While account-based marketing (ABM) is not a new concept, the limitations the pandemic has placed on traditional marketing tactics combined with evolving technology that helps companies scale ABM campaigns has put a spotlight on this highly targeted marketing approach. It’s now a trending topic in marketing podcasts, discussion forums, and virtual conferences and many companies are doubling down on ABM.
ABM is all about focusing your marketing efforts on targeted accounts who are most likely to buy your products or services. When done well and applied to the right scenario, ABM can create efficiencies in your marketing organization and deliver faster, more targeted results than broad-based approaches. But it’s not a one-size-fits-all tactic and there are some prerequisites to success. Thinking of getting started with ABM? Here are three key considerations to work through before jumping in.
1. How much do you know about your target accounts?
The success of your ABM initiatives hinges on what you know about your selected accounts and the specific target audiences within those accounts. To know who to engage, you’ll need to understand the company’s decision-making process and how key groups in the organization are structured. To create a relevant and compelling message, you’ll need to know their pain points, goals, and professional interests. And to be able to reach them, you’ll need to know their contact information, the media channels they engage in, or other ways to interact with them.
Maybe you’re targeting a new division at an account you’re already engaged with and you already have some details about the company structure, needs, and pain points. Maybe you have a database full of contacts or even a champion in the account who can help. More likely, though, you’ll need to roll up your sleeves and do some digging to get the information you need. In any case, information gathering is a critical first step to any ABM campaign.
2. Do you have the tools to effectively execute an ABM campaign?
Data is the currency of any ABM initiative. Having the ability to segment your database, identify activity and engagement from contacts at your key accounts, and customize your communication are key to executing ABM activities. These tools allow you to evaluate what’s working, identify and act on buying signals, and execute multi-faceted, custom campaigns at scale.
There are countless ABM tools out there, and even several full ABM platforms, that can help you execute every aspect of your campaign from targeted email sequences to ad buys to capturing intent signals from your contacts long after they leave your site. But for those of you just getting started with ABM, you probably already have the two most essential tools: a CRM that allows you to customize your database and maintains detailed contact records and marketing automation software that allows you to customize and schedule communication and provides detailed Web analytics.
This email nurture workflow built with HubSpot is an example of marketing automation in action.
3. Is sales on board?
ABM straddles marketing and sales, and the success of your program depends on sales being onboard and involved. During the planning phase, sales' insights into these accounts, or accounts like them, is crucial to building out your contact lists and providing insights into the account for message development. During execution, consistent messaging and coordinated follow up between the two groups will help create an aligned customer journey that will increase conversion and close rates. And all along the way, marketing and sales should be working toward shared success metrics set and agreed upon from the start.
Success metrics for ABM efforts will be different than traditional marketing metrics, as the focus is on value rather than volume. Instead of Web traffic, you’ll be looking to measure actual engagement working toward lower-in-the-funnel metrics like meetings set or revenue impact.
Does your company check the box on these three AMB prerequisites? Then it’s time to get started. As you are figuring out what works best to engage your target accounts, start small, focus on educating rather than promotion, and be ready and willing to adjust your messaging and tactics based on analytics to get the results you are looking for.
Need help? Contact us if you’d like a partner in developing your ABM strategy, building out an ABM campaign, or executing on ABM activities.