Account Based Marketing: a new playbook for B2B marketers
Account Based Marketing is going Kardashian.
A few years ago, some smart folks woke up and realized that B2B buying is a team sport. And that if we only market and sell to isolated individuals instead of whole buying teams, we’re probably missing a pretty important trick.
Unfortunately, the B2B marketing stack is still built on lead-centric technologies. Marketing automation, CRM and web analytics – the three legs of any B2B revenue tripod – are all essentially locked into a lead-centric view of the world.
These lead-centric blinders are one of the many reasons so many B2B marketing teams are struggling to jump start their revenue-generation machines.
So the rise of ABM coincides with – and is fueled by – the stalling of many B2B lead nurturing programs. This is especially evident (and crippling) for the biggest, most profitable and most heavily contested deals. The ones that warrant the full-court, sales-marketing press.
The ability to win these big deals – deals that are 10-20 times bigger than the average – can make or break most B2B companies. And these are exactly the deals that are worst-served by the current, lead-centric marketing stack and marketing culture.
For most B2B marketing teams, the elephant in the room is that there aren’t enough elephants in the room.
That’s where ABM comes in – a great idea that, like so many emerging tech and business disciplines, was born with a dumb name.
Account Based Marketing is a misnomer.
ABM isn’t just about marketing. In fact, to quote from an important eBook I’m about to tell you about:
Account Based Marketing is a strategic approach that coordinates personalized marketing and sales efforts to open doors and deepen engagement at specific accounts.
And that’s what makes it new. Account-based selling has been around forever. Smart sales teams who wanted to land the big deals have always focused their efforts around big, ‘named accounts’.
What’s new is that the marketing side of the revenue machine is getting in sync. And sync is the whole point: it’s not just that ABM works best when Sales and Marketing work closely together. ABM only works when Sales and Marketing work more closely than ever before. As a single team, in fact.
At the beginning of last year, I started to notice that ABM was popping up in more and more conversations. I also noticed that those conversations were with some of the smartest people I know.
Then I heard that Jon Miller, rocket-scientist founder of Marketo, had left his unicorn to start an ABM software company called Engagio. And I wanted in.
So I did what any Account Based Marketer would do: I researched my target and created specific content for it: a blog post called, ABM: What Jon Miller Did After Marketo.
And it worked! Jon and I got to talking and he asked Velocity to help bring Engagio to market, starting with what Jason Miller (ex Marketo, now LinkedIn) calls a Big Rock. And boy, was this rock big.
Account Based Marketing: the whole enchilada
Jon had super-success at Marketo with the Definitive Guide series (Velocity helped with some of them). So it made sense to kick off Engagio with the monster piece of content on the subject.
This approach – making a big, chunky, comprehensive piece on an emerging topic – is a great tactic in any market. But in a complex, fast-moving, juggernaut-shaped discipline like ABM, it’s the ideal play.
At 124 pages, The Clear & Complete guide to Account Based Marketing is the biggest, and most ambitious eBook we’ve ever produced.
It also took months and was fed by an enormous amount of input.
And making it was a ball – as well as being a complete education in a discipline that’s increasingly important to Velocity’s clients.
Jon had already written a pretty comprehensive outline for the piece, but before putting pen to paper, we interviewed 13 of the pioneers in ABM. Some were potential competitors, others natural partners but all were incredibly smart, open and generous. (This is partly because the ABM market is in that wonderful stage when everyone is working together to midwife this new baby into the world. And partly because these are just great people).
All of the interviews are reflected in the final piece, but four of the interviews were turned into Expert Q&As in the piece itself:
- Jeff Sands, VP and ABM Practice Co-Lead, ITSMA (the guy who started all this)
- Rishi Dave, CMO, Dun & Bradstreet
- Megan Heuer, VP and Group Director, SiriusDecisions
Donal Daly, CEO, the TAS GROUP
As you can tell, I’m really proud of this piece and excited about the potential for Account Based Marketing to transform the way B2B companies go elephant-hunting.
If you’re at all curious, please go and get the Clear & Complete Guide and let us (and the good folks at Engagio) know what you think.