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The Guide to Account Based Marketing (ABM)

Imagine a world where you can target specific accounts with tailored marketing messages that give you a high return on investment and enhance your customer relationships.
The Guide to Account Based Marketing (ABM)

Imagine a world where you can target specific accounts with tailored marketing messages that give you a high return on investment and enhance your customer relationships.

This world is no longer just a dream; it is the reality of account-based marketing (ABM).

While most companies and businesses use traditional marketing to reach more customers at once, ABM targets specific key accounts that are most likely to benefit from your product or service.

If you are unfamiliar with ABM, this guide is a comprehensive introduction to the practice and will help you understand how it works and why it is such an effective marketing strategy.

What Is Account-based Marketing?

In marketing, companies can use many approaches to target their audience. One such approach is account-based marketing, which is a strategy that focuses on key accounts instead of individual leads.

This type of marketing can be beneficial for a variety of reasons. We will be discussing the benefits in more detail later on.

B2B marketers and sales teams use ABM to target specific key accounts to increase revenue.

While most marketing strategies focus on volume, ABM focuses on quality. This means that you’re targeting a smaller number of high-value accounts with tailored messaging and personalised content instead of trying to reach as many people as possible.

Nurturing a customer relationship involves getting to know their business, what they need help with, and any pain points they currently have.

With this understanding, your company can create a marketing strategy specifically for them.

Key Elements of ABM

ABM marketing involves three main elements.

1. Targeting

To be successful, account-based marketing requires a deep understanding of your target market. You have to know who your ideal customer is and which specific accounts are most likely to convert.

Fortunately, there are several tools available that can help with this.

For example, LinkedIn has a tool that allows you to see which companies have viewed your profile. This can be a valuable way to gauge interest levels and ensure that you're targeting the right accounts.

In addition, many other tools can help you research your target market and identify key decision-makers within specific accounts.

With the right tools, you'll be well on your way to success with account-based marketing.

2. Engagement and Execution

Once you've identified your key accounts, it's time to engage with them. This is where you'll need to get creative with your messaging and content strategy.

The goal is to create a relationship with the account that goes beyond simply selling them your product or service.

Instead, you want to become a trusted resource they can rely on for advice and information.

To do this, you'll need to create relevant and valuable content for the account. This could include blog posts, infographics, e-books, or video content.

Whatever form it takes, your content should be designed to help the account achieve its goals. In addition, you'll need to be active on social media and other online channels where the account is present.

Omnichannel marketing is also an important consideration.

This type of marketing involves creating a unified experience across all channels, such as email, social media, and in-person meetings. This helps to ensure that your message is consistent and engaging.

3. Measurement

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are essential for any marketing strategy, and ABM is no different. You need to measure the success of your account-based marketing efforts so that you can adjust your plan accordingly.

Examples of KPIs include engagement metrics, website traffic from target accounts, and conversions from targeted campaigns.

By tracking these metrics, you'll be able to assess the effectiveness of your ABM strategy and make any necessary changes.

You'll also be able to track the ROI of your efforts and determine whether they are worth the investment.

5 Benefits of ABM To Keep in Mind

There are five primary benefits your company will experience when you start utilising ABM.

1. Increased ROI

The phrase "quality over quantity" definitely applies to marketing.

ABM is a strategy that takes this principle to heart by targeting a smaller number of high-value accounts. This approach allows you to create custom campaigns that are much more likely to resonate with your target audience.

In addition, because you're not spreading your resources too thin, you can invest more time and energy into making each campaign as effective as possible. This can lead to a higher ROI than if you were using a more traditional approach.

2. Improved Customer Relationships

Every business knows that key accounts are essential for success. These customers buy in high volumes, and their loyalty can be crucial to a company's bottom line.

However, selling them a product or service is not enough to build a lasting relationship.

Instead, businesses can take a more holistic approach like account-based marketing (ABM). ABM allows you to consider each key account's unique needs and tailor your marketing strategy accordingly.

You can create a strong relationship that will last for years by building a customised plan for each key account.

In today's competitive market, ABM is essential for any business that wants to develop long-term relationships with its key accounts.

3. Better Marketing and Sales Alignment

Marketing and sales need to be well-aligned for a business to be successful. Unfortunately, this is often easier said than done.

ABM can help bridge the gap between marketing and sales by providing clear goals and objectives that both teams can work towards.

This ensures everyone is on the same page regarding reaching key accounts and creating an effective strategy.

In addition, ABM allows both teams to collaborate more effectively by providing a unified platform for communication and feedback.

4. Reduced Sales Cycle

Traditional sales tactics like cold calling and emailing can be time-consuming and inefficient. You spend a lot of time reaching out to people who may not even be interested in what you're selling.

With ABM, however, you can focus your efforts on specific companies that are more likely to be interested in your product or service. This makes creating targeted messages and campaigns easier and leads to better results.

In addition, ABM can help you build relationships with key decision-makers within each target company. This will make it much easier to close deals and reduce the sales cycle.

5. Measurable Results

As we mentioned earlier, KPIs are essential for any successful marketing strategy. With traditional approaches, it's often difficult to measure the success of your efforts due to a lack of data.

ABM, however, provides you with detailed analytics that allow you to track the performance of each campaign. It is much easier to determine which initiatives are effective and which need improvement.

With a clear understanding of your metrics, you can adjust your strategy to maximise your success.

Additionally, ABM helps you to identify any opportunities or threats that may arise quickly. This allows you to take action immediately and ensure your campaigns remain effective.

Should I Consider ABM for My Business?

If you're thinking about whether or not account-based marketing is right for your business, there are a few factors to consider.

First, what is your current marketing strategy?

If you're already using inbound marketing techniques like content marketing and lead generation, then ABM could complement your existing efforts.

On the other hand, if you don't have an established marketing strategy, ABM might be a good place to start.

Another thing to think about is your target market. ABM can effectively reach your ideal customers if you have a small or niche market.

However, if your target market is large and general, ABM might not be the best use of your resources.

You'll also need to consider your sales cycle. ABM can be helpful at any sales cycle stage, but it's generally most effective when targeting decision-makers at large organisations.

If you're selling products or services that require a long sales cycle, ABM can help you speed up the process by directly targeting key decision-makers.

Ultimately, whether or not ABM is right for your business depends on your specific situation.

Companies who are currently experiencing the following challenges might consider implementing ABM:

  • Difficulty generating high-quality leads
  • Poor marketing and sales alignment
  • Long sales cycles

If you're having any of these issues, it could be time to try account-based marketing.

The Process of Implementing ABM

If you've decided that ABM is the right move for your business, the next step is planning and implementing your strategy. The process of account-based marketing can be broken down into the following steps.

1. Make Sure To Include the Right People

A successful ABM strategy starts with the right team. Everyone from marketing to sales must be on board and ready to collaborate.

Ensure that everyone is aware of the goals and objectives of the ABM strategy.

Marketing should then create targeted lists of potential accounts and create tailored content.

Sales should focus on building relationships with key decision-makers within those accounts.

It's not enough for sales and marketing to work in silos — everyone will need to come together to share ideas, resources, and best practices.

Only by working together can the team hope to achieve success.

2. Identify Target Accounts

Research is essential to effective sales and marketing, and nowhere is this more true than when trying to identify target accounts.

By taking the time to research potential companies, you can create a list of accounts that are more likely to be interested in your product or service.

This process begins by identifying key characteristics of your ideal customer, such as industry, company size, or location.

Once you understand your target customer, you can start researching specific companies that fit that profile.

This research should include an analysis of each company's needs and buying habits. With this information in hand, you'll be able to craft tailored messages and campaigns that are much more likely to resonate with your target accounts.

With ABM, the more information you have about your target accounts, the better.

3. Create Buyer Personas

Once you've identified your target accounts, it’s time to create buyer personas. Buyer personas are fictional representations of your target customers and can help you better understand how to communicate with them.

When creating buyer personas, you should consider the customer's needs, goals, preferences, and challenges. You should also identify decision-makers within the company and how to best reach them.

Decision-makers can be powerful allies in any ABM campaign, so it's essential to take the time to understand their needs and how best to reach them.

By understanding your buyer personas, you'll be able to craft tailored messages that will resonate with them and encourage them to make purchases.

4. Organise Your Strategy and Content

Organising your ABM strategy is essential to its success. You'll need to decide which channels are best for reaching your target accounts and how often you should send messages.

File-sharing tools can help you keep track of all your content and ensure that everyone on the team is up-to-date. Dropbox and Google Drive are great options for this, as they allow you to set up folders and share content with the rest of your team.

Meanwhile, communication channels and project management tools like Slack and Asana can help ensure that everyone is on the same page.

Skipping this crucial step can lead to poor coordination and wasted time, so it's essential to ensure that you have a well-organised strategy in place.

5. Create Content

Once your strategy is in place, it's time to move on to content creation.

Your content should be tailored to the interests of your target accounts and focus on solving their particular problems and challenges.

Consider the types of content that best meets their needs, such as whitepapers, case studies, webinars, or videos.

Once your content is ready, you can begin distributing it through the channels that make the most sense for reaching your target accounts.

There are various places where you can distribute ABM content online, including social media, LinkedIn groups, and forums relevant to your industry. It's important to consider where your target audience is active online and make sure you're present in those places.

In addition, you'll want to make sure your website is optimised for ABM, with clear calls to action that drive visitors to take action.

Offline, there are also several options for distributing ABM content.

Trade shows and conferences can be great places to connect with potential customers and distribute content.

Additionally, account-based direct mail can be an effective way to reach critical decision-makers with your message.

6. Launch and Monitor Your Campaign

Now that you have your content and strategy, it's time to launch your ABM campaign.

Make sure to monitor the effectiveness of your campaigns by tracking metrics such as website traffic, open rates, click-throughs, and conversions.

These metrics will help you identify what's working (and what's not) so that you can adjust your campaigns accordingly.

Additionally, tracking engagement over time will help you better understand how your campaigns perform in the long run so you can make adjustments as needed.

It’s best to look at metrics such as customer lifetime value and profitability to determine whether or not your campaigns are worth the effort.

By tracking these metrics, you'll be able to ensure that your ABM campaigns are delivering results and helping you reach your goals.

Different Types of ABM Marketing

While the core strategies of ABM remain the same, there are several different types of ABM marketing that you can use to target specific accounts

Here are a few of the most common types of ABM marketing:

  • Strategic ABM: This one-to-one approach focuses on high-value accounts and involves a deep level of personalization. The sales, marketing, and even customer success teams can upsell and cross-sell to the target account and provide them with a comprehensive customer experience. This approach is more of a hyper-targeted, long-term strategy.

  • ABM Lite: Also known as one-to-few ABM, this strategy is tailor-made for companies targeting similar messages to multiple accounts. It permits more customization than traditional mass marketing and helps construct relationships rapidly. Companies with leeway in their marketing budgets can often take advantage of this approach.

  • Programmatic ABM: One-to-many programmatic ABM is the most automated approach to ABM. It involves targeting multiple accounts simultaneously with a largely automated process that includes personalization and optimization. This type of marketing can be especially effective when scaling your efforts quickly. Tools such as Marketo, Terminus, and Engagio can help you execute programmatic ABM.

It's essential to keep in mind that each company will want to achieve different things through ABM. Not every approach to ABM will be practical for every business, so it's crucial to evaluate what would work best for you based on your goals.

5 Mistakes To Avoid When Running an ABM Campaign

As with any form of marketing, there are potential pitfalls regarding ABM.

Since ABM campaigns can be expensive to launch and maintain, paying attention to every detail is essential. Here are five mistakes to avoid when running an ABM campaign.

1. Working in Silos

Often, marketing and sales teams operate in silos, which can lead to issues when running an ABM campaign. One of the main problems that can arise is a lack of communication between the two departments.

Without regular communication, it can be challenging to align objectives and strategies, resulting in an inefficient and ineffective campaign.

Additionally, silos can lead to a lack of cooperation and coordination between team members, which can further hamper the success of an ABM initiative.

To avoid these problems, it is essential to foster a culture of collaboration and communication between marketing and sales.

By working closely, teams can better understand each other's goals and objectives, leading to a more successful ABM campaign.

2. Not Prioritising Data and Research

As any marketer knows, data is essential for making informed decisions about your target market and developing effective strategies.

However, data collection and research can be time-consuming and expensive, so it's essential to prioritise these activities.

One way to do this is to focus on collecting data that will impact your ABM campaign.

For example, if you're trying to reach senior decision-makers at large companies, you'll need to collect data about the specific challenges these individuals face and the types of content they're most likely to consume.

Ideal customer profile (ICP) data can also be incredibly helpful when creating an effective ABM campaign. This is a list of the attributes that make up your ideal customer, and it can be used to create highly personalised campaigns.

3. Using the Wrong Channels To Reach Your Audience

Every audience is different and requires a unique approach to reach them effectively. This is essentially the same for ABM campaigns.

Not every channel or medium will be effective when targeting your desired accounts, so it's important to research and test different channels before settling on one.

To start, focus on the channels that are most likely to connect with the people you're trying to reach.

For example, if you're trying to target senior decision-makers at large enterprises, LinkedIn could be an excellent place to start.

However, if you're trying to target small businesses, Facebook might be a better option.

The key is experimenting with different channels and seeing what works best for your target audience.

Once you've found a channel that works, you can experiment with different messaging and creative approaches to improve your results further.

4. Failing To Personalise the Campaign

The whole point of an account-based marketing campaign is to target specific accounts with highly personalised messages.

However, many marketers fail to personalise their campaigns and instead rely on generic messaging that is not tailored to the needs of the account they're trying to reach.

This can be a costly mistake, as account-based marketing requires a higher investment than other marketing strategies.

To be successful, marketers need to take the time to understand the specific needs of their target accounts and craft messages that will resonate with decision-makers.

Only then can they hope to generate the results that justify the added cost of an account-based marketing campaign.

This is why a buyer's persona is so crucial for ABM campaigns. By understanding the roles, responsibilities, and interests of the people you're trying to reach, you can craft messages that are more likely to get their attention.

5. Failing To Prioritise Accounts

Account-based marketing requires a higher investment than other marketing strategies, so it's important to prioritise the accounts that are most likely to produce results.

You can focus on the highest potential return on investment by segmenting your target audience into high-value, mid-level, and low-value accounts. This will help you maximise your results while minimising costs.

Once you've identified the accounts that have the highest potential, it's time to create a strategy for engaging them. This could involve targeted emails, personalised content, or even direct mail campaigns.

No matter your channels and tactics, make sure they're tailored to each account's needs.

Tools You Can Use To Start Your ABM Campaign

One of the most difficult aspects of account-based marketing is getting started. However, you can use a few tools to streamline the process and make it simpler to get going quickly.

Below are a few of the most popular tools you can use to start your ABM campaigns:

  • Marketo: is a powerful marketing automation platform that helps you automate and optimise your ABM campaigns. You can use it to create personalised campaigns for your target accounts, track their performance, and measure the ROI of your efforts.

  • HubSpot: is a fully integrated platform with tools to facilitate both inbound and account-based marketing strategies. HubSpot makes personalization easy, making it an attractive option for ABM campaigns. Workflow templates are also available to streamline your campaigns.

  • Vainu: SMEs looking for an account-based marketing platform should consider Vainu. It combines powerful lead generation, data intelligence, and personalization tools to help you reach your target accounts faster than ever.

  • Triblio: Discover, engage, and convert your target accounts and prospects with Triblio's account-based marketing platform. Multichannel campaigns are easy to create and manage, allowing you to start reaching your target accounts quickly.

These are just a few tools available for account-based marketing campaigns. It's essential to research and find the right tool for your needs to maximise the success of your ABM campaigns in 2023.

Final Thoughts

Do you have an ABM strategy in place? If not, it’s time to start thinking about how you can implement one. The benefits are clear, and the potential ROI is too good to pass up.

However, investing more money into ABM campaigns is not enough. You also have to ensure your team is appropriately trained and ready to execute all of the nuances of account-based marketing.

Ultimately, success comes from understanding your customers and connecting with them on an emotional level.

If you have the correct tools and plans, you can achieve any goal you set for yourself in 2023 and beyond.

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