So you've heard the jargons account-based marketing and inbound marketing thrown around by b2b marketing agencies, but do you know what they entail and which type of marketing your business should pursue?
What Is Account-Based Marketing?
Account-based marketing relies on aligned sales and marketing teams within a B2B organization. How many people can say that both their sales and marketing are tightly aligned? This is one important aspect within an organization that can undermine any account-based marketing efforts.
Account-based marketing (ABM) treats every customer account or individual prospect as a market of one. It is generally performed by enterprise organizations involved in B2B sales.
Communications making up part of the strategic business marketing go out to multiple stakeholders. The emphasis of ABM is on existing accounts and individual prospects. As we know from the B2B buyer's journey, it can take considerable time and effort to close a sale and sales teams may have to contend with changing stakeholders during the process that can set back their progress on a deal.
To sell using ABM, you need detailed information on the key decision-makers, critical players and the company structure to begin to create messaging that can kick off your conversations. With ABM, all of your eggs are in one proverbial basket and your efforts may lead to a major sale or come out to nothing. The organization itself becomes the targeted persona.
And Just In Case You're Not Familiar With Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing takes advantage of our new digital world. A B2B company blog, select social media posts, monthly newsletters and emails to segmented audiences are all ways to communicate with your inbound audience. B2B marketing efforts directed here offer more ROI at a lower cost than traditional forms and messages can be unique tailored to each of your buyer personas and their needs and locations.
Inbound marketing is also known as “permission marketing.” This means that each of your prospects or viewers have somehow opted in to receive continued communications. They want to hear what you have to say. In addition, free organic reach is possible with high-quality and engaging inbound marketing messaging when they are clicked and shared.
The Difference Between Account-Based Marketing And Inbound Marketing
When comparing inbound to ABM, there are fundamental differences in accomplishing your marketing goals. ABM is hyper-focused and looking to engage specific individuals in an organization. Businesses who use an ABM approach, typically:
- Have a targeted list of organizations and key individuals and roles within that organization that they want to connect and do business with. The list may be from prospecting sales teams or from businesses that already use a certain component needed to utilize their service offering. For instance, if your service offers Citrix upgrades, your business most likely has an existing list of businesses who rely on Citrix.
- Have hyper-specific messaging to reach specific individuals in their target companies in regards to their business, pain points and interests. These are typically delivered in the form of social media ads, email marketing, PR and other methods.
In the case of inbound marketing, the audience is generally broader. This increases the amount of interested leads and potential sales. An inbound marketing approach:
- May target SMBs in a range of industries. You are looking at possibly thousands of customers over multiple lead sources rather than dozens to a few hundreds.
- The messaging is altered to encompass and engage the overarching buyer personas as opposed to specific companies or individuals.
Can You Use Both Marketing Strategies?
If your business goals are to develop relationships with more potential clients and your business could benefit by multiplying your number of sales by 10X or more, then inbound marketing is a solid choice. If you offer the type of service in which you only need a few accounts to close or have a hyper-specific criteria for would0be clients, then you're probably already pursuing account-based marketing.
Both types of marketing use the same mediums to reach audiences and both can be intertwined. When you alter the messaging to encompass a wider group or use hyper-personalization, you are essentially utilizing both interchangeably.
Making Sense of It All
No matter which path fits your business best, investing ample resources and effort is key to the success of your marketing strategy. Creating high-quality content and valuable resources for your target audience, promoting it, and engaging with your prospects are nonetheless important. In the words of Rand Fishkin, the beloved wizard of Moz,
Social is the way our work gets discovered. Content that is truly exceptional, unique, and useful can earn tremendous awareness through social media, and that social amplification often leads to great links, which leads to great rankings.
The key is to stay focused on creating high-quality engaging content experiences that leaves a powerful impression.