As 2017 gets underway MomentumABM’s CEO, Alisha Lyndon, discusses where next for ABM and the vertical sectors that are adopting account based marketing …
It’s no coincidence that nine out of the world’s 10 largest technology companies are passionate proponents and practitioners of account based marketing (ABM). To mention that all nine work with us here at MomentumABM would be unnecessarily boastful, so we’ll let that pass and pose two questions instead.
First why are IT and ABM such a perfect fit? Second, what might that tell us about which industry sectors are likely to adopt ABM next ?
So why IT? ABM works best when two complex organisations come together: a vendor that has lots of different things to sell – not just a range of products but services and expertise, too – and a customer account made up of multiple divisions and teams all with specific needs and expectations. This hybrid sale is changing the dynamics of the buying process. As a result, traditional messaging will fail to capture the essence of the offer effectively.
ABM’s sweet spot: where complexity meets complexity
IT vendors are used to complexity. They rarely sell ‘out of the box’ solutions and often sell multiple products and services to the same customer and into different divisions within that customer account. By treating each prospect as an account of one and by prioritising the understanding of the client’s world view, account based marketing brings structure and purpose.
Technology is not the only sector with these characteristics and challenges. Professional services companies are already finding value in the ABM proposition. As for those that follow expect three sectors to lead the way: information management, oil and gas and financial services. All three are showing a strong appetite for ABM and, largely, for good reason. Most have clients with multifaceted needs that match an intricate matrix of products and services. Moreover, many are in sectors where the end user universe is small, so marketing to accounts is absolutely the right thing to do. However, ABM isn’t right for all of them. If their market proposition is simple or they sell just a single product, then ABM is not for them. If they are expecting a one-size-fits-all approach to marketing, again, it’s not for them.
The operative word is complexity, another signal of which is the number of people involved in the buying cycle. If the number is large and rising – as it is in the IT purchase – then ABM should loom large. Why? Because a large group of influencers and decision makers demands consensus building. In this scenario the ‘gating’ factor is not always the quality of the solution but rather the quality of the people on the seller’s side, the ease of doing business and ease of adoption. And because the customers often see challenges that are not immediately visible to the seller, it becomes imperative that the vendor can demonstrate understanding and so inspire confidence and trust.
If that sounds like an industry you work in or for, then ABM is coming for you.
Further reading: Forrester predicts ABM will be the leading B2B Marketing trend in 2017 – see the article.