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ABM 101: Intro to Account-Based Marketing

Nick Berghane
June 24, 2019 6 MIN Blog

Account-Based Marketing, or ABM, continues to be a trending topic among B2B marketers across the industry. It’s not a new term, but many companies are still figuring out how to incorporate ABM strategies into their marketing efforts. In some ways, ABM is the opposite of traditional B2B marketing.

Rather than taking a broad-stroke, widely targeted approach, ABM is focused on extracting the most value out of your marketing efforts by adding personalization into the marketing formula. ABM will not replace traditional B2B marketing in your organization, but it will help your sales and marketing teams coordinate their efforts to produce more effective marketing campaigns and generate data-driven results – and most importantly, accelerate your pipeline and increase revenue.

By incorporating personalized, targeted content developed specifically for the accounts you want to reach, ABM can help you generate more data, more revenue, and will make it easier to share the results of your efforts across your organization.

What is Account-Based Marketing?

ABM is becoming an essential marketing strategy for businesses across the globe. Every marketer needs to understand the basic tactics and strategies of ABM before they can implement their own program and start reaping the benefits.

 “Account-based marketing is not a tactic, it’s not a technology. It’s a change in mindset, and it’s a strategic discipline that allows us to take a prescriptive approach to the accounts that matter most in a way that increases relevance and specificity in our engagements. When we do that, it helps provide a better buying and customer experience, and tighter alignment with sales.”- SiriusDecisions

In order to reach the lofty results that ABM is capable of, your organization needs to embrace it across the board – the executives, customer success, product, and sales teams all need to be on board. B2B marketing has been all about a wide-reaching approach in the past, but ABM is all about identifying the key stakeholders within your target accounts and personalizing your marketing efforts to increase ROI across the board. This isn’t just a top of the funnel effort – it’s a consistent approach to personalizing marketing efforts throughout the buyer journey.

How Do You Get Started with ABM?

ABM has been proven to be a successful method for generating greater ROI from B2B marketing efforts. ABM is perfect for organizations that are targeting a small- or large-scale market, and it helps to focus marketing efforts on the accounts that matter most for companies of all sizes. Smaller companies may not have access to a tech stack that can take full advantage of all that ABM has to offer, but that just means that they will have to grow into it. It can actually be easier to see the impact of ABM efforts at a smaller company in certain cases.

Identify the Accounts You Want to Target

Step one to implementing a successful ABM strategy is identifying the specific accounts that you want to target. ABM marketers can identify their target accounts effectively by working together with sales to gather insights and intent data in order to define exactly which accounts have the most potential for growth through an ABM campaign. Focusing on the alignment of marketing and sales right early on will help with this step. Once you have a list of accounts to target, you can sort out the most important through traditional lead-scoring efforts.

Research Target Accounts and Develop Personas

The next step in implementing a successful ABM program is to develop personas through researching your target accounts. It’s crucial to work together with sales on this step, in order to determine the key stakeholders in the organizations you are targeting. Figuring out who makes the decisions and how the decisions are made will go a long way towards developing a successful, productive ABM. Social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook can help with this step as well, in addition to your company’s CRM and sales team.

Develop the Ideal Content Strategy

This is where the magic happens. Now that you have specific accounts you want to target and know who the stakeholders are, you can develop the best content strategy to target their specific needs. With this knowledge close at hand, you can start to create and/or source content that appeals to exactly what your target accounts are looking for. Your content needs to be engaging, both visually and in the message you are sending. Communicating the right message to the right person, at the right time,  is one of the most valuable ways that ABM can help to spur your marketing efforts into greater success and revenue generation.

Decide on Channels to Promote Your Content

There is a massive variety in the number of channels that your target accounts are on each day. There is no one singular place where you need to focus your ABM marketing efforts – you need to tailor the channels you use to where your target accounts are spending their time. Only through cross-channel and multi-level campaigns will you be able to connect with your accounts in a productive manner. This needs to happen with direct coordination from sales because they also need to know exactly where and how the target accounts are engaging with your marketing content.

Setting up this initial framework can seem like a lot of work, but every step is important to developing a successful, revenue-generating ABM machine. Keeping track of every action that your targeted stakeholders are taking is also crucial, so make sure that the data collection process is properly set up and working before you start your ABM campaign.

Start Your Campaign

Once you develop the framework by gathering all the necessary knowledge and creating suitable content for your marketing goals, it’s time to start running your campaign! Keep in mind that your target accounts are not going to want to see the same content across different platforms, so try to have a variety of relevant content pieces to share the important messages you need to convey. Just as people don’t like to be cold called by telemarketers several times per day, no one wants to see repeated content from a single source. It’s essential that you provide a variety of content across the platforms where the stakeholders in your targeted accounts are spending their time.

Measure Results and Optimize Accordingly

It takes time for ABM efforts to pay off – there’s no doubt about that. ABM programs often take up to nine months to see full fruition, from generating engagement to a closed deal. After a set amount of time, you need to sit down and dig into the data that your ABM campaign produces. It’s impossible to determine the value of your hard work and to convey that to the rest of your organization without this crucial step.

At this point, there are a few questions that you need to ask yourself:

  1. Have your target accounts increased their level of engagement?
  2. Which types of personalized content have been resonating with them?
  3. Did your efforts help your sales team to effectively move targeted leads down the sales funnel?
  4. How much revenue can be attributed directly to your ABM efforts?
  5. Did your ABM marketing efforts lead to any additional information about the important stakeholders within the target organizations?

Once you answer these key questions, you can tailor your marketing efforts to the results of your ABM campaigns. More data is always going to lead to better results and more revenue, so skipping this step could prove to be incredibly costly in the long run.

We Can Help

Madison Logic can help you incorporate ABM into your marketing strategy, so please get in touch if you’re interested in converting your best accounts faster by accelerating your pipeline.