Account-Based Inbound Marketing - The future: You Heard It Here First
I wanted to start by announcing that we’d invented something game-changing, in fact, what we’ve really invented is a name for the methodology we’ve been running successfully here at Cloud10 that seems to be attracting a generous amount of attention in our industry.
Serious marketers like ourselves continually seem to be weighing the respective advantages of two major methodologies of our time;
1. Account-based marketing (ABM) is a great buzzword adopted by marketers lately to describe the b2b methodology sales people have effectively been using for years to target a predefined ‘account list’ of ideal companies. Traditionally sales guys would have spent thousands in company expenses integrating themselves into the right social circles at weird and wonderful events in order to build their black book of contacts in their target account list.
2. Inbound marketing, on the other hand, uses content and other strategies to reach a wide range of potential prospects by focusing on buyer personas at a contact-level. It aims to attract leads regardless of where they are in the buying process by serving them relevant content based on behaviour and assumptions drawn from engagement and activity.
Most marketers recognise that ABM and inbound marketing aren’t necessarily opposites of one another. On the contrary, it’s possible to use them harmoniously, especially in the B2B space. However, until now, a complete marriage between the two hasn’t been suggested. Well, we’re proposing one!
Allow us to introduce you to account-based inbound marketing, or ABIM
ABIM: A Working Example with Real Results.
At Cloud10, we’ve built our business on our combined career-long experience of working with B2B customers in the IT and manufacturing industries. Inbound marketing has traditionally been a huge part of our business, but in the past few years, we’ve seen a rise in ABM as well. Thanks to the increasing sophistication of fantastic marketing tools and predictive analytics, we’ve been able to devise data-driven and highly-targeted marketing activity for our clients.
Recently, while working on a project for one of our key clients, we devised a comprehensive marketing architecture that turns out to be a true marriage of ABM and inbound marketing. The project involved taking the client’s historic contact-centric dataset and turning it into an account-centric dataset.
We started by analysing the demographics of each company profile, with the goal of segmenting the dataset into “target lists” based on a few varied factors taken from our in-depth Customer Profile Analysis activities.
Next, we went on to identify the appropriate buyer personas within those companies. Having spent time auditing the client’s existing content library, we were then able to re-use and re-purpose this content, building automated nurturing workflows to serve each buyer within our target company the most relevant information for them, all at once, across multiple marketing channels!
Thanks to IP monitoring tools, we were then able to track and identify the companies that are responding to their content. Going on to serve further strategic content to the engaged parties to move them further through the conversion pipeline.
Working closely with the sales teamto develop comprehensive lead scoring techniques based on engagement activity we can quickly identify the most qualified leads, making educated assumptions about where each prospect is in the buying process and how likely they are to make a purchase soon.
You can imagine how excited the sales team have been getting with all this new intelligence to focus their attentions on, not to mention the reduced ‘time to sale’, and accurate pipeline visibility this has offered the rest of the business for forecasting purposes.
Is ABIM the Future?
Right now, having a strategic and fully bespoke sales & marketing infrastructure like what Cloud10 has been able to develop is rare. Some businesses use both ABM and inbound marketing, but not many combine them to the extent that we do. In fact, we are one of the first organisations in EMEA to offer this end-to-end service, and certainly, the first one to coin the phrase ‘account-based inbound marketing.’
Still, there is evidence that Account-Based Inbound Marketing might be catching on. Last month, HubSpot, a global leader in inbound marketing, made a sizable investment in Terminus, a Silicon Valley company that specialises in ABM. In a blog post about the acquisition, Bradford Coffey—HubSpot’s Chief Strategy Office—noted that inbound marketing “is about adapting to the way people shop and buy.” It draws people in “at the search box” and then personalises communications between the brand and the individual “through the purchase process and beyond.”
However, in B2B transactions, an individual can’t make a buying decision alone. Using ABM allows companies to build relationships with multiple team members or decision makers at once. This fact pushed HubSpot to look into ABM, ultimately leading to the Terminus investment. It’s only a matter of time before this partnership leads to something like Cloud10’s ABIM strategy. Just remember: you heard it here first!
If you are thinking of adopting Account Based Marketing, or you’re looking for ways to better align your Sales and Marketing infrastructure with some of the leading marketing technology (martech) tools available in the world today, Visit us at www.cloud10marketing.co.uk
Originally published June 06 2017, updated September 26 2017