12 May 2015 Category: How to Guides


A quick Google search shows that Account-Based Marketing (ABM) has been around for some time but has gained new momentum with advances in marketing automation and technology for ad targeting and web personalisation. For those unfamiliar with the concept, ABM focuses on accounts with the highest potential value and aims to build an in-depth understanding to support a targeted ‘one to one’ approach. A small set of key accounts is handled as a single market, with market research informing strategies to address the client’s particular business goals. The strategy aligns across sales and marketing providing a sustainable approach to increased growth and profitability.

Whilst new technologies are emerging, the underlying principles of ABM align well to marketing best practice encompassing data and insight, profiling and segmentation, targeting and personalisation. In fact, if you take a closer look, traditional marketing techniques, including telemarketing, have much to offer in supporting ABM strategies.

Here are five ways telemarketing neatly dovetails with some of the key requirements of ABM:

1. Data

Accurate data and analysis are essential to ABM, in order to identify those accounts which are likely to grow into long term profitable partners, understand their needs and target accordingly. Telephone research is a very effective tool for cleansing and enhancing data, providing a foundation on which profile and segment your data, prioritise the most profitable accounts based on potential lifetime value, and focus on addressing their particular needs.

As it is data-led, telemarketing also lends itself well to a targeted approach such as ABM, and can deliver a healthy ROI when focused on high value prioritised segments. This channel has traditionally worked well within an 80/20 model, targeting a smaller percentage of accounts, which warrant special treatment in line with the value of their loyalty and continued business.

2. Insight

A clear understanding of the customer and their needs is a key factor in ABM, so that suppliers can deliver products and solutions finely tuned to those specific needs. Telephone research and the personal nature of this channel position it well for gathering a deeper level of insight either through pre-sales research or ongoing dialogue, building an understanding of an account and the individuals in the decision making unit. In addition to insight informing the account strategy, telephone research can provide an opportunity to test and refine offers and propositions so they better address client needs and interests.

3. Personalisation

ABM incorporates a highly personalised approach based on a deep understanding of the customer and the interests of the key individuals within a single account. Not only can telephone research help gather insight and tailor an overall account strategy, the high quality human interaction, which telemarketing provides is very effective in gaining trust and building understanding of the individuals within the account.

In addition, the open nature of phone conversation allows the caller to tailor the message and proposition they present to the interests of each individual, in real-time. Two-way communication and open discussion give a deeper understanding of the customer perspective and multiple conversations with different individuals over a period make it possible to map the interrelationships within the account.

4. Aligning Sales and Marketing

ABM aims to take a joined up approach to ensure priority accounts receive exceptional service and a consistent brand experience across multiple touch points in the customer journey. Achieving this level of cohesion requires an integrated approach between sales and marketing, which is not always easy to achieve.

The emphasis on insight and customer knowledge within an ABM approach requires a greater involvement by marketing at an early stage to inform sales account strategy. This aligns perfectly with the role of telephone research informing the early and ongoing strategy and highlighting account development priorities, which can align sales and marketing resource and activity.

ABM requires integrated activity and consistent messaging across all channels and communications. As telemarketing can be applied at any stage of the sales funnel, from early stage marketing leads to fully qualified sales opportunities, it supports a more joined up approach, rather than leads following a linear path with a gap between marketing and sales. Given its flexibility, telemarketing is easily integrated with other channels and activities and can therefore help provide a unifying force between sales and marketing functions

In addition, the fact that it can deliver higher quality leads with enhanced levels of insight and a greater propensity to convert, increases the confidence sales has in marketing effort.

5. Longer term approach – sustainability

Developing accounts based on a deeper understanding of the client and their needs as with ABM requires a long term approach. Whilst telemarketing can be a short term tactical tool to initiate response, it can also support the longer term pipeline, continuing a dialogue throughout the B2B sales cycle. By building a deeper understanding of customer needs and buying status through personal individualised contact, prospects who may not be ready to buy can be nurtured and developed into longer term opportunities. In addition, insight captured during each call enables sales to develop their account knowledge and refine and improve customer communications and account specific propositions over time.

The 2015 State of Account-Based Marketing (ABM) Study by SiriusDecisions reveals that over 90 percent of marketers believe that Account-Based Marketing is a B2B ‘Must-Have’ but only 20 per cent have had full programs in place for more than one year; suggesting insufficient skills and resources hamper implementation.

Those seeking accessible ways to implement ABM, who perhaps lack resource or the latest technologies, may want to look more closely at some of the more traditional, tried and tested methods of engagement…….

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