A new benchmark study from the ITSMA and ABM Leadership Alliance, titled: Driving Growth With Three Types Of ABM, found that Account-Based Marketing has improved reputation, relationship, and revenue (the three Rs) of strategic marketing:
- 84% of respondents said that ABM has improved their reputation (brand perception, awareness, and knowledge);
- 74% said it has improved relationships (number of relationships across accounts); and
- 69% said ABM has improved revenue (annual revenue per account).
Going by the research carried out by Altera Group which found out that 97 percent of marketers said the ABM approach yielded a higher return on investment, we may be tempted to focus purely on the revenue angle of ABM but the fact remains that the three Rs work in conjunction and to a more accomplished purpose.
We only need to succinctly understand the three Rs and then see why they are co-joined to effectively bring about the revolution called Account-Based Marketing. Josiah Mackenzie, director of business development at ReviewPro, caps it all with this customer insight for hotel executives. “Reputation management is revenue management,” he said. “There is a direct link.”
Andy Pharoah SVP, Corporate Affairs, Strategic Initiatives and Sustainability, Mars Inc says that “Reputation is critical to everything in our business. It influences strategy and the business benefits that go with it.”
According to analysis, around 40 percent of a [public] company’s market performance can be attributed to non-financial factors associated with its corporate reputation. For your brand to, however, benefit from the largess that comes from reputation, you must be reputation ready.
Reputation readiness revolves around Reputation Intelligence. Brands that know how to unleash the power of Reputation Intelligence are better able to navigate the reputation economy and to outperform the competition. Reputation Intelligence is grounded on an understanding of the what, why, and how to drive key business KPIs.
Professor Tom Watson, The Media School, Bournemouth University, says that “corporate reputation is the sum of predictable behaviors, relationships, and two-way communication undertaken by an organization, as judged by its stakeholders over time.”
In furtherance and to show how important and how significantly reputation affects the sum total of your brand’s activities, Harvard Business Review points out that “in an economy where 70 percent to 80 percent of market value comes from hard-to-assess intangible assets such as brand equity, intellectual capital, and goodwill, organizations are especially vulnerable to anything that damages their reputations.”
A strong positive reputation among stakeholders across multiple categories will result in a strong positive reputation for the company overall. A brand must do all it takes to eliminate the very disastrous effect of reputation-reality gaps by either improving its ability to meet expectations or reduce expectations by promising less.
It’s absolutely important that you do not channel your energies to handling only the threats to your reputations that have already surfaced. It’s better you comprehensively assess existing and potential threats to your brand’s reputations and decide whether to accept a given risk or to take actions to avoid or mitigate it.
“Relationship marketing is a strategy designed to foster customer loyalty, interaction and long-term engagement. It is designed to develop strong connections with customers by providing them with information directly suited to their needs and interests and by promoting open communication.”
Technology has evolved and redefined all aspects of a business. Brands, therefore, have no option but to change and evolve with the new trends. The change cuts across boards and those who do not see or refuse to change are being confined to the oblivion.
What we see today is the definitive shift of power from the brand into the hands of the customer. Any market you can think of consists of customers with their different needs and requirements.
A customer will enter in a relationship with business only if they find value in company’s offering. This value begins in the mind with perception about the product and the company. Relationship adds value to the customer through the following:
- The brand needs to get closer to the customers and start interacting with them. Through the interaction, the brand gets to understand the needs and requirements of the customer. This understanding of expectation may be through personalized marketing if the product is customized.
- The close interaction with the customer affords the brand the opportunity of working to create a relationship of trust and commitment. This will, in turn, help both the brand and the customer make the right decision.
- As a brand progresses it starts to look towards more of standardization and reduction of customization. This may be tough at the onset but through relationship marketing and human interaction, this standardization can be made more acceptable.
The internet has brought a change in the dynamics of the market. Marketers especially ABM-ers can no longer afford to use the traditional methods of engaging and selling to the customers.
Marketing today demands a customer-centric approach. The customer is no longer an entity without a face. They have become savvy, informed, and abundantly intelligent. They can now be reached, are visible, and can be heard.
Any relationship built with a customer means so much to the brand. Relationship Management holds the center stage to designing marketing as well as communication strategies of the organization
With stiff competition in the global market coupled with ever-evolving technologies, differentiation is the key to success. ABM-ers must, therefore, make concerted efforts to manage customer interaction and different types of relationships.
According to FlipMyFunnel, companies using ABM generate 200% more revenue for their marketing efforts compared to those that don’t. These companies were able to achieve this is by implementing an account based marketing strategy.
By partnering marketing technology with an approach that treats highly targeted accounts as their own market, ABM offers a fresh and often profitable set of techniques for demand generation. The quest to generate a high ROI has led to diligent ABM that helps you determine which competitors are already servicing an account and how you can displace them.
ABM-ers resought to retargeting as a way to market to targets who consume online content from other players in the market. Social analytics can also help you spot which ideal accounts are focusing on competitors and target them for advertisements.
What occurs is that with most sophisticated ABM-ers, revenue marketing now drives the entire sales pipeline. Salespeople don’t make cold calls. Instead, inbound leads are automatically nurtured until they are right for sales.
In these brands, marketing programs people are paid like sales: they have pipeline and revenue goals and substantial at-risk compensation built around these goals. The quarterly planning process begins with the revenue goal and backs into the required marketing program investments and sales staffing.
The onus for ABM-ers has been put on marketing to hold leads up to a higher standard of qualification, in order to ensure that only sales-ready leads are delivered and that these leads have a high rate of conversion to opportunities. Marketing has therefore steadily increased its contribution of opportunities to the pipeline, suggesting that the marketing team has become more effective and stringent in finding sales-ready leads.
Inasmuch as investing in ABM to drive revenue is one of the most effective approaches we can take. You must not limit your focus to just that one R. Reputation and relationships are similarly important, and ABM is already driving results with those, as well.