Account-based marketing (ABM) is a unique marketing method in which brands focus their marketing communication on a select few high-value accounts or prospects. It places significant importance on a few large accounts that hold tremendous potential to add to a company’s bottom line. ABM necessitates highly targeted messaging to these individuals as a result of their revenue potential and impact on sales.
Some of you may ask whether this method works? Well, to clear search doubts, studies have proven that ABM is effective in delivering ROI. According to a research study by Susan Buddenbaum and Bernie Thiel, founding partners of Alterra Group, 97% of respondents said that ABM provided a somewhat higher or much higher ROI as compared to other modes.
Steps to Implement an Account-Based Marketing Strategy
Account-based marketing is different from other methods as it does not target prospects on the basis of demographics of personas but on the preference of specific organizations. It requires a strategic and tactical approach. The steps mentioned below guide you through the implementation of an effective ABM strategy.
- Build a Team
Account-based marketing is no solo act and requires the cooperation and coordination between the marketing, sales, and operations teams of a company. Best practice ABM campaigns are multi-channel, which requires the coordination of the campaign with channel owners, and the professionals that connect the channels together.
In an ideal world, an all-star ABM team would require at least one of the following professionals.
- ABM Team Leader
Responsible for overseeing the campaign and reporting results to company management.
- Field Marketer
Executes events and campaigns and manages operations on the ground between customers and sales reps.
- Sales Representative
Sales representatives are a must for any ABM team.
- Marketing Operations Executive
Track campaign ROI, distribute accounts to the representatives, and more.
- Integrated Campaign Manager
Manage quarterly campaigns and ABM components of the marketing team and ensures alignment, analysis, and optimization of all offers and channels.
- Digital Marketing Manager
Responsible for paid and organic traffic and align the company’s digital and ABM marketing strategies.
- Webinar/ Content Manager
Set up a content machine to support the company’s ABM campaign effort.
In the real world, however, depending on organization size, brands need to identify a minimum of one marketer and one sales representative who will work on the target accounts. These individuals are required to create and publish content for these prospects, whilst also managing and closing business deals with each account’s decision-makers.
- Determine the Accounts
While traditional marketing methods look to market the products via segmentation based on individual user preferences, ABM is about marketing to an organization rather than an individual. Accounts can be segmented based on the similarities in their makeup with the accounts that bring your company the highest monthly recurring revenue (MRR).
A software solution such as a data management platform (DMP) offers users with the automated provision of look-alikes or digital twins. Digital twins are organization profiles that are similar to the most valuable customers that a brand already has. Marketers are required to identify the industry, company size, location, and annual revenue, among other such factors while shortlisting accounts. These prospects will yield the highest long-term profits for your business.
- Investigate Target Accounts
Now that you have shortlisted the accounts that you will be marketing to, it is important to study these organizations to understand the makeup of these organizations and determine who the key stakeholders are. Marketers learn about how these prospects make decisions, and their intricate makings to develop a strategy that influences the key stakeholders of the prospects.
To connect with these key employees of the target accounts, marketers make use of social media accounts such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, among others. Another useful tool in the finding of key stakeholders in your CRM. Make use of the CRM and the people in your company to find past relations within your target organizations. Introduction via people known to the target organizations instils a sense of trustworthiness and speeds the process to a certain degree.
- Create Account Plans
ABM is a team effort and requires a brand’s sales teams, marketing teams, and design teams to work together to implement an efficient campaign. Marketers know who they need to contact for each account, what content is needed to attract and engage the key stakeholders, which channels are to be utilized to share content, and how the sales representatives will provide support to these accounts throughout the campaign.
Brands generally ensure that they pick the right people from their marketing and sales teams to be working on account-based marketing campaigns. These professionals do not provide just simple support to the accounts but provide optimum support. Brands also get their marketing and sales teams to align on their product or service’s value proposition for each account, create content tailored to each, and customize allocated resources and budgets for each.
- Create Valuable Customized Content
Now that you have the data about the functioning of these accounts, it’s time to get in contact with the stakeholders. While developing personalized content for these prospects, it is important to understand the specific pain points of stakeholders and demonstrate how your brand can solve their problems. Design and sales teams ensure that the content is visually appealing and also puts across the right messages to the stakeholders.
The personalization of website content is important as account-based marketing is set on the principles of personalizing relations with each account. The content developed for each target organization speaks particularly to them. Given that ABM campaigns need to deliver a high conversion rate, marketers create account-specific landing pages on their website. These pages display custom copy, forms, images, and offers, depending on the individual or account that is visiting the page.
- Select Channels for Campaigns
It is equally important for marketers to make use of the right channels for their ABM campaign. Marketers know where the stakeholders of specific accounts spend the majority of their online time, and their state of mind when they are online on such social platforms. Facebook and LinkedIn are valuable platforms for the targeting of such stakeholders as they allow marketing campaigns that appeal to specific organizations and also to specific designations within them.
While Facebook allows marketers to deep dive into organizations by allowing the search of employees in a particular company and by designation, LinkedIn provides marketers with the options of running an account-based marketing campaign and targeting by professional demographics, among other such features.
- Measure Results
After the campaign has been implemented for a month or two, it’s time to measure and analyze the effectiveness of the campaign. Marketers ask themselves questions of significant importance such as the following.
- Was the personalized content engaging?
- Are the prospects more engaged with your organization?
- Is your brand being introduced to more stakeholders within these accounts?
- Did any of these prospects progress down the sales funnel?
- Did the campaign generate any revenue?
- Are there any areas of improvement?
The analysis of these results shows brands the gaps that are present in their process and provides a window of opportunity to rectify the mistakes. These highlighted gaps can be used by brands to redefine their strategy and improve the overall process. This, in turn, enhances the business strategy of the company and the teams involved in the ABM campaign.
Account-based marketing is an uber-personalized marketing method that looks to focus a brand’s marketing efforts on a small number of high-value accounts that could potentially add a larger revenue than multiple other low-value accounts. This stepwise implementation guide is focused on brands that want to market smart rather than hard and leverage account-based marketing in a bid to ultimately increase their ROI.