B2B demand marketers have a tough hill to climb, both in the market and in their own organisations. Most industries are becoming bigger, with more competitors that influence the buyers, which means that leads are getting more expensive and harder to find. At the same time, it’s getting easier for customers to find and switch to competitors. Marketing is charged with generating and nurturing demand early through digital channels, before handing off the most qualified opportunities to sales for in-person pursuit. First marketing, then sales. First digital, then in-person.
Within many companies, volume-based lead generation has driven misalignment between marketing and sales, resulting in missed revenue targets and organisational angst.
But what happens after the leads are handed over from marketing to sales? Are you struggling to generate leads that actually turn into deals? Are you tired of running generalized marketing campaigns that don’t seem to resonate with your target audience?
In many B2B organisations, where the sales process is more complex, it can be hard to attribute a lead to a sale closed months later. There are, in fact very few leads that turn into deals. Forrester research concluded that less than 1% of leads in B2B companies ever become customers.
However, Gartner research clearly indicates that customers don’t buy in a linear fashion. Rather, they use both digital and in-person channels, with near equal frequency, and more or less simultaneously.
Due to the challenges of a leads-based approach, Account Based Marketing (ABM) is often worth considering. It’s a highly targeted strategy that focuses on the specific needs and interests of your most important accounts.
In just a few years, B2B marketers’ interest in and use of ABM has evolved from a trend-setting idea to a well-known strategy. Even though the strategy is as old as B2B itself, new technology has emerged to support the growing demands in the B2B landscape of today. Account based practices are now becoming more standardized, as practitioners solidify their ABM strategies and its KPIs become more and more normalized.
Marketers who have successfully made the switch to ABM report more frequently meeting or exceeding revenue targets. They’re also improving metrics such as annual contract value and deal velocity, and engaging more of their target accounts more frequently. And the kicker? ABM keeps marketing and sales in alignment, so all that time and focus spent bickering over whether a lead was qualified can go toward collaborating on killer campaigns that move revenue forward.