Startup and early-stage founders have told me they’d like to do ABM, but they hear it is too expensive and it takes a long time. If you are a B2B early stage company, ABM should be started now, rather than later.
Consider that 72% of marketers surveyed said ABM achieved the highest ROI over all other marketing. The question is how much investment and time do you have to gain such a high ROI? Many early-stage companies rely heavily on sales early which makes this a great fit and ideal approach for your marketing and sales. Thanks to the tools and technologies (many free or low cost) now available for marketers, it is also possible to run ABM-at-scale within the same budget range that would have been allocated otherwise.
The benefits of doing ABM at an earlier stage should also be considered beyond what it can do for your near-term bottom line. For most companies, ABM is a complete change of mindset. Starting with ABM sets the tone for the way your organization approaches customers and builds the ever important alignment across marketing, sales and service early on.
Depending on your deal size and sales cycle, ABM with a 1:few or 1:many approach is what will make the most sense at an earlier stage. It could be pretty risky (and costly) to run 1:1 ABM when you are just getting started. I have seen it done, and with a high win rate, but it took over a year in each case to land the key accounts. Running broader 1:Many campaigns at the start reduces your risk and later cost to run 1:1 ABM later as you can repurpose everything from landing pages to ad copy down into a more personalized approach.
One of the biggest benefits of running ABM early on will be in the identification and measurement of your ICP lists. This focuses your team’s efforts to know who they are, why they buy, their pain points, what they need to know about you, and how you can effectively communicate with them? This also turns into a realization of better product market fit and approach to your content.
You will hopefully avoid wasteful spray and pray marketing and become more selective in your approach on how to target and engage with your accounts. When it works, your sales team will be presented with better opportunities from accounts that are more educated about your offering and closer to buying. ABM may seem more costly up-front but will reduce wasteful spend by not having your ads in front of the wrong accounts.
ABM needs to have buy-in from the top and a marketing leader who can work across your teams, define the strategy and oversee the execution. For startups, you should consider an experienced consultant or agency to get started for you and then hand it over to your team as you progress.
If you are looking to run ABM, or learn whether ABM is a fit for your company, click below to book a call with me and let's talk ABM!