part of B2B marketing.
LinkedIn’s most recent report on account-based marketing looks at the framework required to successfully execute this important B2B marketing strategy.
Basically, ABM is an attempt to build and maintain relationships with large customers. Many marketers are already convinced of its importance, as Linkedin found that 87% of marketers who measured ROI outperform ABM all other marketing investments.
With LinkedIn’s proven track record as the most trusted digital platform, it is increasingly being chosen by many marketers as the foundation of their ABM strategy. To help marketers meet their challenges, LinkedIn has worked on solutions around the ABM strategy and created a robust ecosystem of marketing partners for audience data, campaign management, and measurement.
The framework in the report serves as a solid guide to help more marketers reap the benefits of ABM on the road to success. The Drum deals with five of these steps. To see the seven steps in detail, visit the Marketer Framework for ABM Success.
The goals and results
The goals of this approach can relate to the outcomes you want – from demand generation to account management, to pipeline acceleration and account penetration – and each has its own ecosystem.
Demand generation focuses on raising awareness with cold or new accounts to improve outbound marketing results, while account management is used to improve the move to sales pipeline by bringing key stakeholders into one account.
Pipeline acceleration is based on increasing pipeline speed and win rates by targeting a wider audience of stakeholders during the sales process, while account penetration depends on increasing use of the solutions across the account as new business areas are opened up or new products in the existing portfolio can be integrated.
Coordinate sales and marketing
According to market data, 92% of very successful ABM marketers have closely coordinated marketing and sales teams. When marketing and sales are closely aligned, the sales generated by marketing increase by 208%. In addition, according to the data, aligning marketing and sales results in a 36% higher customer retention rate.
An important next step is the selection and segmentation of the target accounts. A good starting point for choosing the target accounts is understanding the quality of the data available. An effective ABM strategy is based on high quality, consistent account and contact information. This can be first-party or third-party data (publisher or platform data) or third-party data that has been aggregated across multiple sources.
Development of an ideal customer profile (ICP)
Developing an ideal customer profile (ICP) would be the logical next step in understanding which types of companies are most successful with the products and solutions offered. For example, first party modeling consists of attracting the most successful customers and searching on LinkedIn for companies with similar firmographic, technographic, and business profiles. This will identify new companies that are most likely to match the specified customer profile. LinkedIn’s user-provided first-party data is known to be accurate and updated, and therefore has the benefit of providing members with an incentive to keep their LinkedIn profiles updated for their own business, network and career opportunities.
Identification of the purchasing committee
One of the important pillars of this solution-based approach by ABM is to identify the purchasing committee and create the means and tools to influence it. The underlying idea is to build relationships with the larger universe of stakeholders, rather than just being limited to decision makers and influencers. According to statistics, an average of 6.8 people are involved in a purchase decision today.
As with marketing itself, it’s important to remember that there are no single solutions in ABM either. They need to be tailored to the needs and profile of the client – from one-on-one interviews to programmatic ABM-focused approaches to much in between. The approaches for different account levels would be oriented differently and range from strategic ABM to scaled ABM to programmatic ABM – all with different degrees of personalization.
Adapt content to the audience
The need to tailor the content to the audience and their mindset is of great importance and in this area LinkedIn already has an advantage as the members tend to be very engaging. According to data, they are twice as targeted as users of other platforms, which means they visit LinkedIn to learn and be informed.
Marketers usually tend to overlook one of the most important components while creating their content – sales team input – which, if properly delivered, can be a treasure trove of information in the development of ABM content. Your first-hand knowledge can be useful in addressing the weaknesses as well as finding solutions.
From coordinating executives between marketing and sales directors to agreeing common success metrics to demonstrate the business value of the effort, the journey to the ABM account is complex and can take many different forms.
When done right, ABM is a really powerful strategy for B2B. 84% of marketers say that ABM goes a long way in maintaining and developing existing relationships. Are you one of them
Read LinkedIn’s ABM Success Marketer Framework to learn more.