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Why Pairing Inbound Marketing & Account-Based Marketing Makes Sense

January 19, 2022

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Times are changing for buyers and consumers. For marketing and sales teams, that means your strategy should change too. Your growth strategy needs to create a highly effective inbound marketing engine while also proactively targeting your ideal customers. That's where layering an Account-Based Marketing strategy (ABM) into your inbound marketing strategy comes into play.

Here are four reasons why inbound marketing and ABM make sense for any B2B revenue team.

1) Quality Over Quantity

Inbound marketing is about quantity and balancing your funnel metrics. ABM is about quality. The funnel (or sales pipeline) is the forecasting model used by B2B marketing and sales professionals to monitor new potential revenue sources.

The traditional goal of the funnel is to have more leads enter at the top of the funnel, increasing the number of closed deals. This funnel approach should decrease cost per lead (CPL) and increase leads. Unfortunately, this approach does not always produce increased revenue margins. It's become a fairly well-known fact that typically less than 1% of leads close using an exclusively lead generation model.

Sangram Vajre, Co-Founder and Chief Evangelist of Terminus, has popularized the concept of flipping the funnel. Instead of trying to get as many leads at the top as possible, you focus your efforts on your best-fit potential customers. As a result, you land the accounts and have a far easier time expanding your revenue opportunities across the accounts. Once your best-fit customers have started seeing significant results, they tell others about the success, and you develop advocacy across your customer base.

If you think about your favorite brands, they are the ones whose customers are raving fans. It's often the customers based that generate more referrals than any other source. In many ways, ABM provides such a high-touch and personalized customer experience so you can develop a system for generating more word-of-mouth referrals in the long term. It simply starts by shifting focus from getting the highest number of webinar attendees to focusing on getting the right accounts engaged.


2) Efficient Use of Resources

When pitching an ABM strategy to leadership, many leadership teams typically respond by saying something like, "So we are turning off the leadsAs a result, the idea gets shut down. Why? Because the leadership bases their financial projections on how many leads are generated. Once they know the leads, they run their funnel metrics to achieve a revenue goal.

So when the goal of marketing has simply been to generate leads, a complete transition to ABM causes you to change your goals and metrics entirely. That's why it's recommended you run a Pilot ABM campaign with limited resources to provide a proof of concept.

With ABM strategy in tandem with inbound, you can attract the many and convert the qualified as you usually would. And while your inbound engine is running, you can focus on a select number of accounts.

An example of this would be to create a webinar on a topic specifically intriguing to your target accounts that would also bring value to a larger audience. You run your standard inbound marketing plays around the webinar while also running more targeted ABM tactics towards your target accounts. Then following the webinar, you can run specific plays to engage your target accounts into a sales conversation by creating incredibly personalized content.

With ABM, you identify the accounts you want to engage, then strategically market to each contact in that account. When you start attracting the right accounts, you help enable your sales force to close deals faster by building rapport with your brand before the 1:1 engagement begins.


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3) Not All Leads Are Created Equal

If you've been running a successful inbound and lead-generation model, you know a large amount of leads aren't quality. Sifting through your leads often takes a good bit of time without generating many results. 

The ABM process enables you to laser-focus on your best-fit potential customers. You want to target your best fit accounts by determining your ideal client profile (ICP). You determine this by:

  • Industry
  • Company size
  • Departments
  • Responsibilities
  • Roles
  • Revenue
  • Tech Stack

You want to look at your favorite current customers and understand their traits. Then, identify the mutually shared traits. Now you have a far clearer picture of who you are going after.

If you know exactly what you are looking for, you can customize your content to attract your ideal client. Winning just a fraction of those ideal accounts can mean strong returns, perpetual growth, engaged customers, and sales and marketing synergy vs. silos. That's why planning your ICP to attract ideal accounts is worth your time.


4) You Get the Sale Faster

Generating demand within best-fit target accounts creates velocity to get down the pipeline faster, supporting sales production. According to the study by the Information Technology Services Marketing Association, almost 85% of marketers who measure ROI describe ABM as delivering higher returns than any other marketing approach.

Before launching a pipeline acceleration campaign, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who are the influencers and decision-makers?
  • When do I want the deal to close?
  • What needs to happen?
  • How can we engage contacts within the account?

Doing so will decrease the sales cycle time length and increase engagement, yielding pipeline acceleration.


Get Started Today

If you are reading this blog, you're likely considering ABM. As you look at your current goals and pipeline for the year, ask yourself the question, "How much more revenue could we have each year if we closed just one perfect fit customer each quarter for the rest of the yearObviously, it depends on your current sales cycle and deal size, but you have the power to start proactively targeting your best fit accounts so you can start closing more ideal customers quarter over quarter.

So here's how you get started today:

  1. Identify who you want to target
    1. Prepipeline ideal accounts
    2. In pipeline opportunities
    3. Previously lost opportunities
  2. Identify the greatest challenge your ideal accounts are facing that you can solve
  3. Create content around this topic
  4. Run specific promotion towards those account around this content
  5. When they engage, create more personalized content specifically for them

To give you an example, we host an event called Fix Your Site, where companies submit their website for a live review. We run specific promotions to the target accounts to get them engaged with the event and to submit their website for review. Following the event, we send them a personalized review of their website one-to-one and encourage them to enter into a sales conversation to fix their website.

The webinar is an inbound activity with ABM strategies and tactics to create a highly effective marketing activity for generating revenue.

So, log into your CRM, identify your target account list, and start building an ABM strategy into your Inbound strategy. If you need a hand, we are here to help! 


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