ABM consists of channeling part of your sales and marketing efforts to a narrow group of accounts with high business potential. Half of the companies that participated in the annual Inbound Marketing France Barometer are already exploiting the potential of ABM. How does Sales Enablement contribute to the success of your ABM strategy?
To better understand what ABM is (and isn’t!), let’s take a look at the three main stages of the Inbound Marketing process:
- Attracting a target audience to the company’s website through relevant content which complies with a specific buyer persona.
- Entice prospects to provide their contact information (contact form, subscription to a newsletter, messaging through Live Chat or Chatbot…). This action is the result of a “bait strategy” (free download of a document, special offers, etc.).
- Fill your database with the collected contact information. These contacts will then be processed by the sales team through warm calling, as these prospects have already had prior contact with the company.
As Gabriel Szapiro explained in his conference at RIM#2021, Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is ultimately just an inversion of the Inbound Marketing pyramid. The selection of target accounts ends the Inbound Process and starts the Account-Based Marketing strategy.
Account-Based Marketing starts with choosing prestigious accounts with high business potential. In collaboration with Sales, the marketing team will then create personalized, custom content which meets the particular needs of these target accounts. It is about moving from a buyer persona thinking to an ultra-personalized approach. In other words, companies need to shift from the blog post to the business case. From theory to practical applications. It’s worth the effort. According to an Aberdeen study, 75% of B2B customers prefer an ABM approach because of the personalization.
Gabriel Szapiro and Laurent Ollivier identified 7 differences between Inbound Marketing and ABM in their book “From Inbound Marketing to ABM” (published by Village Mondial):
- Data: Inbound starts with the definition of buyer personas. ABM starts with the selection of super-prospects from the company’s database.
- Content: Inbound relies on consistent content production and frequent blogging. On other hand, ABM does not necessarily require regular content production, but it does require premium customized content.
- SEO: This is the number one audience objective of Inbound. In ABM, SEO is secondary or even irrelevant.
- Social: Inbound uses social networks for PR and global visibility. ABM uses social networks to reach target accounts (LinkedIn Sales Navigator in particular).
- Forms: They are essential in Inbound Marketing to collect prospects’ contact information. In ABM, contact forms are meaningless because the company has all the data it needs.
- KPI: in Inbound, it’s all about Reach, MQL/SQL… In ABM, only the conversion of targeted accounts matters.
- Sales – Marketing alignment is necessary in both Inbound Marketing and ABM, but comes into play very early in the ABM journey, as soon as the target accounts are selected.
So Inbound Marketing targets the buyer persona, which is a generic portrait of the company’s target audience. By definition, a specific buyer persona represents a number of potential prospects with roughly comparable behavior. This is why Inbound Marketing is done in the long run, as a buyer persona is meant to last. Inbound therefore requires a first-level alignment between Sales and Marketing teams with regular meetings to keep things flowing.
ABM on the other hand approaches high value accounts in an individual, customized and ultra-personalized way. The sales rep in charge of the target account picks up all the interest signals in real time. His knowledge of the target account comes from the field with a high degree of precision. He knows exactly what content is most likely to make a difference: specific issues to be addressed, format, tone, wording, figures, timing, etc. The sales rep develops a deep understanding of the target account’s expectations and provides Marketing with a detailed and precise brief.
While Inbound Marketing requires a Sales Enablement effort, ABM can’t exist without Sales Enablement. How can one target a high value account in an ultra-personalized way without using the synergy between Sales and Marketing? As we have discussed earlier, the average sales rep don’t know the answer to 40% of product questions asked by B2B buyers. In ABM, where the stakes are even higher and the buyer is much more demanding, the game would be over without the contribution of Sales Enablement.
The content search filter is one of the many advantages of Sales Enablement platforms in ABM. With the right Sales Enablement platform, the sales rep in charge of the ABM approach can ask the tool to display the most relevant content in the sales situation he is facing. He’ll have access to up-to-date, branded and reliable content in real time and in all circumstances (even offline).
Furthermore, Sales Enablement enables the implementation of a continuous improvement dynamic with a systematic Sales – Marketing feedback process. The use of data and KPIs to assess the relevancy of content allows to fine-tune the sales rep’s performance (most and least used contents in meetings, read rate, etc.).
After having pioneered Sales Enablement in France, Touch & Sell is now the French leader in Growth Enablement. With more than 10 years of expertise in Growth Enablement, Touch & Sell can help you achieve the full potential of your ABM strategy. Take a look at our value proposition in the video below!