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How can Account Based Marketing (ABM) drive enterprise customer acquisition, retention and growth?

In today's competitive business landscape and as enterprise buying cycles become more complex, finding effective strategies to attract and expand enterprise customers is crucial for the success of UK SMEs. One approach that has proven highly effective at winning and growing enterprise customers is Account Based Marketing (ABM).

In this article, we'll share insights from an ABM event we recently hosted, led by Alisha Lyndon, the founder and CEO of Momentum ITSMA, and describe why we are encouraging our portfolio companies to embrace ABM, how to adopt the approach, and some common challenges that we see across our portfolio companies.

At FPE, we invest in software, data, and software services companies that serve large enterprise customers. We chose this segment because well-served enterprise customers demonstrate strong loyalty and offer continuous growth opportunities.

However, we meet a lot of enterprise-focused companies facing a common challenge. They have successfully secured a few large, blue-chip customers (often driven by the entrepreneurial drive of key leaders), but they have yet to establish the necessary go-to-market (GTM) capabilities and processes to consistently replicate those successes.

Since 2012 we have been collaborating with our portfolio companies to help them make this crucial transition. More recently, we were introduced to Alisha Lyndon, the founder and CEO of Momentum ITSMA, whose invaluable insights have played a significant role in further developing and refining our approach, enabling us to provide even greater guidance and value to our portfolio companies.

Alisha pioneered Account Based Marketing (ABM), and is a global authority on the concept; she authored An Executives Guide to ABM and hosts The Account Based Marketing podcast. In her day job, she works with companies big and small in enterprise technology, financial services and business services sectors, helping them to drive market-beating performance by winning, retaining and growing their most valuable client relationships. Since Alisha started Momentum ITSMA in 2008, ABM has gone mainstream and according to a recent survey, 72% of GTM leaders stated that ABM delivers a higher return on investment than any other approach.

What is Account Based Marketing?

ABM is a strategic go-to-market approach that focuses on treating accounts as a market in their own right. Creating personalised and targeted campaigns for specific high-value individuals or groups of accounts. Instead of casting a wide net, ABM identifies and prioritises smaller groups of customers and tailors marketing efforts to meet their specific needs and interests.

ABM involves a deep understanding of target accounts, and collaboration between sales and marketing teams to create content, campaigns, and experiences that resonate with the decision-makers. It requires a holistic approach that considers the entire customer journey, from lead generation to customer retention and seeks to deliver a seamless and consistent experience.

ABM is particularly effective for companies that have high-value customers with complex needs. It allows companies to concentrate their resources on the accounts that matter most, resulting in higher conversion rates, faster sales cycles, and increased revenue. By prioritising personalised experiences for high-value customers, ABM helps build long-term relationships and establishes trust and loyalty.

How can a business adopt an account-based approach?

Momentum ITSMA’s ABM playbook provides a clear starting place for any company looking to adopt an account-based approach.

It starts with a simple concept; sales and marketing must be aligned to treat individual accounts as markets in their own right. This requires client-centricity and insight, cross-functional collaboration, and a focus on the “three Rs”; reputation, relationships, and revenue, as key performance indicators.

Client selection is key for an ABM program to be a success – given the resource commitment, the juice must be worth the squeeze! An account-based approach can be used just as effectively to win new major accounts, as it can be to improve penetration within existing accounts. In either case, ABM can be used to get ahead of major opportunities or change the perception or positioning of an offering.

When it comes to delivery, Momentum ITSMA have outlined a 7-Step Methodology© to help commercial leaders establish an ABM strategy and operating model:

Evaluate results by using the Three Rs. A successful ABM program could lead to a >50% increase in revenue, a >70% increase in the number of client relationships held, and a 34% improvement in customer NPS (a measure of reputation).

What are the common challenges of implementing ABM?

Implementing an ABM program can be challenging, and businesses encounter several common hurdles:

Given the investment required to deliver ABM successfully, many businesses find it helpful to collaborate with an investor or consulting firm with experience with the concept.

How to find out more about ABM

To learn more, we would highly recommend listening to the 50+ episodes of Momentum ITSMA’s Account Based Marketing podcast. We particularly enjoyed a recent episode where Alisha interviewed Eric Martin, Account Based Marketing Lead at AWS.

To successfully benefit from ABM, it must be seen as an investment and overall responsibility for strategic accounts must lie with a senior leader. Companies can also benefit from some quick wins by taking elements from the 7-Step framework, for example investing in customer research to better understand your audience.

FPE would like to say thank you to Alisha and Momentum ITSMA for sharing their 7-Step framework with us. If you would like to learn more about Momentum ITSM, visit their website: www.momentumitsma.com

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