Account-Based Marketing: Is It Right for Your B2B Enterprise?

by Sean Ross

2 min read

Business-to-business sellers face a different marketing challenge than most businesses that sell to traditional retail consumers. Business customers often have highly specialized needs and a lot of money at stake, so they tend to be pickier. One way some B2B marketers separate themselves is through an account-based marketing strategy.

Account-Based Marketing: What Is It?

At its core, account-based marketing is personalized marketing that grew out of account-based selling. In its earliest form, account-based marketing existed only with the largest corporations that could dedicate staff and coordinate marketing and sales efforts to their most valuable accounts. Thanks to the proliferation of cheap market research and customer tracking software, more businesses have access to the kinds of information necessary to perform account-based marketing adequately. This is great news if your B2B enterprise doesn’t have a lot of extra marketing and sales staff to throw at each account. Companies that employ account-based marketing rely on highly researched pitches. Rather than using a wide marketing funnel with huge potential customer bases, an account-based strategy relies on limited-but-qualified leads.

Why Account-Based Marketing Is a Growing Trend Among B2B Companies

As the B2B space becomes more competitive, your enterprise might need to specialize to stay ahead or keep even. In the case of account-based marketing, targeting processes narrow down to very small, niche customer groups, or in some cases, individual customer accounts. The problem with account-based marketing is focusing on such small units can be a major time and resource drain. If you operate a traditional retail business with 1,000 different customers in a given month or year, it would be very difficult, maybe even impossible, to market to each of them individually. Business-to-business enterprises, on the other hand, tend to have fewer and larger customer accounts. Marketing to each unique business client is much more manageable. Business clients also tend to have very specific needs and provide more actionable data from which to develop a marketing strategy. From a marketing perspective, business clients are more personalizable than nonbusiness clients.

Example: B2B White Papers

Unlike traditional consumers, business clients have a very strong monetary incentive to understand their needs thoroughly and to research best-in-class solutions. They also tend to be very skeptical and always cognizant of possible alternatives; this makes them very challenging to transform into long-term, revenue-generating customers. One way to assuage the concerns of your targeted business customers is to generate the research they need to make an informed decision. Try to identify their key needs and publish a white paper around those needs. This method requires confidence in understanding the needs of your B2B customer accounts. You must be able to perform expert research, write academically, and present your white paper in objective language. Of course, you should also be confident that the solution reached is reflective of the service you can provide to the target customer. Marketing, whether to business or retail customers, has never been more competitive and serious than it is in 2017. Many B2B firms have turned to account-based marketing as a way to separate themselves from their competition. It may not be the perfect solution for your enterprise, but it could be an option to consider for your most valuable accounts.

References & Resources

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