Small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are gearing up their 2017 marketing efforts and figuring out best ways to find prospects and customers. But instead of casting a wide net to reach as many target customers as possible, many business-to-business (B2B) SMBs are focusing on individual prospects or customer accounts through account-based marketing efforts.

Account-based marketing (ABM) is a business strategy to target individual, high-value customers (the accounts) to increase sales.Tweet This  Businesses using account-based marketing also seek to be more efficient in their sales approach and gain higher revenue per sale while using fewer resources.

More growth for ABM

According to a recent statistics, more B2B marketers have grown their ABM in 2016.

  • ABM is “extremely” or “very” important in overall marketing efforts (92% of B2B marketers worldwide assert).
  • To encourage best practice sharing and increase repeat use, 77% of B2B marketers are developing ABM tools and templates.
  • Revenues have increased by 10% at more than half the organizations that have been using ABM for at least a year.

A combination of tighter internal controls, technology implementation and better efficiency between sales and marketing is leading many SMBs to use ABM.

Understanding the B2B buying process

For years, B2B marketers have convinced themselves buying decisions within businesses were made by one buyer. However, buying decisions are often made by groups connected in their business units. SMBs can use account-based marketing to target this group of decisions makers to potentially grow their B2B sales in 2017 and beyond.

For instance, to target a large business entity with your software solution, you could push online ads to reach employees of that company at certain times of the day. (Hint: use IP address-based targeting to accomplish this.) In doing this, you are placing all your online ad focus on this account with the hopes of moving the needle forward with ad impressions to all decision makers. If your ads also drive these users to marketing materials that are crafted to address that company’s specific needs as covered in the next section, all the better.

Efficient use of data, automation and budget, coupled with online advertising and B2B marketing insights are all part of the account-based marketing mix. Your SMB can focus on these potential IP-targeted customers and although the total number of impressions might be often lower than the numbers in the wide-net approach, the accuracy gained in targeting the right prospects at the right times should show higher returns on investment.

Taking the personalized approach

Account-based marketing abandons the anonymous B2B marketing effort for a more personalized approach. Your sales team can customize the buyer’s journey in ways that it couldn’t a few years ago. Using technology tools for micro-targeting your prospects, adding in superior industry business knowledge and personalizing your sales messaging to unlock value and efficiency for both sides can help you create account-based marketing relationships.

Using account-based marketing can also help your existing demand generation sales efforts. Over time, ABM might be the ideal strategy to boost your company’s leads, engagement and sales. If you think ABM might be a good fit for your business, now might be a good time to take a look at your sales and marketing approach and see where you may have the opportunity to target specific prospects. Tools like Hoover’s can help you find the right accounts to put your energy behind.

What experiences have your marketing and sales teams found in implementing account-based management in your small business? Share with us in the comments!

Photo Credit: andreeas, Twenty20