It’s important to have the right mindset when you come into work. Some people meditate in the morning to get themselves in the right headspace. Others find solace in a good book. And a few prefer to just catch a few extras Z’s on their morning commute (ideally these people don’t drive to work).
But for Kevin O’Malley, VP of Marketing at TOPO, inner peace comes only in the form of three letters: A-B-M. Account-based marketing has changed the game for modern marketers, and Kevin is no stranger to its power. His ABM-first mindset has shifted the entire focus of his marketing team towards creating the most personalized experience possible for their target accounts.
Our own VP of Content and Community, Mark Kilens, hopped on a call with Kevin to pick the brain of this ABM expert and learn what he says makes for a good ABM strategy. I’ve synthesized their conversation, both to make it more easily digestible and get credit for a blog contribution.
Here are five things you should keep in mind if you want to run a successful (and profitable) ABM campaign👇
1. Finding The Accounts That Matter
“Every battle is won or lost before it’s ever fought”
– Sun Tsu, “The Art of War”
Obviously no marketer would compare anything they do on a daily basis to war…well, actually, it depends on who you ask. But nonetheless, Kevin argues that this general principle applies to ABM. You’ve got to do your due diligence upfront and identify the right accounts to go after. Clearly define and agree upon your ideal customer profile (ICP) before you start marketing. Once you have a set list of ICP guidelines, then you can go about bringing in opportunities and ultimately converting these opportunities into paying customers.
If you’re new to ABM and aren’t exactly sure where to start, don’t overthink it. Start with a basic foundation of firmographics (company location, size, etc.) and figure out where and how your product could fit in their tech stack. And like anything else in marketing, don’t be afraid to experiment and see what does and doesn’t work.
2. Beware Of The Fake Gucci Buyer
In the early stages of ABM, there can be a temptation to develop an ICP based on the inbound traffic that’s coming to your website on a regular basis. And while this traffic can provide valuable insight into the type of business that is interested in your product, Kevin cautions against developing target personas around what he terms “The Fake Gucci Buyer.”
As he puts it, “You never see the fake Gucci buyer buying real Gucci.”
What he means is that not all of your inbound traffic actually has any intent to buy your product. Some are just interested in what you’re doing, thus creating a false positive that skews your inbound data.
3. Content Is Critical
That’s about as simple as I can put it. Content is absolutely CRITICAL to your ABM motion. Now that you’ve successfully identified the right account, there needs to be a message that bridges their interest in your product with their intent to buy.
One great example of strong ABM content that Kevin offers is personalized videos. Generally speaking, they get a ton of engagement, are still a fairly new practice in B2B, and create a personalized touch that separates you from the thousands of other B2B brands that keep sending the same white noise out into the ether.
And videos are just one of countless examples of how you can create a highly customized content experience that ropes in your ABM prospect. Among others, Kevin mentions personalized landing pages, chatbots, and even food trucks – you’ll have to ask him 🤷♂️
4. Converting ABM Attention
Okay, so you’ve identified your target accounts, spent all this money to get their attention, now how do you close the deal? Well, there a few neat velocity plays that you can run to cut down the sales cycle considerably. During a demo your target account will likely share a couple of aspects of your product/service that they think are powerful and impactful for their business. IMMEDIATELY after the demo, record a quick custom video highlighting those specific areas and send it to them as part of your normal follow up cadence. This not only demonstrates how much effort you’re putting in to earning their business, but also creates a mini-ad that your prospect will then forward around to the other members of the buying team.
Speaking of that buying team…
It’s obviously the challenge of every salesperson and marketer to win over the buying teams that dictate what products are worth implementing at their business. And while you’ll likely never achieve consensus, you can at least improve your chances by creating personas for each member and crafting custom messaging plans and plays for them. This doesn’t guarantee success by any means – but it does help to further the highly detailed and personalized experience you want to create.
Oh and if you’re wondering if it’s really worth going to all this trouble for your ABM campaigns, it’s worth noting that the deal size of target account-based deals is, on average, three to four times bigger than non-target deals.
5. A Sale Is Never Done
Great job, you made the sale! But before you get too comfortable, just know that there is no such thing as the “post-sales stage.” ABM works beyond the initial sale and covers the entire customer journey. Don’t stop your ABM plans after you’ve acquired the customer. Rather, extend the initial plan beyond the buy. Account for the customer lifetime value and continue to invest in the journey. Personalizing the experience well after purchase opens up the door for upgrades down the road and creates happier customers in the long run.