ABM might be the new thing – but let’s not throw lead and demand gen overboard.

All of a sudden, everyone is talking about account-based marketing. It’s everywhere. There are articles, blog posts, even conferences dedicated to it (hi, Revenue Summit 2017!). We have clients that are in the process of flipping that funnel.

It’s a huge shift for our industry; for years the success of B2B marketing has been measured by leads, while ABM is all about revenue. The new marketing tool is also changing B2B companies from within – creating a closer bond between sales and marketing. It’s no longer a matter of the marketing department just handing over leads to sales; it’s working together to identify the best best-fit prospects and customers, and how to reach them, account by account.

So what do you think, is account-based marketing a fad, or a practice here to stay? Will that flipped funnel flip back again? No, I don’t believe so. There are plenty of trends that point towards account-based marketing sticking around:

  • Personalization. Customers expect marketing to be personal and more targeted. They’d much rather interact with materials that specifically talk about their company, compared to content about their industry. In short, the buyer expects you to be of assistance, to add value, not to just sell, and DON’T YOU DARE just ask for their email.
  •  The buyer in focus. At Sköna this is our daily mantra. It sounds like a given, but it’s not. Our industry has a lot to learn from B2C that has the buyer’s journey mapped down to a microscopic level. At Skona, we believe that the customer experience will overtake price and product shortly.
  •  Many people in the buying process. Insight shows that at average, seven to 12 people are part of the decision-making process. Therefore it makes less sense to go after individuals; it’s better to focus on a company as a whole.
  • Less inclination to give away your email. There is an overall feeling in the industry that it gets harder and harder to get quality leads, or any leads, from prospective clients. There is so much content out there that clients don’t have to “surrender” their email. If you are not giving YOUR KNOWLEDGE away for free – some other vendor just might.
  • Conversion rate. The hungry funnel demands more and more, but the conversion is less than 1% – it’s exhausting.

Someone, I don’t remember his name (but I will try to find it!), said that doing lead and demand gen was like fishing with a net and that ABM was like fishing with a spear. The analogy rings true for me. But that said, it’s hard to catch fish with spears, it takes time. So, I do think we need to supplement the spear-fishing with some nets because otherwise there might be no dinner.

I guess what I am saying is – yes, ABM is here to stay, but let’s not throw the lead and demand gen overboard. (End fishing analogies.)

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