Accounts-based marketing (ABM) is one of the strategic trends for 2016. It means treating a company account as both an individual customer, ie. a market of one. For example rather than targeting particular people within the business, you are speaking to the company in general.
Doing so is thought to result in greater relevance and more relevant content. In practical terms, it means that rather than targeting a particular individual within the team – a buyer, for instance – you are producing content for the benefit of the whole company.
In a study by SiriusDecisions earlier this year, 80 per cent of marketers are interested in moving towards an ABM strategy.
It is a simple idea, which becomes complicated when put into action. It requires sales and marketing teams to be closely entwined in order to generate targets and understand customer requirements. For sales especially, moving the focus of attention away from individual leads must be difficult.
The system comes across a little like the Agile Manifesto, used in a lot of software development. Here the product is developed incrementally, crucially without an overall plan. Instead direction is provided at each iteration with the client.
Agile is a controversial idea because many people like working to a plan. One anonymous developer said Agile is like building a house but starting with the toilet. At the same time, done correctly, a completely client-approved product is achieved more quickly.
ABM sounds the same. It is probably difficult to engage with but imposes a series of restrictions and forces you in a certain direction. The lesson is that you must learn more about your client’s business as a whole, rather than the needs of just one person within it.