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14 min read

The next generation of ABM for sales and marketing

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This article originates from Dipalli’s talk at the Revenue Marketing Summit in San Francisco, 2023. 

Catch up on this presentation, and others, using our OnDemand service. For more exclusive content, visit your membership dashboard.

Delving into the intricate world of Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is crucial for organizations seeking to excel in today's competitive marketplace. It’s about gaining a deep understanding of strategic alignment, precise targeting, and the creation of tailored messages that resonate with specific audiences. 

I'm Dipalli Bhatt, VP of Marketing at DistillerSR. With over 20 years in marketing, specializing in research software marketing for medical device and pharmaceutical companies, my career has been a testament to the power of effective ABM strategies. 

In this article, I’ll guide you through the nuances of ABM, sharing insights and practical tools to enhance your sales and marketing efforts, ensuring your strategies are not just implemented, but are impactful and aligned with your business goals.

Decoding ABM: What it is and what it's not

In our journey through the world of ABM, it's crucial to first understand what ABM is not.

What is ABM?

Often, there's a misconception that ABM is a one-off program or just another campaign. I want to emphasize that ABM is neither of these. It's definitely not a magic wand that will instantly fix demand generation issues. 

I recall a time when a CEO I worked with suggested launching an ABM campaign to address failing demand gen programs. It was a clear sign of misunderstanding ABM's true nature. ABM is not a quick fix; it's a long-term strategy.

So, what exactly is ABM? At its core, ABM is a strategic approach, a shift in mindset. It's about understanding that results won't be instantaneous. Implementing ABM requires a cross-functional team effort and focuses on different goals compared to traditional marketing methods.

Some of the primary objectives of ABM include pipeline growth, revenue growth, and achieving specific objectives and key results (OKRs). A significant goal I've always focused on in ABM is account penetration.

Want to transform your ABM program and achieve amazing results? In this playbook, you'll learn:

💸 What ABM is and why it’s important for driving revenue
🔎 How to identify and prioritize target accounts
🧠 Best practices for creating and delivering personalized content
🥇 How to measure the success of your ABM strategy

Get your hands on your ABM playbook now and get ready to start driving growth for your business! 🚀

There's often confusion between general marketing to accounts and true ABM. The difference lies in the nuances of the approach. ABM involves detailed account selection, tactical scoring, and understanding unique account needs and preferences. It requires extensive research to succeed.

When someone talks about challenges like leads not converting or MQLs not progressing to SQLs, they are usually referring to general account marketing, not ABM. ABM comes into play when we discuss specific accounts where we lack executive relationships, or we're only engaging with lower-level contacts. That's when the ABM approach becomes most relevant and impactful.

The evolution of ABM in modern sales and marketing

It's important to understand how ABM is reshaping the landscape of sales and marketing, especially in the context of larger, more established companies as well as smaller and midsize businesses.

In my experience working with larger corporations, I've noticed a common trend: many have long-standing employees and a history of limited investment in marketing. Sales departments have traditionally been the primary drivers of growth. When discussing new marketing strategies with them, they often perceive these approaches as just another form of enterprise or strategic selling.

However, what sets ABM apart, and what's truly revolutionary about it, is the shift from this traditional view to a more focused and personalized approach. The key difference lies in hyper-personalization – a strategy that involves deep, research-based personalization tailored to specific accounts, paired with ultra-sophisticated messaging. This distinction is not just a minor change; it represents a fundamental shift in how we approach sales and marketing.

The essence of ABM's effectiveness lies in its ability to cater to the unique needs and preferences of each account. Unlike traditional broad-spectrum strategies, ABM zeroes in on the specific characteristics and requirements of individual accounts, ensuring that the messaging and strategies employed are highly relevant and resonant.

This evolution signifies a major change in how marketing and sales teams operate. The transition from general enterprise selling to ABM's targeted, research-driven approach marks a significant advancement in our understanding and execution of effective marketing strategies.

Written by:

Dipalli Bhatt

Dipalli Bhatt

Dipalli Bhatt, VP, Marketing, DistillerSR

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The next generation of ABM for sales and marketing