Account based marketing focuses your marketing and sales resources on a targeted set of accounts. If your marketing isn’t delivering the results you’d like, it’s probably time to think about account based marketing.

This article describes the advantages of the account based marketing and gives some advice to get you started.

Why choose account based marketing?

  • According to ITSMA, 84 percent of marketers running account based marketing strategies say that this method outperforms all others.
  • Research from the Alterra Group shows that 97 percent of marketers achieved a higher ROI with account based marketing than with any other marketing initiatives.
  • Sirius Decisions report that 92% of worldwide B2B marketers believe account based marketing is important to their overall marketing efforts.

Choose your accounts

The first step in the account based marketing process is to understand which accounts you want to work with. This will be relatively straightforward if you understand your business environment and your competitive position.

You should choose accounts with strong commercial potential that are a good fit for your products and services. It’s important to be confident that your high-value targets have real potential for closure and strong return on investment. You should also understand which competitors are already targeting these accounts.

To choose the right accounts, you’ll need to understand your current marketing strategy. You need to know what’s working well and what isn’t. Larato has published a guide to help you with this.

Understand your value

Once you’ve chosen your target accounts, you can develop and validate your value proposition. Understand your value to your chosen accounts. Test your understanding in the market place. Focus interviews are an ideal way of finding out exactly what prospects think. They also offer potential clients the opportunity to critique your proposition and make it even better. This is a key way to make sure you explain your value to decision makers in ways that will resonate with them.

Be distinctive

Create a distinctive value proposition that stands out from the competition. Be clear about your strategic intent. Your marketing strategy should  differentiate you from your competitors and enable you to penetrate your target market segments.

Choose your methods

Analyse the best ways to engage with your new target accounts and achieve leadership buy-in. If you know which competitors are talking to these accounts then you can assess their approach and make sure that your methods are superior.

Perform a SWOT analysis. This will help you to uncover weaknesses that could hinder your access to the account and highlight strengths that give you a specific advantage.

Focus your full marketing budget, resource and creativity on your specific accounts. Put clear measures in place so that you’re sure about the return on your marketing investment. This way you can be confident that your marketing budget is being used wisely.

Develop your sales force

Once your marketing plans are in place, you need to align this activity with the actions of your sales teams. Sales people like what they’re comfortable with. They like to sell the products they know best to people they’re familiar with, using tools they’ve succeeded with before. If you’re targeting new accounts, you need to prepare your sales force for this and make sure they’re ready to join you on your journey towards growth. Your success relies on making sure sales skills are up-to-date and in line with the needs of your target accounts.

Your buyers will be around 70 percent of the way through your sales cycle before they engage with someone from your sales team, so your sales force must be trained to interact appropriately with clients from each target account. They must clearly understand the similarities and differences between each account and know what works for each. Depending on the size of your team and the nature of your target accounts, you might want to consider structuring teams to focus on specific targets.

By understanding your target accounts and developing a marketing strategy to target each one effectively, you can achieve long-term business benefits and position your company ahead of competitors. If you need some support getting started with an account-based marketing approach, Larato can help.