Long-term success in any business is built on relationships. If you want to build a successful company, it’s essential that your marketing strategy be focused and goal oriented. Account-based Marketing (ABM) is a modern approach that allows businesses to cultivate long-term relationships with their customers by focusing on select targets audience or ‘accounts’ for an organization’s products and services. These accounts are usually broken down into tiers which each tier having a specific focus and goal for the company. Learn more about this innovative approach and how it can help your business succeed!
What Is Account-Based Marketing?
Account-based marketing (ABM) is a modern marketing strategy that is used by companies who want to cultivate long-term relationship with their customer. ABM is different from other marketing strategies because it focuses on selecting and prioritizing targets audience, or ‘accounts’ for an organization’s products and services. These accounts are usually broken down into tiers, with each tier having a specific focus and goal for the company.
It was designed so that organizations could understand their customers better by focusing on what matters most to them. Marketing campaigns are then tailored to suit these needs and tiers are selected depending on the value these accounts could provide to the organization in terms of earnings and growth potentials. Read more about what ABM is, its benefits, and the different components of this new strategy in this comprehensive guide.
Many companies assume that ABM is an extension of traditional marketing strategies like SEO, content marketing, social media marketing, etc. This is a wrong assumption because it’s actually so much more than combining these basic marketing tools you’re already using.
ABM is a comprehensive strategy that combines and utilizes all the marketing tools in your arsenal. And because each account has its own unique persona, it is best to utilize a combination of techniques that are highly tailored to this specific audience’s wants, needs, and behaviors.
Just like when you’re creating an ABM campaign for your target audience, you need to have a specific goal, objective and path that will lead you to reach your target. This process is the foundation for all effective ABM strategies in any industry because it’s what drives revenue growth and customer loyalty for companies.
With an understanding of how to use ABM effectively, small or large businesses can be able to turn their marketing strategies into a valuable tool that can strengthen relationships with the right accounts.
Why Is Account-Based Marketing Good For Business?
No company can exist without a strong, healthy relationship with its customers. This is why companies are always on the lookout for new ways to interact and engage with their target audience in hopes of creating lasting relationships, not just transactions.
Today’s consumers aren’t so much interested in what products or services you have to offer as they are about how it can benefit them. Consumers want to know how your product or service can change their life, make things easier for them, and give them a leg up on everyone else who is just trying to survive in today’s dog-eat-dog world that requires long work hours and constant competition with one’s peers.
As such, it only makes sense that companies would invest in a marketing strategy that focuses on developing relationships with their customers by exploring what they want and need, listening to them when they speak (read: provide feedback), and engaging with them in ways that are beneficial for both parties.
In the past century or so, marketing strategies have gone through several transformations from only focusing on publicizing products and services, to now trying to cultivate relationships with customers. With the recent advancement of technology and social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn etc., marketing strategies have taken a giant leap forward in the effort to engage with one’s target audience.
The latest version of this strategy is referred to as Account-Based Marketing or ABM
Benefits Of Account-Based Marketing
Account-Based Marketing (ABM) was originally used by large enterprise companies but is now being adopted by even small businesses. Over the past few years, ABM has quickly become one of the most effective and reliable marketing strategies to utilize for long-term success in a competitive market.
Account Based Marketing (ABM) can use a variety of techniques to direct your business’ desired results. However, there are 5 specific benefits that you’ll experience when utilizing an ABM approach:
Targeted leads : You’re no longer wasting time and money advertising and pitching your products and services to potential customers that are either uninterested in what you have to offer or simply won’t be a good fit for your organization. Instead, ABM will provide you with only the leads that have expressed interest in your product or service by developing a relationship with them.
Benefit: Less wasted marketing efforts means more time, energy and money spent on leads that will be more likely to convert into customers.
Cost-Effective Targeting : The advertising costs associated with ABM is usually less than 50% of what it would cost if you tried to advertise directly to every single person your business targets.
Benefit: Less money wasted means more profits for the organization!
Improved customer satisfaction : The use of ABM is the best way to foster loyalty with your customers. Use this strategy to connect the right people with your organization, and you will begin building a strong relationship that can lead to long-lasting customer satisfaction.
Benefit: Your organization will start seeing repeat customers because one of your most important goals in an ABM strategy is to proactively identify and target customers that are likely to become repeat customers.
Increase brand awareness : In an increasingly competitive market, ABM is the best way to spread your message and increase brand awareness. Your targeted accounts will be aware of your organization’s presence because you’ll be personally reaching out to them directly.
Benefit: Increased brand awareness leads to loyal and satisfied customers!
Multi-channel marketing: The use of multiple sales channels is one of the most important components of an ABM strategy. This will allow you to reach your targeted accounts through various mediums, including but not limited to email, social media, direct mail and phone calls.
Benefit: It’s difficult for your targeted accounts to ignore you if they are receiving messages through a variety of channels (email, direct mail, phone calls etc.), which makes it easier for them to become customers!
The Account-Based Marketing strategy will prove to be one of the most effective marketing strategies available. Although utilizing this method will require more time and energy than what is required by traditional marketing, the benefits will make it worth investing in!
Account-Based Marketing Strategies
Use Targeted Email Marketing
One of the most effective tactics for ABM is targeted email marketing. Through working with email providers, a company can send specific and segmented messages to key audiences. This can be a huge benefit because it allows companies to showcase their latest products and offers that are relevant to the audience they want to connect with. For example, by sending timely emails to prospects interested in your services, you may be able to convert those leads into customers more quickly.
In addition to email marketing, retargeting is one of the best ways to reach your target audience where they already are: online! Retargeting helps you get your message in front of people who have already visited your website without being too pushy. If someone is unsure about a specific product, retargeting lets you show them your company’s webpages without being overly intrusive or spammy.
This tactic should be used sparingly as it can quickly irritate users and turn them away from your brand. However, if done correctly, ABM could benefit greatly from this marketing strategy.
Create a Social Media Presence by Using LinkedIn
Companies that are starting out with ABM may be confused about where to begin when it comes to social media strategy. One of the most effective ways to get your name out there and connect with potential leads is by creating a presence on LinkedIn. Through this platform, you can showcase your company’s latest offerings and engage with users who may have an interest in what you have to offer. You can also use LinkedIn’s robust search tool to find potential leads and research prospects.
ABM companies that are using this strategy will want to ensure that they create a profile on the site, but avoid competing with other company pages unless it is absolutely necessary.
Similar to LinkedIn, you can use a tool like Followerwonk to conduct social media searches on Twitter. It will allow you to search for your target audience’s interests and connections in order to find specific leads who may be interested in what your company has to offer.
This can also be a good way of finding influencers within an industry and using their reach to extend your own brand.
Video Marketing Plays an Important Role in Account-Based Marketing
Video marketing is one of the best ways to connect with prospects who are looking for information about your business, products and services. This gives you a chance to show off your expertise by providing valuable insight into what makes your company unique.
Video marketing doesn’t have to be complicated, either. In fact, companies that are doing ABM will want to keep their videos short and sweet. Because prospects are more likely to watch a one-minute video than they are a long sales pitch. Videos should also showcase the products you offer as well as the benefits of using them.
There are tons of tools out there to help you create great video content. For example, with a tool like Wistia or Animoto, you can produce and edit videos without needing any advanced skills.
If you’re looking for something a little more affordable, Camtasia or Snagit are easy-to-use programs that will help you create professional videos.
Whether it’s a video on the products or services that your company has to offer, product walkthroughs or useful tips and tricks, a well-produced video can help you connect with potential customers and turn leads into sales.
Deliver the same high-quality customer experience every time they interact with your brand, even if it’s online, offline or on a mobile device.
Delivering the same high-quality customer experience every time they interact with your brand, even if it’s online, offline or on a mobile device is a powerful account-based marketing strategy. For brands that have been around for decades, it may be difficult to keep up with technological advances to maintain an exceptionally high standard of customer service. However, for companies such as The Walt Disney Company who understand the importance of delivering a strong customer experience across multiple platforms, it’s not difficult at all.
Disney is known for their world renowned customer service and is always looking for new ways to cater to customers whether they are in person, on social media or interacting with them via email. Disney has even gone so far as to release videos about their service in order to help other businesses learn from their best practices.
Another way that brands are ensuring that they’re providing a top notch experience is by analyzing what customers want and need and using this information to determine how they’ll interact with them in the future.
For example, retail giant Amazon knows exactly what users of their platform are looking for when they search for a product. They’ve even created algorithms that predict what their users are looking for before they actually know it themselves.
Although this may seem like futuristic technology, you can achieve the same type of experience with your own ABM strategy.
Measure your return on investment
In the world of Account-Based Marketing, it’s very important that you’re able to accurately measure your ROI. One way to do this is by using a tool like Google Analytics.
By setting up goals on your website and other digital properties, you can track how many people landed on your page or downloaded an ebook after clicking through from one of your social media posts.
Using tools like Google Analytics and Hubspot, you can also see how many leads were generated from an event or a piece of content that you posted online. This information will show you whether your marketing is driving qualified leads to your sales funnel and which aspects are most successful at attracting customers and converting them into buyers.
Be careful not to rely solely on digital tools though, as they may not be able to give you a complete picture of how your customers are engaging with your brand. For example, if someone is calling into your support center or attending an in-person event, this data won’t necessarily show up on these types of tools.
An easy way to overcome this issue is by using a CRM tool such as Salesforce. Salesforce allows you to keep track of and analyze every interaction that your customers have with your brand, no matter where it takes place.
Salesforce allows you to customize fields so that each one has the information that’s most important to tracking your ROI in Account-Based Marketing.
You can track whether a lead was generated from your website, email marketing campaign or an event and even see how many leads you’ve generated through each channel. This will allow you to get a clear understanding of which outreach tactics are working and what you need to do in the future to convert more of those leads into paying customers.
Using a CRM tool like Salesforce is another way to accurately measure your ROI on Account-Based Marketing.
Understand each stage of the buying process
In addition to being able to track various points in the sales funnel, it’s also important that you understand which stages of the buying cycle your targeted accounts are in. This will allow you to deliver the most relevant information to each stage.
To do this, you need to figure out which activities are taking place for each contact in your ABM database. For example, if one of your contacts has browsed your website and downloaded a whitepaper but hasn’t yet engaged with any sales staff or submitted their information, it’s reasonable to assume that they’re still in the information gathering stage of their buying cycle.
It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on which prospects are moving through each stage and when. If you notice that it’s taking them longer than usual to move from one stage to another, there may be something going on in their business that needs your attention.
For example, if you notice that one of your targets is taking longer than usual to convert into a lead, this could mean they’re experiencing problems with their business or team and need help navigating these challenges. Learn more about the Account Based Marketing (ABM) process by reading this article from Salesforce .
Encourage Marketing and Sales to work together more, by creating account plans.
Marketing and sales teams should work together when developing account-based marketing plans. This is because they are two departments that serve the same company’s needs. With both teams working in unison, you can make sure that all your ABM activities support one another.
How to integrate marketing and sales with account-based marketing strategies
1) Define the company’s target accounts
2) Define your go-to-market strategy for each of these accounts
3) Work out how you’re going to measure account impact using the marketing and sales teams.
Get new leads from your data and nurture them with active prospecting
One of the most significant benefits of account-based marketing is that it drastically decreases the amount of time it takes a company to get new leads. It does this by helping companies quickly identify their top accounts, and therefore name the best prospects for their products or services.
When starting an account-based marketing plan you will need to be able to find out which organizations are good candidates for your product or service, and are more likely to be interested in what you offer. There is a myriad of ways that you can do this, but only one of the most effective approaches to get new leads – prospecting through your data.
How many companies should be on an account plan?
It’s not suggested that every product or service has its own account-based marketing plan. Instead, companies should focus on creating an ABM strategy for accounts that are high potential and need the most attention.
A thorough account-based marketing campaign involves a lot of different activities, which means it can be time consuming to create one. This is particularly important if your company has limited resources. One way to make sure that you’re only using valuable time and resources on what’s needed is by creating a finite list of important accounts.
The difference between target, key, and niche accounts
Target account: These are the companies which you have selected as being best for your product or service. Target accounts tend to be involved in more complex buying processes than other types of account.
Key account: These are the accounts that are important to your business, but not as significant as target accounts. They’re usually larger companies and/or competitors to your products or services.
Niche account: These are the types of accounts that you focus on once you have achieved a certain level of success with your target and key accounts. Niche accounts are usually smaller companies.
Before you start to work on your account-based marketing strategy, it’s important that you define which type of account they are. This will help you identify the right set of lead scoring and filtering methods for each one, in addition to letting you know what methods will be ineffective when dealing with them.
What to do if your target accounts don’t fit the criteria for ABM campaign.
If you’re starting out with account-based marketing, it is likely that you will only be able to include a limited number of companies on your initial list of target accounts. This is fine, as long as these are really worthwhile leads – but what happens if there is one that simply doesn’t meet the criteria for an ABM campaign?
The answer: Don’t include them. Instead, develop a plan on how you’re going to convert your top prospects into customers. This way you can still develop relationships with these target accounts without causing too much disruption in your account based marketing strategy. How to use buyer personas to build account-based marketing strategies
B2B purchasing decision and account based marketing
From the supplier’s perspective, it is not uncommon to have a purchasing committee that gathers input from various groups within the customer organization. For example: The Marketing Department might be influential in whether or not your product/solution will be part of their budget; Finance could decide if you are on track with your financial projections; Engineering could determine that a Product Spec is good enough for them to evaluate; and Operations/Maintenance could be hoping your product/solution will reduce their maintenance costs.
In the lead-up to a purchasing decision, market research (if any) has been done and all stakeholders have a chance to voice their opinions about what they would like from you: features, delivery date, and price. You have had your sales team working hard on their relationship with the purchasing committee as well as keeping an ear to the ground to find out what is important to them.
So what do you need to know about getting a B2B agreement signed?
1) The key stakeholders – who has influence over the purchasing decision?
You know you have to do your thorough preparation of the sales cycle and identify who is involved in making the purchasing decisions. But what type of information do you need in order to engage them as part of this process?
2) The key metrics – how will they measure their decision?
When a senior executive is making a purchasing decision, they will usually want to optimize some form of return on investment. It could be Return-on-Investment (ROI), Earnings per Share (EPS), or another metric that is important to them so that they can see the value in moving forward with your solution. Salespeople will often ask for their metrics of choice right at the start of a sales cycle, but it is often important to find out what metrics are most important to them from the outset.
3) The key benefits – how will they determine if your solution meets their metrics?
Just as they have determined what form of return on investment is most important, you need to understand how they plan to measure success against each one of those metrics.
4) The key decision-maker – who makes the final decision?
In a typical B2B purchase, there will be many stakeholders involved and, usually, not all are able to buy in together (as part of a package deal). But on who does the final decision rest? Whose voice will be the most influential or important in the purchase decision?
5) The key financials – how much are they willing to spend and over what period of time?
It is rare that a company can purchase anything without a budget, so it is important to know what their budget allows for and/or whether they are willing to look at making an investment over a longer period of time.
Knowing the answers to the above will help your sales process (the next step). But how do you go about finding out all these facts? As the buyer, it may be difficult to find this information out from people within your organization who have influence in the purchasing decision. As the salesperson, you need to gain access to the information that will help you build a stronger case for your solution and be able to connect with at least the key metrics (if not all of them).
LinkedIn Marketing Solutions for account-based marketing
Lately, I’ve noticed many of my clients are using LinkedIn for account-based marketing.
There’s a good reason for it: LinkedIn is a great place to meet and engage with prospects. It should be part of any B2B marketer’s arsenal! About 45% of all professionals on the platform say they’re more likely to buy from a company that’s active on LinkedIn.
The new “LinkedIn Marketing Solutions” for account-based marketing aims to help you connect with your target audience – and convert them into leads and customers – in just a few clicks.
In conclusion, the article you’ve just read is meant to explore how Account-Based Marketing (ABM) can be used as a modern marketing strategy. It focuses on selecting and prioritizing targets audience—or accounts for an organization’s products and services. These account are usually broken down into tiers, with each tier having a specific focus and goal for the company. We hope that this guide has been helpful in understanding what ABM is, why it works so well, and how you can implement these strategies in your own business! If you need help implementing any of these principles or changing up your current campaign structure please feel free to contact our team of experts at anytime!