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The Ultimate Guide to Account-Based Marketing: 6 Key Steps

December 06, 2016

By Amanda Zantal-Wiener

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There’s something kind of cool happening in the world of marketing.

Actually, there’s always something cool going on here. But as you may have recently heard, people are paying a lot of attention to something called account-based marketing (ABM). After all, over the past year, there’s been a 21% increase in the number of companies that have a full account-based marketing program in place.

And yet, it seems like account-based marketing is a fairly new concept to many people. A big part of that has to do with a lagging alignment between marketing and sales within many organizations — while this number is almost double what it was last year, only 60% of businesses say they’re “somewhat” or “tightly” aligned with sales.

But account-based marketing — and its success — is somewhat rooted in that very alignment between marketing and sales. And as you’ll see, it’s highly useable, if you know where to begin. That’s why we’re here to help.

But What Is Account-Based Marketing?

ABM is essentially a form of strategic business marketing. An organization takes an individual prospect or customer account — these are companies, not individual people — and treats it like its very own market, or a market of one.

So, in that context, it’s really just what it sounds like — marketing that’s based on a given account, existing or prospective. It’s typically done by enterprise-level sales organizations, and is mostly relevant to B2B efforts.

Why is that? Well, ABM is a particularly useful for organizations with multiple buyers or stakeholders. Part of its goal, says HubSpot’s Corporate Marketing Manager Sam Balter, “is to address the needs of organization by connecting with all of the stakeholders within it. That’s one reason why it works so well in B2B — oftentimes you have to work with five or more stakeholders in a given sale.”

That might seem a little tricky — especially, says HubSpot’s Senior Product Marketing Team Manager Jeff Russo, “from an execution standpoint.”

But it really boils down to six essential steps, which we’ll flesh out and tie back to inbound marketing — because while they’re two different concepts, they can truly complement each other.

Where ABM + Inbound Marketing Meet

Inbound marketing and ABM are, on the surface, a bit different in theory:

  • Inbound marketing primarily focuses on creating great content to bring prospects to you.
  • ABM puts the emphasis on individual prospects or existing accounts.

But they absolutely complement each other — in fact, we use them in tandem here at HubSpot. “Our sales team uses ABM and inbound marketing,” Balter explains. “They have a set list of target accounts, and use inbound marketing leads to supplement those accounts.”

You might notice that many of the above-outlined steps incorporate pieces of inbound marketing principles. And really, says Balter, that’s how ABM can be used “to build better relationships with target accounts.”

These days, customers really don’t enjoy feeling like …read more

Source:: HubSpot Blog