There are different ways to approach lead generation, in particular you can use either lead based marketing or account based marketing. Dayna Rothman will dive into the pros and cons of each strategy.
- [Instructor] As you're building out your lead generation program, it's critical to decide between a leads- or account-based strategy. There are multiple fundamental approaches to a lead generation strategy and what you choose will really depend on your goals and your business. The first and more traditional approach that you can use is lead-based marketing. This is historically what lead generation is all about. It's a strategy that places the focus on driving demand with an individual.
So a lead, an individual, comes into your funnel, and you work on building a relationship with that person over time. The next strategy you can do is account-based marketing, or ABM. ABM focuses on driving demand by marketing to a targeted account, so an account, as in a group of individuals. And this is important because, as you think about your sales process and how your sales team talks about accounts versus leads, you'll probably find that your sales team speaks in accounts.
However, marketing historically has spoken in leads. So this becomes a pretty big difference when you're thinking about the terminology that both marketing and sales use to describe the sales process. And that's one of the reasons that ABM has become really a very hot topic that marketers are talking about today. A lead-based strategy focuses on attracting individual buyers. Lead-based marketing is the more traditional approach to lead generation, when you're really personalizing the experience for that one individual.
So what are the pros and the cons to a lead-based traditional strategy? The pros. So most marketing and sales systems are lead-based. So when I'm talking about sales systems, I'm talking about marketing automation or something like a CRM. Many of those tools are inherently lead-based and speak in that language. Lead generation is often easier to scale because you can create more automation in the marketing that you do. Lead generation for individuals you can focus on that one-to-one personalization and selling, so you're really learning who that individual is and what she cares about.
Most of your inbound marketing is going to be lead-based. And lead-based marketing works very well if you focus on small business and mid-market that might actually have very small buying teams or only one individual making that purchase. So what are the cons with this type of lead-based approach? So focusing on lead quantity over lead quality is one area that lead-based marketing often finds themselves. Because lead generation will focus on generating a very high quantity of leads of individuals, quality often gets overlooked, whereas the whole purpose of an account-based system is to focus on the right accounts and that right type of quality.
So another con is that it can cause sales and marketing misalignment and this is very much because of the difference in terminology of what sales uses and what marketing uses. A lead-based approach doesn't account for decision groups and account influencers. So it's common knowledge, especially in a B2B buying cycle, that most companies will have what's called a decision group. This would be a group of leads that influence each other throughout the decision process and because a lead-based strategy focuses on that individual, it often doesn't focus on telling a consistent story throughout all of those influencers in that decision group.
And then finally the last con is that a lead-based approach can cause overspending because what you're basically doing is you're casting a very, very wide net and you're trying to get all the leads that you can into your funnel. While this is often a very good strategy, especially for smaller companies that are looking to grow, this can cause overspending because it is simply less targeted. So now let's talk about an account-based marketing strategy and then we'll see how the two strategies are different.
An ABM strategy is a newer approach to lead generation and is primarily an outbound strategy versus an inbound strategy. What do I mean by that? So because ABM is a targeted account strategy, you generally will have already selected the accounts that you're going to go after as a sales and marketing team. Because those accounts are already preselected, as a marketing organization, you are focused on getting those accounts' attention and that is often in various outbound methods. So I also want to note here that both ABM and traditional lead-based lead gen can be combined, and personally, I like them to be combined.
So, in my own marketing team, I have both strategies combined. I have account-based marketing for target accounts, where there is a small, selected group of target accounts, and then for my overall marketing strategy, I do use traditional lead gen. What you decide here will be very much based on your goals as an organization and a marketing team. So what are the pros and cons for ABM? Some of the pros. So B2B companies sell into accounts, not individuals. Again, this is on the terminology that's being used here.
B2B companies will sell into other companies. You don't often hear them talking about selling into Joe Smith. They will be selling into a particular department. Sales focuses on selling into accounts, so you have a more aligned strategy. So again, that is what sales focuses on, that's how sales sells. If marketing sells how sales sells, then you're going to automatically be more aligned. And then you can sell only to the accounts that are a good fit for your product. Because your accounts are preselected, you are making sure on the front end that these are good accounts for what you are selling and therefore, your efforts can be much more targeted.
So while there are pros to an ABM approach, there are also naturally cons. One of the chief concerns that I hear from marketers is ABM can be very difficult to scale. This is because there needs to be a very high level of personalized effort put into your marketing communications for target accounts. Think personalized content, think high-end direct mail, lots of different email tracks, and for a small team, this just might not be a possibility. This can be challenging if you sell to smaller companies or mid-market.
As I was saying, there are generally are a lot smaller decision-making teams on some of these smaller companies or you might be selling into an individual with a mid-market or kind of corporate, smaller company. Generally, ABM approaches work very well with enterprise, where you have teams that can be 10, 20, 30, or more people. However, when you are selling into some of these smaller companies, they might be only individual sales. You also need to agree on a solid list of target accounts, which might be a con for many organizations.
Getting together between sales and marketing and your key executives can be very difficult and having everyone agree on the same list of accounts can be a challenge. And then another con is that ABM requires budget for targeted field marketing. So a big part of ABM will be creating highly-personalized events in different territories, and so a lot of marketers look at those things as a con.
- Identifying funnel stages
- Defining key goals and metrics
- Deciding on an approach
- Building a lead generation plan and a team
- Aligning with stakeholders
- Choosing a lead generation technology
- Building attractive content
- Generating leads with blogs and social media
- Creating an SEO strategy
- Tracking ad performance
- Increasing visibility through events
- Using paid ads and direct mail
- Qualifying leads
- Measuring campaign effectiveness