More and more marketers are looking to account-based marketing to boost revenue. But, in reality, it won’t work for every company.
For instance, if you’re a small business with limited time and marketing resources (read: people and cash), it may not be feasible to target specific accounts.
But for those businesses with the manpower and money required to implement ABM successfully, it has the potential to yield incredible results.
Account-based marketing helps to fully align sales and marketing efforts, accelerate the sales process for your most valuable opportunities, and generate a significant return on investment from your marketing campaigns.
But what does a good ABM strategy look like, and what’s involved in the build and delivery?
Let’s find out ?
How To Develop A World-Class ABM Strategy
While ABM can take many forms, at a foundational level, most strategies have the same requirements to deliver results. These essential actions all play a major part in developing and implementing a successful ABM strategy.
1. Get to know your customer and develop personas
Understanding the key characteristics of your customers is essential to figuring out who they are, what they like, how they operate and the greatest challenges they face. This information all informs the development of personas.
Persona assets should outline major details around the target group’s unique combination of characteristics and play a central role in your ABM strategy. As such, it’s important that they’re properly researched in order to be as accurate as possible. Keep in mind, the better your personas are, the more effective your ABM strategy is likely to be.
2. Choose which accounts you want to target
Once you’ve identified your personas, you need to outline and prioritize target accounts. At this stage, you need to consider what data you have, how you want to segment it and how many segments you’re looking for.
To do this well, you want to get your sales teams involved to access the very best perspective on realistic opportunities and potential. They’ll have the best take on the data and understand who is a genuine prospect and most likely to convert to a sale.
Once you’ve built the initial list, you can start to segment and rank accounts based on strategic priority. This ranking may be based on previous engagement history, lead score or other predictive measures that relate to prospect interest.
3. Outline the marketing technology you’ll use to deliver
With an understanding of your target personas and a view of your priority accounts, you can start to build out your tactical game plan. But first you need to consider what your marketing tech stack will let you do, and account for any limitations.
To maximize the opportunity and success of your ABM campaign, you need the capability to effectively nurture and capture leads, offer visibility on the sales funnel and have the option to accelerate pipeline where necessary.
In addition to these capabilities, your MarTech stack also needs to help your sales team view the funnel and track targeted prospects as they progress. This visibility is critical and helps key parties monitor nurture tactics in action. Ideally, you want this to be automated, so your sales team only has a view of prospects who’ve reached the relevant stage in the buyer journey.
4. Create content that meets the needs of the persona and is aligned to target accounts
Your content is how you communicate with your target accounts. It’s the means by which you get their attention and engage, so it’s critical that when the time comes, it has something meaningful and valuable to say. If your content is empty, dull, or offers unfulfilled promises (click bait), then it will only alienate your audience – and when you consider this ‘elite’ group has been personally handpicked by your team, it’s the last thing you want to do. With this in mind, it’s critical you develop content that meets the specific needs of the target audience.
Content within an ABM campaign should be built from the ground up with the persona and accounts in mind, meaning it should be much more detail-oriented. With the power to communicate highly focused messages that resonate with a very specific group of people, good ABM content has a greater chance of cutting through the noise and resonating with the prospect. Remember, if your message is relevant to their sector, buyer journey stage or even specific company, it’s that much more likely to engage and deliver value.
Once you’ve recognized the value your audience is looking for, you need to think about how this can be delivered across the customer journey and ensure you’ve built out content offerings covering all stages, from education through to decision. This is critical to nurturing your prospects to a state where they want to engage with you directly.
5. Integrate your ABM activity into marketing channel activity
Now that you have the right content, you need to promote that content through the right channels. Re-marketing, account matching and list matching all offer great opportunities to match the content with the specific prospect it’s been written for.
6. Identify the key metrics you want to influence
Any good ABM campaign will be carefully sculpted to drive growth, but this can take many forms so you need to ensure you’ve got the reporting framework and tools in place to track key metrics.
This visibility is critical as it forms the basis for the adaptation and eventual evolution of your ABM strategy. If you don’t have a good appreciation of the performance of your ABM campaign it will be very difficult (if not impossible) to identify what’s working and how to improve your strategy accordingly.
The targeted nature of ABM makes it a fantastic option for B2B businesses to home in on a select group of relevant accounts and commit resources to turn target prospects into customers. With a focused approach, companies are able to invest in the high-value customers they want to work with and nurture them to a point of sale.
Using ABM in your marketing strategy, you can maximize the impact and effectiveness of your marketing assets and drive ROI from your marketing activities.
Sebastian Hardman is the Managing Director of Digital Litmus. Digital Litmus fuse strategy, creativity, and technology to build demand generation machines for B2B Tech Companies that deliver more leads and sales.
Editor’s Note: This is a guest post. Interested in contributing content to the Drift blog? Email Molly Sloan at firstname.lastname@example.org.