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Home arrow Marketing arrow Value-ology: Aligning sales and marketing to shape and deliver profitable customer value propositions

Driving Results Through Account-Based Marketing

In this chapter we will look at:

  • • Our definition of account-based marketing (ABM) related to the value stack
  • • The benefits of ABM
  • • How to choose the right accounts for an ABM programme
  • • A five-step framework to build your ABM plan
  • • Common pitfalls to avoid with ABM

This short chapter helps explain an account-based approach to marketing and why it may be beneficial for your organisation to adopt such an approach.

What Is Account-Based Marketing?

Account-based marketing (ABM), which has been growing in popularity over the past few decades, has become a bit of a buzz phrase lately. As technology continues to advance, the definition of ABM has taken on a much more narrow definition than the one we recognise and are advocating in this book. Marketers now have access to more real-time data about their customers than ever before (while they browse the product section of your website, for example). This makes it possible to target buyers on their terms with highly personalised messages and content. Many ABM technology compa-

© The Author(s) 2017 S. Kelly et al., Value-ology,

DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-45626-3_8

nies stop there, defining ABM as simply the ability to advertise to individual buyers across a variety of platforms (web, social, mobile, etc.). Let’s call this view’.

We argue that ABM is not just about the technology or the ability to personalise content and reach individual IP addresses—ABM demands that you understand and market to your customers in a way that is relevant and resonates with them. It’s about truly understanding and delivering individual value to your customers—that is, the process we outline in this book!

Instead of trying to reach a lot of potential buyers with a broad and generic message, ABM attempts to connect with individual buyers as segments of one. You may be familiar with key account management (KAM), a recognised business-to-business (B2B) approach to managing strategic accounts, which was popularised by firms such as IBM and Xerox. KAM is a sophisticated and comprehensive approach that utilises data and analysis, and treats significant customer accounts as ‘markets’ of one in order to provide relevant and customised solutions and service to that customer. KAM is very much about face-to-face interaction.

Our view is that ABM is a complementary communications approach to KAM that harmonises marketing communications with account-level activity. ABM is about concentrating your marketing and sales efforts to reach a small number of important accounts in the top two layers of the value stack (introduced in Chap. 2). We believe ABM is a holistic, strategic approach that forces the sales and marketing teams to work together to better understand individual customer needs; and develop creative, personalised and highly relevant programmes to engage with them.

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