Modern marketing is lost in a time warp
Does your B2B marketing feel like it is still stuck way back in 2019?
Unfortunately, the pandemic was real. And, companies since then have been left to either sink or swim in what seems like shark-infested waters.
Truth is: there will be no difference in 2024.
Think about how a lot of Software as a Service (SaaS) brands expanded during 2020-2022, but have shrunk in the last year with layoffs, here, there, and pretty much everywhere.
And, most CEOs, CMOs, VPs, or founders seem to point their middle finger at the elephant in the room: the singular focus on inbound marketing.
Enter stage right: Account-Based Marketing (ABM). A revolutionary way to amplify your existing growth strategy with a proactive and consistent outbound program.
Kinda like a lot of marketing terms, Account-Based Marketing (ABM) has been around for quite some time, and was first coined in 2014.
What is it?
And, for that matter: why should you care?
For many reasons, but let’s start with the fact that ABM is a smart and targeted way for new business generation. It accelerates current deals to the finish line, and retains at-risk clients or expands their contract.
It’s an end–to–end revenue strategy where your B2B marketing, sales and customer success spend the majority of your efforts on pre–and–post sales accounts.
And, it all happens from a commitment to data-informed targeting, personalized marketing at scale, measuring, and continuously optimizing.
Not to mention, it plays oh–so–nicely with a Go–to–Market (GTM) strategy.
Here’s the thing: the same–old–same–old approach to marketing doesn't cut it anymore.
Modern marketing is stale—at best. And, mostly focuses on inbound marketing.
If you stop and think about it, your marketing is a reflection of everyone else: it’s all disguised as a lead acquisition funnel.
Publish a playbook. Buy an ad. Send an email blast. And, post a blog.
It’s a really wide net with the goal of attracting as many leads as possible and it primarily focuses on a Total Addressable Market (TAM) approach.
Although a non-exhaustive list, here are three major problems of inbound marketing: it isn’t targeted. It isn’t sales-friendly. And, its cookie-cutter approach doesn’t match buyer expectations.
And since we are dropping truth bombs: here’s another one.
You need inbound marketing. No way around it. Those paid, owned and earned channels?
But, now you have to do less of it.
Making the case for sophisticated marketing
As a CEO, CMO, VP, or founder, you still need to:
➡ Attract buyers to your site
➡ Get them to submit a contact form
➡ Nurture them with automated emails, and
➡ Identify your target industries
Yet, in his free book, Selling Like Crazy, Sabri Subry says that most entrepreneurs, top staff and business owners spend 80% of their time on non–revenue–producing activities.
Stop and think about that number.
Now, remember that while your customers are the heart of your business, your revenue streams are the lifeblood.
As a CEO, CMO, VP, or founder, your only priority is selling, so how could you possibly justify spending only 20% of your day on revenue-producing activities?
ABM marketing is more than a shift in planning, operating and evaluating your revenue strategy.
It flips the script of inbound marketing on its head with a spear–versus–net approach to marketing—from the tactics you use to your chosen content creation.
Now, instead of the traditional approach to marketing, do this instead:
➡ Identify your target industries
➡ Nurture them with automated emails
➡ Attract buyers to your site, and
➡ Get them to submit a contact form, or do the heavy lifting for them with your chatbot
The biggest drawback to an ABM program is that it requires money and time.
And, for two reasons.
It’s a targeted approach to B2B marketing and sales. And, it requires constant experimentation and upkeep around target lists, outreach, messaging, and so much more.
Bridging your integrated sweetspot
ABM is the bridge for an integrated sweetspot of your inbound marketing and your outbound program. Not to mention, it plays nicely with Ideal Client Profiles (ICP) because it addresses multiple stakeholders within a targeted client account.
How is it done?
Marketers are a fan of initialisms and acronyms, and this time is no different.
Any ABM program worth its salt must ask four questions of Market Operations Velocity and Expansion (MOVE):
➡ Who are you marketing to?
➡ What do you need for effective marketing?
➡ Where can you scale your business?
➡ Where can you expand?
And, although there are countless ABM frameworks, a bad-ass one that really works is the growth framework of Target Engage Activate and Measure (TEAM).
➡ Targeting the right accounts
➡ Engaging across all channels
➡ Activating all teams on the necessary account information, and
➡ Measuring what matters most
Together, these questions and killer framework are your starting point for creating a best–in–class ABM strategy.
Full frontal funnel
ABM works best as an all-encompassing approach to your demand generation funnel because it addresses both quality and volume.
While this blog is not a deep dive into ABM tactics in detail, on the surface you need a double funnel approach that splits your marketing funnel into account-based and volume-based.
Either approach comes with a caveat: be prepared to test the waters with a minimal 90–day–sprint to give you enough time to change your thinking around marketing.
Your account-based funnel will include everything from target accounts to engaged accounts, and a Business Development Representative (BDR) working Marketing Qualified Accounts (MQA), until they become closed opportunities.
This also includes your lead generation, engaged leads, and the same—or preferably another—BDR handing off or closing their own MQAs.
And, in the background, you run multi-tiered campaigns, such as always-on campaigns (one–to–many) for volume accounts, targeted campaigns (one–to–few) for target accounts, and highly-targeted ABM campaigns (one–to–one) for white-glove accounts.
Your volume funnel is the always-on inbound marketing funnel that focuses on everything else. It hums quietly in the background, introduces a steady flow of net new leads, creates focused awareness, and engages your future segmented clients with helpful content.
But, keep this in mind: lead generation is only a small component of your integrated strategy.
Your volume funnel is 4% of your revenue-generating activities, and must be low-touch and easily replicated, such as playbooks, blogs, carousel ads, and promo videos.
ABM is not a lead generation strategy
Repeat after me: ABM is not a lead generation strategy.
It is a major change management exercise and approaching it as anything but a robust change management exercise is a quick path to failure.
If you are still here—and still reading—you are most likely either launching an ABM program for the first time, or improving an existing GTM strategy.
And, the truth will hurt: ABM is not a hit–it–and–quit–it strategy. It will never ever never work off the shoulders of CEOs, CMOs, VPs, or founders.
ABM is an all-hands–on–deck effort.
Your ABM team is most critical because there is no magic genie. There is only a shoulder–to–shoulder approach where everyone lives in marketing.
Stellar ABM campaigns are annoyingly simple: the best programs are the ones that close. But, you can’t approach your ABM program with that mindset because it doesn’t result in immediate results.
Start by defining your goals and objectives, choosing the right type of ABM program, getting internal buy-in, identifying your ICP accounts, and building an in-house ABM team.
Fact is: ABM is not easy.
It’s like attempting to bench-press 500 pounds on day one. It takes time, scale and repetitions to figure it all out.
Step outside your comfort zone, put in the elbow grease, and apply even more cerebral work, and take a leap off the traditional marketing fence with a jump into the void of WTF to test the waters.
You won’t regret it.
Want to learn more about how Clickex is the next best click for powering your growth? Chat with our team today and let us show you how to build a legacy brand through the power of the internet.