In the face of fierce competition, SaaS companies are using account-based marketing to secure the anchor clients needed to grow their business.
Account-based marketing (ABM) is a B2B marketing methodology that begins with the identification of target accounts, and engages individual employees within those accounts with hyper-personalised marketing tactics, with the aim to develop relationships with decision makers and win their business.
Target accounts are typically high-value, or “whales”. For SaaS companies, these anchor accounts can lay the foundations for sustainable growth by bolstering their reputation, lending credibility to their sales process, and opening the doors to other lucrative boardrooms.
Building Reputation Through Account-Based Marketing
The cash flow benefits of a high-value account on the books is obvious. However, these anchor clients can drive business growth in multiple ways - one of which being through social proof. A reel of logos from trusted, recognisable clients is a great asset to SaaS companies, particularly those who are new-to-market.
With an account-based marketing strategy, SaaS companies are being proactive in securing high-value anchor clients, which they know will fast-track their growth.
Lending Credibility to the Sales Process
In addition to displaying social proof on the website homepage, SaaS companies are leveraging their anchor accounts to lend credibility to the sales process.
Providing a case study that details how the software has helped a noteworthy client is a time-tested bottom-of-the-funnel tactic to influence prospects, as are video testimonials.
Anchor Clients Open the Door to Others
Anchor clients assist in converting leads to customers at the bottom of the funnel, but they also provide a foot in the door to lucrative business networks. High-value clients referring your software to other high-value clients is a goldmine for SaaS companies and should be encouraged with strategic referral programs.
The Difference Between Account-Based Marketing and Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing is a popular and successful strategy for SaaS companies. It allows them to build authority and search visibility, attract and convert engaged prospects and enjoy the compounding return of content to drive sustained traffic to their site.
Account-based marketing is a different, yet complementary approach to marketing for SaaS companies. According to Jon Miller, CEO of ABM software provider Engagio and co-founder of Marketo, account-based marketing is like fishing with spears:
"If you think about the kind of marketing that you’re doing when you’re using traditional marketing automation, I like to say that that’s kind of like fishing with a net. And what that means is you run your campaigns and you don’t care which fish you catch. You just care did I catch enough total fish?
In contrast, though, there are lots of companies out there that are going after named accounts, typically larger enterprises, maybe in a specific vertical. Maybe they’re going after the current customer base to do cross-sell and expansion. What those all have in common is you don’t want to wait around just to see if the right person from those right companies happen to swim into your net. But you’re going to reach out to them proactively. So instead of fishing with nets, it’s more like fishing with spears.”
Account-based marketing is a highly targeted approach that can allow SaaS companies to win the business of valuable anchor clients. However, dedicating the entirety of your marketing resources to speaking to just a few clients is an inherently risky venture. Account-based marketing is thus best used as a complementary initiative to an inbound marketing program.