When we imagine a traditional marketing model as a funnel, we have lots of lead interests at the top. That is because this marketing model is designed to generate as many leads as possible at the outset of a B2B sales cycle. However, the funnel gets narrower towards the bottom and as a result over 99% of B2B leads captured at the top of this traditional funnel never become customers as per Forrester Research.
Such high volumes of unqualified leads mean a waste of money, efforts, and resources. B2B sales leaders need to have a more effective marketing approach that helps them generate a steady flow of highly qualified B2B sales-ready leads. Account-based Marketing (ABM) helps businesses achieve this quite effectively as Account-based Marketing practices are reported to have helped 90% of companies improve their lead generation efforts. Let’s first understand what account-based marketing is.
What is Account-Based Marketing?
Account-based marketing is a marketing strategy in which the marketing and sales team work together to target best-fit accounts that can be turned into customers. It differs from traditional marketing in the sense that instead of resorting to broad-reaching marketing campaigns, an ABM approach concentrates on a select few client accounts that are defined as high-value accounts by both marketing and sales teams.
Hence, the ABM strategy prompts businesses to focus their limited resources, budget, and time only on those prospects or key accounts that have the highest possibility to turn into their customers. This approach helps businesses craft a marketing strategy that focuses on winning over the key decision-makers and influencers.
It would be interesting to explore how ABM strategy can help businesses generate highly-qualified B2B sales-ready leads.
How Can ABM Help Businesses Generate Highly-Qualified Leads?
● Builds an Ideal Set of High-Value Target Accounts
With the ABM approach, businesses can set search alerts for their ideal customer profile on various platforms; create filters for incoming leads that take into consideration company size, industry, etc. They can also apply the characteristics of the most successful deals to these filters to identify best-fit accounts. The leads or major companies who are consuming your inbound content too can become your high-value target accounts. Hence, when businesses leverage the focused marketing approach of ABM, it helps them generate highly-qualified leads that can be turned into loyal customers with minimum effort and time.
● Sets Clear Goals and Analytics
Due to its concentrated efforts on a select few accounts, ABM helps businesses set clear goals for each account. They can also track each account’s progress at different stages of a sales cycle to measure the effectiveness of their ABM efforts. This empowers them to make changes as required and set the next set of goals for another sales cycle. When businesses have set clear goals, it helps them weed out the leads that are not yet sales-ready.
● Creates Alignment Between the Marketing and Sales team
It is an open secret that collaboration between the marketing and sales team is crucial to generating highly-qualified leads. With the ABM approach marketing and sales teams learn to work in tandem so that a business can generate leads that drive more revenue. ABM encourages teams to share account plans through various tools such as HubSpot CRM, Google Docs, and Asana Boards so members can easily access them and collaborate accordingly. ABM makes sales and marketing align on the product’s value proposition and point-of-difference for every account. This not only helps businesses create highly-qualified leads but also helps them achieve 19% faster revenue growth and 15% higher profitability.
● Delivers the Best and Most Consistent Customer Experiences
A B2B prospect needs hand-holding at each stage of his/her buyer journey. An ABM approach makes it easier for marketers to create a personalized buyer experience at each stage of this journey. Personalized and timely communication, campaigns, product information, and pricing details keep the prospect engaged in your offer until he/she makes a definite purchase decision. Delivering consistent and delightful customer experiences at each stage of the buyer journey goes a long way in generating B2B sales-ready leads.
● Shortens the Lead Generation Process
With the help of ABM’s focused approach, sales executives do not need to experiment with different ways to reach the right prospect. When marketing and sales efforts are aligned, sales executives do not have to generate leads from a large pool of prospects. The focused marketing approach shortens this lead generation process which results in highly-qualified leads. When a major sales process gets shortened, the overall sales cycle also gets shortened leading to improved ROI and customer experience.
Account-based marketing essentially directs 100% of the allocated money and resources to the targeted accounts which help businesses filter out less valuable leads at the outset of a sales cycle. When such leads are weeded out in the beginning, it automatically generates highly-qualified leads that often become your loyal customers!