ABM strategy is gaining popularity in recent years. Many businesses have seen success with it and are reaping the rewards.
So how does an account-based marketing strategy help you achieve your business goals?
What is Account-Based Marketing?
Account-based marketing (ABM) is a form of B2B marketing in which businesses focus their marketing efforts on specific accounts rather than the masses. Businesses can more effectively target their prospects and craft tailored messages that speak directly to them.
ABM has been around for quite some time, but it has recently gained traction in the B2B world. It is partly due to the proliferation of new technologies and platforms that make targeting and engaging with specific accounts easier. It’s also a response to the growing realization that traditional “spray-and-pray” marketing strategies are less effective than they used to be.
With account-based marketing, businesses can avoid the wasted effort and expense of casting a wide net and focus their energies on a select group of accounts more likely to result in closed business.
Account-Based Marketing or Inbound Marketing?
How is account-based marketing different from inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is a holistic approach that attracts strangers and turns them into leads through content marketing, SEO, social media, and other channels. Once a lead is generated, inbound marketers will continue to nurture them until they’re ready to buy.
Traditional inbound marketing tactics are less effective when targeting specific accounts because they require a large volume of leads to be successful. In contrast, account-based marketing is more focused and targeted, making it a better fit for businesses looking to engage with specific accounts.
On the other hand, ABM is a targeted approach that specifically focuses on high-value accounts. With ABM, businesses will identify their ideal customers and craft personalized messages and content that speaks directly to them. They will also work to build relationships with key decision-makers within these accounts.
How Does ABM Work?
ABM is all about developing relationships with key decision-makers at specific target accounts. The goal is to generate awareness, interest, and business opportunities at these accounts.
Businesses must take a holistic approach that recognizes the unique needs of each account. It includes understanding the decision-makers within the account – their pain points and what they are looking for in a solution. With this information in hand, businesses can develop targeted messages and content that speak directly to the needs of their target accounts.
In addition to targeted content, businesses must have a multi-channel approach to reach their target accounts. It might include traditional advertising, direct mail, or more modern digital marketing tactics like account-based ads and email.
The most important thing to remember with ABM is that it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. Every business is different, and so is every target account. The key to success is to tailor your ABM strategy to fit your business’s specific needs and target accounts.
What is an ABM Platform?
An ABM platform is a tool that helps organizations manage their account-based marketing programs. It provides a centralized place to track and manage all ABM activities, from lead generation and nurturing to budgeting and reporting.
An ABM platform can also help with pipeline management by providing visibility into which accounts are in each sales funnel stage. Additionally, an ABM platform can help measure and optimize campaigns by providing insights into which tactics are most effective at driving results.
With an excellent ABM platform, your marketing, sales, and customer success teams can collaborate more effectively to close business and drive growth.
What are the Benefits of ABM?
There are many benefits of using an ABM strategy, including:
- More efficient use of marketing resources
By targeting specific accounts, businesses can avoid the wasted effort and expense of casting a wide net.
- Increased focus on the customer
ABM requires businesses to take a holistic view of their target accounts, which leads to a better understanding of their customers’ needs.
- Improved win rates
With targeted content and messages, businesses can increase the likelihood of winning new business from their target accounts.
- Greater ROI
Because ABM is more efficient and effective than traditional marketing approaches, it can deliver a higher return on investment.
How to Set Up an Account-Based Marketing Strategy
When done right, ABM can be a game-changer for your business, providing a more targeted and personalized approach that can lead to the benefits mentioned. But where do you start? How do you create an ABM strategy that will work for your business?
Here’s a quick step-by-step guide:
Define your target accounts
Defining your target accounts is the first and most important step. You must define who your ideal customers are, what they look like, and their specific needs. Without this step, you’ll be shooting in the dark.
How to do this?
A target account is a company that a) your solution is a great fit for and b) is likely to purchase from you. You must identify and prioritize target accounts if your product is B2B (business-to-business).
The four steps to do it:
1. Define who your ideal customer is.
To whom are you selling? Characterize them in as much detail as you can. Include firmographics (industry, company size, location) and technographics (what kinds of technology they use?).
2. Research each account.
Once you have a list of companies matching your ideal customer profile, it’s time to research each. How likely are they to purchase from you? What’s their budget? Do they have any projects that your solution would be perfect for?
3. Prioritize your target accounts.
Of the companies on your list, which ones should be your top priority? Many factors include the budget, need, timeline, and decision-making process.
4. Create a plan for each account.
Now it’s time to get specific. You must create a tailored plan for your target accounts that outlines the best way to reach them. This plan should include everything from the ideal contact list to the messages and content you’ll use.
Create buyer personas
Once you’ve identified your target accounts, it’s time to create buyer personas. These are semi-fictional visual representations of your ideal customers based on real data and research. Creating buyer personas will give you a deeper understanding of your target accounts and how to reach them.
Develop targeted content
Once you know who you’re targeting and what they’re looking for, you can develop targeted content that speaks directly to their needs. It could be blog posts, ebooks, webinars, or infographics.
Create a multi-channel approach
You need a multi-channel approach to reach your target accounts that consider how they consume information. For example, you might use direct mail, email, social media, and events to reach decision-makers at your target companies. And within each channel, you can tailor your message and content to your target audience‘s specific needs and interests.
Measure and adjust
As with any marketing strategy, you need to measure the results of your efforts and make adjustments as needed. It will help you fine-tune your approach and ensure you get the most out of your account-based marketing strategy.
Account-Based Marketing Examples
Companies use three primary account-based marketing examples to reach their target market.
In account-based advertising, an advertiser serves personalized ads to people who have already visited their website. It is done by matching an advertiser’s first-party data with the publisher’s third-party data. The advertiser only pays every time the ad is clicked on. Account-based advertising is a form of targeted advertising.
It is more effective than other forms of targeted advertising because it is more personalized and relevant to the user. It is also more expensive because the advertiser pays for clicks, not impressions.
Account-based email marketing
Email marketing to accounts (ABM) is an evolved version of traditional email marketing where buyers are placed into segments based on job title, company size, or other criteria – and your content strategy and Email campaigns are built around those segments.
In account-based email Marketing, you still use email to reach buyers – but you focus on a specific list of known target accounts, and customize your messaging and offers for each account. Then you track which Email assets are most effective in driving engagement with your target accounts, so you can keep refining your account-based email marketing strategy.
The bottom line: account-based email marketing is a strategic way to reach your ideal buyer at their company – with hyper-targeted and personalized messages that drive results.
Account-based social media marketing
Account-based social media marketing (ASMM) is a targeted social media marketing approach focusing on key accounts instead of mass-market audiences. ASMM can help you build relationships, generate leads, and close deals by identifying and engaging with key decision-makers at specific companies.
ASMM starts with the account selection. The first step is to determine which companies you want to target. Once you’ve created a target list, it’s time to build relationships. This is where social media comes in. You can connect with key decision-makers at your target accounts through LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social platforms. Once you’ve established a connection, you can start working on generating leads and closing deals.
Account-Based Marketing Communication Channels
There are many different account-based marketing communication channels. Here are just a few:
1. Direct mail
You can send physical letters or postcards directly to your target accounts. It can be a great way to break through the clutter and get your message noticed.
Email is still one of the most effective ways to reach your target accounts. You can use it to send newsletters, announcements, and other information.
3. Social media
Socmed is a great way to connect with your target accounts and build relationships. You can use social media platforms to share news, articles, and other content that will interest them.
Events are a great way to connect with your target accounts in person. You can use events to host webinars, product demos, and more.
Advertising can be a great way to reach your target accounts with your message. You can use online, print, television, or radio advertising to reach your target audience.
What Features to Look for in Account-Based Marketing Tools
You need the right tools to be successful. But with all the good choices, how do you know which tool is right?
Here are four essential features to look for in any ABM tool:
Customer data integration
The first step in any ABM campaign is understanding your target customers. Look for a tool that makes it easy to integrate customer data from multiple sources to get a complete picture of who your targets are and what they care about.
Once you have a clear understanding of your target accounts, you need to be able to segment them into groups for targeted outreach. Look for a tool that offers flexible account segmentation, so you can create custom segments based on criteria like industry, company size, or location.
Generic outreach methods just won’t cut it in an ABM campaign – you need to be able to personalize your outreach to each account. Look for a tool that offers account-specific templates and intelligent routing, so you can make sure your messages are relevant and engaging.
Reporting and analytics
You need to be able to track your progress and measure your success. Look for a comprehensive reporting and analytics tool to see how your campaign performs and adjust as needed.
With the right account-based marketing tool, you’ll be able to take your ABM campaign to the next level.
How to Execute Successful ABM Campaigns?
I was recently asked how to execute successful ABM campaigns. Here’s my answer.
First, know your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) inside out. The better you know your ICP, the easier it is to find and reach them. Your ICP includes company size, location, industry, need, budget, and authority. When you know your ICP, you can craft targeted messages that resonate and generates results.
Second, use technology to reach and engage your ICP at scale. Many great marketing automation platforms and ABM software can help you reach and engage thousands of prospects simultaneously.
Third, make sure you have alignment between sales and marketing. Without alignment, your efforts will be in vain.
Fourth, create personalized experiences for your ICP. The more relevant and personalized your content is, the higher the likelihood of conversion.
Fifth, measure everything and continuously optimize your campaigns based on data. What gets measured gets improved.
How to measure the success of an account-based marketing campaign?
There are a few key metrics you can use to measure the success of your account-based marketing campaigns:
- Account Engagement
How much did each target account engage with your content and messaging? It can be measured using website visits, email opens, or form submissions.
- Pipeline Impact
Did your account-based marketing efforts create new business opportunities? You can measure it by tracking the number of deals won from target accounts.
Did your account-based marketing campaigns help to increase customer loyalty and retention rates? You can measure it by tracking customer churn rates.
- Revenue Growth
Did your account-based marketing efforts increase revenue? Tracking total revenue or revenue growth year-over-year will measure this.
What was the return on investment of your account-based marketing campaigns? You can measure this by calculating the cost of your campaign versus the revenue generated from target accounts.
The Roles of Marketing and Sales Teams in Your ABM Strategy
Marketing’s job is to create awareness and generate leads. Sales’ job is to qualify those leads, turn them into opportunities, and close the deal. It’s that simple, and it has always been that simple.
Every company needs a marketing and sales team, but their exact roles can vary based on the product or service being sold, the company’s size, and the company’s growth stage.
For example, in a startup, the sales team might be focused on generating as many sales as possible, regardless of whether or not the customer is a good fit for the product. However, as the company grows and matures, the focus shifts to quality over quantity, and the sales team becomes more selective about which leads they pursue.
Meanwhile, the marketing team’s focus also changes over time. In a startup, they might be focused on generating attention, regardless of whether it’s positive or negative. But as the company expands, they need to start attracting more qualified leads interested in what they’re selling.
These teams must work together to generate and pursue qualified leads in account-based marketing. Account-based marketing requires a high degree of alignment between the two teams.
The sales team should provide the marketing team with information about the target account, including the ideal customer profile, budget, decision-makers, and timeline. When the marketing team has this information, they can develop a personalized outreach strategy resonant with the target account. The sales team should also be involved in developing and executing the account plan, as they will be responsible for closing the deal.
By working together closely, marketing and sales can create a powerful engine for driving growth through account-based marketing.
When you have finally created a successful ABM strategy, you can use it as a base to scale your business. After all, what works for one account can be replicated and scaled for many.
Here are other frequently asked questions about the ABM strategy that we have not discussed in the article.
The most effective account-based marketing tactics will vary depending on your business and its target customers. However, some general tips that may be useful include:
1. Develop a detailed customer profile for each of your target accounts. It should include company size, industry, buying process, etc.
2. Use this customer data to create targeted content and messaging that resonates with each account’s unique needs and interests.
3. Tailor your lead generation and sales processes to win business from your target accounts.
4. Monitor and analyze the results of your ABM efforts closely, so you can continuously improve your campaigns.
The best way to target key accounts is to first determine which accounts are most important to your business and then develop a strategy for reaching those accounts.
You can identify your key accounts by looking at revenue, profit, market share, or customer loyalty. Once you’ve identified your key accounts, you need to create a strategy for reaching them. It could involve customized marketing messages, personal visits, calls, or special offers.
If you’re unsure how to reach your key accounts, contact your local sales representative for help. They’ll be able to work with you to develop a plan that fits your business and targets the right accounts.
Some common mistakes in account-based marketing include:
1. Not aligning sales and marketing teams around the same target accounts.
2. Creating generic content and messages that don’t speak to the specific needs of each target account.
3. Failing to track and measure the results of your ABM campaigns.
4. Not adapting your campaigns based on feedback and data.
5. Trying to do everything yourself without partnering with an expert in the field.