Will the ABM end the long reign of the inbound?

Inbound Marketing Jun 16, 2020

Account based marketing, or ABM among friends, is currently on the lips of every marketer, and no wonder. Inbound and content marketing have long been considered a central (and by some the one and only) marketing and sales strategy. Inbound’s central idea is to provide different buyers with the most up-to-date content when they themselves want it. Inbound has been contrasted with so-called outbound marketing and sales, where the buyer is offered the same without regard to the maturity and willingness of the potential buyer to act.

Sales and marketing, together or separately?

People love black and white concepts. It’s easy to pick other one  and look for information to support your choice. It is more difficult to say that the world is not so unambiguous and the most appropriate option may vary depending on the situation, the company or its life cycle. The evolution from outbound to inbound and further to “allbound” has done good for the development of marketing and sales collaboration. We are finally on the same side and playing as one gang. The job of marketing is to take care of the front line, catch good balls and feed them forward for the sales team that shines in the close-up game and scores the goal.

Account-based marketing shakes up traditional thinking from a single funnel, where marketing manages to raise awareness and sales jump aboard only when a potential buyer is already reaching for their checkbook. ABM is a growth strategy in which each buying path is tailored to a separately selected number of companies. If with inbound the marketing and sales responsibilities on the purchasing path are chronologically consecutive, in ABM the marketing and sales activities run in parallel, together, right from the first activity.

Who is ABM suitable for?

ABM does not seek to displace traditional inbound thinking but provides a well-targeted strategy to reach the most valuable target companies alongside the standard inbound nurturing model. If the goal of inbound is to create a standardized process for how leads are identified, nurtured, and transferred to sales, a similar process is created in ABM but for only one target company.

Are you growing trees or a field of carrots?

The emphasis between inbound, outbound, and ABM vary by industry and situation. Because account-based marketing tactics are always designed and customized on a company-by-company basis, CAC (customer acquisition cost) is more likely to be higher than using automated workflows. An ABM should be considered as part of a marketing toolkit if 1) the products or services being sold are expensive, 2) the potential target group is well-defined or targeted at a well-defined niche, or 3) three or more decision makers need to be involved in the purchasing process.

Benefits of ABM:

  • When you focus on bigger deals, you close bigger deals
  • Close cooperation between marketing and sales, resulting in a better purchasing experience and better results
  • In addition to increasing the size of the deal, sales cycles are also shortened: with ABM, teams have a stronger focus on the systematic implementation of activities. As a result, teams learn to work even more agilely and accumulate experience on closing big deals.

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