January 21st, 2021

How to Accelerate 2021 Sales with Account-based Marketing (ABM)

Welcome to a new year with PipelineIQ! Whether you’re a regular reader or one of our existing clients, or if you’re new to account profiling and our bespoke services, we’re excited you’re starting the 2021 sales cycle off with us.

We’re also happy to announce our renewed commitment to providing you the latest Account-based Marketing (ABM) insight, intelligence, and analysis with our weekly blog. As we learned last year when Fortune 1000 companies implemented their first strategic responses to COVID-19, marketing and sales teams need timely, topical, and trending information to help optimize operations in an agile manner. We hope our weekly content accelerates your sales goals.

To kick things off, we’re going back to the basics and taking a deep dive into ABM.

What Matters in Enterprise Sales?

There are things we know about high-value account sales:

  • Time is money for reps, but not every rep has enough time to strategically research and nurture leads.
  • Customized marketing programs are more effective, but require a higher lift to build, manage, and grow.
  • Synergy between marketers and sales is critical, but these departments are often siloed.

So, how can enterprise sales and marketing teams solve these issues and curate a high-ROI growth engine? The answer lies in a concept that’s been around for a while, but still gives leadership pause – Account-based Marketing – or ABM.

What is ABM?

That is the billion-dollar question, isn’t it? ABM’s indefinability is part of the reason why it’s so tough to adopt as a targeted B2B sales and marketing strategy for many businesses. No two ABM programs are the same, and even when an ABM program has been implemented, it must constantly shift and adapt to meet updated sales goals and target demands.

Here are just a few sample definitions of ABM:

ITSMA – ABM is a strategic approach that combines targeted, insight-led marketing with sales to increase mindshare, strengthen relationships, and drive growth in specific new and existing accounts.

Gartner - Account-based Marketing (ABM) is a go-to-market strategy targeting certain accounts with a synchronized, continuous set of marketing and sales activities.

Forrester / SiriusDecisions - Account-based Marketing is a strategic approach that aligns resources against a set of defined accounts and goals in a way that is relevant and valuable to those accounts.

DriftAccount-based Marketing is a form of marketing that uses highly targeted, personalized campaigns to win over particular accounts.

WordStream - Account-based Marketing is a strategic marketing strategy where key business accounts are marketed to directly, as units of one (compared to the typical one-to-many approach).

We have our own definition, too – ABM is a strategic, customized marketing and prospecting approach that uncovers specific tactics and strategies within high-value accounts to accelerate custom marketing programs.

Although these are all different definitions, there are some overlapping themes in the practice of ABM. Let’s break down each one and explore how PipelineIQ delivers on these value points.

Targeted marketing

In Account-based Marketing, knowledge is power. The more you know about your enterprise prospect – the better prepared you are to align your unique solutions with their business challenges. Unfortunately, the upfront preparation to understand what resonates on an account, industry, and stakeholder level consumes a lot of resources for an already incredibly busy enterprise marketing team. 

What you need to accelerate that sales pipeline is someone to do that research for you.

PipelineIQ tailors research around your company, delivering highly personalized advice on how your solutions might uniquely help that prospect – in areas such as cloud, big data, analytics, or IT security. Our research team maps out your prospect’s top priorities, current IT landscape, organizational structure, financial strength, and industry headwinds. We also identify the right stakeholders critical to your success.  

Then we deliver a bespoke deep-dive ABM account profile that helps you solve your prospects problems, not pitch them something outside their objectives.

Customized account insights

New research from ITSMA says executives expect marketers to engage them in a personalized way. The company’s 2020 How Executives Engage Survey shows 35% of executives say technology providers and professional services (like PipelineIQ) are their most trusted sources for content.

So, how do you know if a customized account profile is worth your investment?

A well-executed account profile should provide hyper-specific account insights that help your sales rep resonate more effectively with key decision makers.

PipelineIQ ABM account profiles are built with that specificity in mind. Each profile includes:

  • Essential information – must-know account insights, stats, and performance metrics
  • Key stakeholders – who’s in charge and what drives them
  • Business and tech strategies – initiatives, changes, realignments, goals
  • Custom recommendations – personalized conversation starters

This is not information you can pull from Google or an ‘off-the-shelf’ data service; that content is too generic. Partnering with PipelineIQ is like having your very own expert account research team. Each profile is painstakingly researched and assembled to provide a distinct advantage in every sales meeting, email message, or marketing campaign.

1:1 or One-to-Few approach

Unlike inbound marketing which operates on the premise of casting a wide net to capture leads in bulk, ABM uses more intimate tactics to identify and engage with specific leads.

A 1:1 targeted approach is usually helmed by a senior-level marketer, involves synergy between various marketing and sales departments, and is reserved for a high-value prospect. The goal is to identify opportunities, build relationships with key stakeholders, and change perceptions of the solutions you’re offering by demonstrating in-depth understanding of a prospect’s business issues. This type of nurturing is done with your prospects, and not solicited to them.

A one-to-few approach is similar but is often reserved for account clusters or second-tier accounts. This program includes vertical insights of key sectors and prospect intelligence on a set of accounts. It is often used as an entry-point for companies looking to dive into ABM who want to understand the nuances of this marketing practice. Many businesses also use one-to-few for rosters of leads that may be slightly smaller in current or potential value.

PipelineIQ is built to serve marketing teams wherever you are in your ABM journey. All our custom ABM programs are scope-based on your needs. Our experienced team are experts in breaking down your target accounts and delivering customized profiles that optimize your sales goals.

Is the ROI Worth It?

Measuring the return on investment of ABM continues to be a challenge for the corporations who utilize it, although no one can agree on why this is. One theory is since there are so many measurable ABM metrics to choose from, there isn’t one universally adopted method to track campaign effectiveness. So, what you end up with is a collection of benchmark studies from industry insiders all claiming a different percentage of ROI for ABM.

What we know at PipelineIQ is this: After 15 years and more than 10,000 custom account profiles, we are a trusted partner for more than 150 of the world’s largest technology firms. Recently, our account profiles helped cybersecurity firm FireEye generate $8 million in pipeline and improve engagement with key accounts fivefold in just nine months. We hope this demonstrates some of the ROI you get from our actionable, insight-packed intelligence gathering.

If you’re interested in learning how to accelerate sales like this in 2021 and beyond, connect with our team at sales@pipelineIQ.com or fill out our contact form.