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April 18, 2016

Turning the Funnel on its Head

Getting the most leads is the main goal of the B2B world, right? At least, it used to be. A lot of companies these days are realizing that getting thousands of leads might not be all that effective if you have to weed out 90% of them as unqualified. That’s where account based marketing (ABM) can come in handy. According to Terminus, you can think of ABM as a different way to see the traditional sales and marketing funnel. ABM is a switch in mindset where you identify which companies fit your ideal profile, and target them as a whole instead of targeting certain personas without regard for the organization.

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The ABM funnel
Source: #FlipMyFunnel report by Terminus

Our friends at Terminus have been at the leading edge of this growing trend and recently interviewed more than 200 B2B marketers on the subject. Their findings are pretty definitive: Marketers are seeing the value of ABM to drive more revenue, most of them plan on doing more of it next year, and they plan to invest into technologies to help them do it better.

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New Kid on the Block

Terminus found out that a strong majority of marketers plan to implement ABM in the next year.

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 11.51.17 AMDo you plan to implement account-based marketing next year?
Source: #FlipMyFunnel report by Terminus

This is especially surprising considering implementation of an ABM approach isn’t some quick and easy fix. It’s a completely different way to sell, but also a different way of producing content. It also requires some significant technology investments to access the data to identify top companies. That’s why Terminus also found that an even larger majority of marketers, 71%, plan to add ABM tools to their marketing tech stack in the next few quarters.

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Do you plan to add additional tools for account-based marketing next year?
Source: #FlipMyFunnel report by Terminus

More Money, New Problems.

Perhaps most interesting of all, there are more marketers using ABM for revenue generation than lead generation. In a time where we see a lot of marketers struggling to justify their budget allocations, this could be a groundbreaking move in the B2B world. It’s also interesting to note that 17% of marketers see ABM as a sales and marketing alignment opportunity. After all, it’s when sales and marketing see eye to eye that marketing starts being seen as a revenue center, instead of a money pit. And that’s when it becomes much easier for marketing to justify new investments in their tech stack.

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What are your goals for account-based marketing?
Source: #FlipMyFunnel report by Terminus

Is Marketing Different Now?

So what does this all mean for marketers around the world? Is ABM the answer to all woes? It certainly makes you question if more leads are always the answer. Getting the right leads is a goal that more and more marketing departments are setting for themselves. Overhauling your approach is quite the scary endeavour, since many marketers find themselves with an already overloaded marketing tech stack. The approach to qualifying leads is different with ABM, it’s now about looking at companies as a whole: what they are searching for, who they’re hiring, or what kind of positions they’re opening. For example, if you sell SaaS software to manage big data campaigns, you might look for companies hiring data scientists.

When you take an ABM approach, your content will also have to change to become more targeted to the specific needs of the company you are trying to sell to. Video is extremely relevant for this. In many cases, you’ll find yourself going after companies that haven’t necessarily even heard of your name. That’s why you need content that will really catch the attention of your potential clients. Interactive content and personalized video work very well in this type of situation where you’re going in cold but still need to make an impression and catch your audience’s attention, quickly. It might also be time to go through your content library and see if you can repurpose older content to target specific accounts. There are plenty of little tweaks you can make to your content to make it more relevant for an ABM approach, but you can bet it will be worth it.

Everything new and different is always a little scary at first. ABM doesn’t have to be. It’s an exciting time for marketers. A time where they have options, where they have different ways to roll with the punches. Maybe it’s time for you to turn your funnel around.

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Max Doucet-Benoit

Max Doucet-Benoit

Max loves writing content, but his true love is reserved for videos. In his spare time, he enjoys video games and Boston Terriers in general.

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