Account-based marketing (ABM) is a powerful tool in any marketer’s tool belt, especially if your annual contract value (ACV) is high and the relative number of opportunities in your market is low.
Because ABM requires tight cooperation between marketing and sales, it is important that all involved have a common understanding of what it is and the tools and techniques needed to ensure ABM's success. So let’s dive in!
Where and when the practices ABM started can be debated, but we know for sure that the term was first introduced by the IT Services Marketing Association (ITSMA) in 2003, and then a groundbreaking 2004 paper titled Account Based Marketing: The New Frontier.
Despite ABM’s enduring presence as a marketing strategy (considering how quickly trends can come and go, at least!) it is still largely misunderstood by the modern marketer.
Photo Credits: itsma.com
In order to help us to understand what ABM is, let’s take a look at four things that ABM is not.
Account-based marketing is a hyper-personalized marketing practice that aligns marketing and sales in the pursuit of selling to target accounts. They do this by building value across a segment of stakeholders who make up a buying committee.
By being hyper customer-centric, brands become reliable and trusted by their target accounts.
Photo Credits: Accenture
Since marketing and sales are so closely synced, the customer experience is seamless and relevant to their place in the buyer’s journey. From the very first impression at top of the funnel (ToFu) to the assets that sales use in the discovery process and beyond, marketing and sales are in lockstep.
This alignment and customer obsession – as well as the tactics and strategies you deploy – are what make ABM so effective.
Marketing and sales are two disciplines full of jargon and acronyms. If you’re running an ABM play, it’s smart to ensure both teams are clear about what is meant when ABM buzzwords inevitably start getting thrown around. Here are seven you’ll want to know:
While ABM campaigns can be complex, setting up a solid foundation for your campaign is pretty simple if you follow the steps below:
Photo Credits: Lucid
There are dozens of tools that enable ABM - here’s a look at a few:
HubSpot was built around the same customer-obsessed ethos from which ABM was born, so it makes sense that it’s a natural fit for ABM campaigns.
The HubSpot CRM platform connects all of the data from your sales and marketing efforts while allowing for robust, customer-centric automation and personalization. With an ABM campaign powered by HubSpot’s powerful CRM platform, you’re empowered to use data to segment and target your accounts and automation to nurture your buying committee and to hand warm leads over to sales. But that’s not all – check out the following HubSpot features that align with the tenants of successful ABM:
Single Source of Truth
Streamlined Campaign Deployment
Seamless Handoffs = Seamless Customer Experience
Reporting and Revenue Attribution
We have covered a lot of ground at this point, so let’s jump into the deep end and take a look at some specific ways you can leverage HubSpot’s Sales Hub and Marketing Hub to power your ABM plays:
ZoomInfo - ZoomInfo gives you a few tools to make your ABM campaigns better than ever! First of all, you can enrich contact data so that you have emails and phone numbers for your buying committee. This allows your sales team to begin outreach before a contact submits their information to your CRM, which is helpful for outbound sales motions.
The true power for ABM comes from the intent data that ZoomInfo has. Using ZoomInfo workflows and the HubSpot integration, you can add Target Accounts that are showing intent to specific lists. With those lists, you can leverage HubSpot’s powerful workflow automations to update the marketing mix for those in-market accounts. This means that you can be more personalized and relevant in your efforts.
Bombora (Ads or CRM product) - Bombora offers you the same functionality as ZoomInfo but without the contact enrichment. This solution can be a more affordable option for companies looking for intent data without contact enrichment features. Bombora is the original platform when it comes to buyer intent data and has a large number of platform partnerships to collect first-party intent targeting data.
Bombora also has an ad solution that allows you to deploy your B2B audiences on display networks that don’t connect to HubSpot.
G2/Gartner Media - G2 and Gartner are both software review companies with platforms that allow people to review and compare software options. This tool is very powerful for SaaS companies or service providers whose services center on specific software products.
While Gartner Media’s platforms present software options based on who bids for the top spot, G2’s rankings are only driven by reviews of the software products.
Both companies allow you to pipe data from their platform into your CRM for marketing and sales initiatives. G2 even allows you to layer on Bombora intent topics on top of their intent data for hyper-targeted campaigns. The data provided to you by G2 allows you to target those who have looked at your product, your category, and your competitors. Gartner’s data is similar.
Postal.io - Have you ever wished that you could send a gift to a prospect automatically when they reached a certain lifecycle or deal stage? You can do that and much more with postal.io!
Customize the gifts you send based on deal size, buying role, ICP tier, and more. You can even send a collection of gift options to allow your prospect to choose what they prefer.
Strategically put your brand in the hands of your target accounts at the right moments throughout the buying process.
Postalytics - Like Postal.io, Postalytics allows you to deploy direct mail based on whatever triggers you set up in HubSpot workflows. This can be a very powerful tool to use top-of-funnel when you are building awareness and making your buyer aware of the problems that you can help them fix.
Easy to set up and well-integrated with HubSpot, Postalytics is a great complement to your inbound & ABM campaigns.
The benefits of using HubSpot for account based marketing plays are plentiful. It’s the best-in-class platform for ABM for the following reasons:
Inbound and ABM go together like peas and carrots. Both based on delighting the customer and driving value first, it is no wonder that so many marketers combine these two practices for digital marketing bliss. What makes these two approaches so complementary? Think about it:
Inbound focuses on giving the customer what they want and need at each step of the buyer’s journey – it is buyer-centric.
ABM focuses on using deep account knowledge to personalize the buyer’s journey at scale, focusing on an entire account/buying committee.
ABM requires sales and marketing alignment and allows sales to spend more time on the right leads.
When you put these two practices together, you deliver an experience that makes prospects delight in interacting with your brand.
HubSpot users have seen impressive results when they combine the Marketing and Sales Hubs for sales and marketing alignment:
They also see their customers engage more, their pipelines grow faster, and their sales team spending more time focused on building revenue-growing relationships with their prospects.
[Slides 44 and 46 focusing on sales saving 60% of time due to better leads (Map My Customers case study) & Binary streams having 90% sales funnel automation and 5X customer engagement]
ABM is a powerful practice, especially when paired with inbound marketing and deployed in a single, streamlined system that delivers a seamless customer experience. HubSpot allows you to do just that and to do so with ease and outstanding outcomes.
Ranya is a serial entrepreneur with over 8 years of experience working on the HubSpot CRM. She loves pushing her sleeves up , and getting s*** done. When she is not running her HubSpot partner agency, you can find her upside down on her yoga mat.
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