February 6, 2022

How Inbound & Account-Based Marketing Can Work Together


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The Best of Both Marketing Strategies

The marketing world is split into two schools of thought.

Those who swear by the success of inbound marketing strategies. And those championing account-based marketing (ABM). Experts love to debate which approach works best. Now, a third strategy is emerging and it combines the best of both marketing worlds.

Inbound marketing focuses on delivering the right content, at the right time, to the right prospect. It’s all aimed at moving prospects, or customers, further down the sales funnel.

This strategy works well, particularly given the digital direction of communication. There are significant differences between inbound marketing and ABM. Inbound marketers focus on segmentation and targeting.

However, ABM is what you’re looking for to dial in targeting. Successful companies have added sending to their strategy to create human connections with potential clients.

It’s important to know that you don’t have to commit to just one strategy. The two marketing styles are highly complementary.

Sales Funnel Anatomy

Let’s take a look at how each strategy plays a role in a basic sales funnel. For the sake of simplicity, we will look at three stages: awareness, consideration, and decision.

It’s important to note that sales funnels vary. Some funnels even contain additional phases. This isn’t intended to define sales funnels, but to show how both inbound and ABM can be applied to a basic sales process.

Awareness: Integrating Direct Mail to Stand Out

Inbound marketing thrives at this stage. It’s all about creating brand awareness. Businesses use content: blogs, videos, social media, to pull in potential customers. This method relies on leveraging SEO and other algorithms to reach a targeted audience. The objective is to capture the audience and act on the content, thus moving prospects down the sales funnel.

ABM at this phase is very similar to inbound marketing. However, it’s not content that drives awareness and interest. ABM can take the form of a simple, targeted mailer.

Others might opt for building a more personalized connection. This is where you’ll see sending platforms, like Sendoso, come into play. Marketers look for opportunities to stand out by creating memorable campaigns like surprising prospects with cupcakes.

The key difference is that the target audiences are generally broader. Meanwhile, ABM’s targets are significantly more focused.

Inbound can bring people to your site, but it’s not guaranteed to keep them there. The inbound method counts on prospects exchanging contact information for additional content. However, it doesn’t necessarily move them down the sales funnel.

ABM goes a step further to increase quality sales funnel leads.

Companies use the AMB approach to incentivize prospects with curated swag. Marketers look to send meaningful gifts to build interest and goodwill.

Now consider combining both marketing strategies to get maximum exposure. Pair print collateral (yes, people still do this – quite effectively, too) along with an eGift or your branded merchandise. Sendoso offers thousands of corporate sending options, everything from a cup of coffee to a virtual experience to help advance the sales cycle.

Consideration: Shorten the Sales Cycle by Incentivizing

Prospects at this stage are seriously considering a product or service. It’s now time for them to weigh the benefits and assess your offer, product, or service.

Inbound marketing activities typically include sending prospectuses. Email segmenting comes next. Companies segment prospects delivering email content based on their previous actions. Emails are designed to maintain engagement.

Webinars and other educational materials might also be offered at this stage.

ABM again incentives potential customers to respond to the call to action created by the inbound marketing efforts. Marketers will offer a physical or virtual gift when a prospect demonstrates further interest in the product.

The difference at this stage, though, is the degree of personalization used to send the prospect something. More than 90% of digital marketers agree that gifts with personal touches advance the customer relationship.

By now, your business should have collected a significant amount of information from the prospect to personalize what they receive. Utilize this information to customize gifts based on a prospect’s interests, education, or background.

Remember:  ABM is about quality over quantity.

Decision: Closing the Sales Cycle

Now it’s decision time. Will your prospect become a paying customer?

At this final stage, most inbound tactics will fall short. Simply because inbound marketing tactics are focused on garnering attention and building awareness. Most inbound marketers will repeat their actions from previous stages; nurturing leads with emails, content, and product demos.

It’s also at this stage that ABM kicks into overdrive. By now, if a lead has been properly nurtured, your business should have a detailed prospect profile on the decision-makers. These profiles include a wide variety of data points, professional pain points, and personal interests.

Those data points can be translated into very specific, personalized collateral which drives decision-making. Knowing your data points translates into smart sending. You’re able to select meaningful gifts. Partnering with a quality sending platform like Sendoso means you can add the extras too like custom branded merchandise, hand-written notes, or a prospect’s favorite snacks.

Merging Marketing Strategies

We can’t emphasize enough the importance of personalization in an ABM strategy.  It’s those meaningful connections that help you stand out especially with B2B companies.

Inbound marketing is great for filling the sales funnel. But ABM excels at converting those same prospects using personalization. It’s why inbound and ABM are an excellent, complimentary match in marketing strategies.

Think of the old saying, “you line ‘em up, and I’ll knock ‘em down.” That’s exactly how inbound and ABM should work together.

Looking for more ideas on how to incorporate ABM into your marketing mix? Request a demo to speak with a send specialist.

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