What is an ABM?
Account-Based Marketing or ABM for short is simply a strategy that allows marketers to direct their marketing resources toward a specific set of targeted accounts. This means that instead of casting a wide net to catch leads, marketers work with sales to create a more customized strategy to target high-level prospects. With the use of personalization on the account level, sales and marketing are forced to align when creating account-specific strategy and messaging leading to higher revenue in a shorter amount of time.
Types of ABMs
There are three different types of ABMs that your team can implement:
Generally used for higher-level accounts that are executed on a one-to-one basis relying heavily on personalized marketing campaigns.
This includes loose personalization that is targeted at a small group of like accounts that have similarities like account size, comparable challenges and similar goals. As a result, you can use the same creative and message for each of these groups.
This ABM uses technology to tailor your marketing campaigns to your accounts while focusing on specific horizontal or vertical segments.
Benefits of an ABM
ABM benefits, sales, marketing and the customer.
It works best for B2B companies that adopt an account-based approach to sales. It aligns marketing and sales so that the sales team can better personalize their outreach. Creating customized strategies to target these personalized accounts can speed up the sales process allowing sales to close bigger deals faster.
This, in turn, makes the marketing team a trusted and essential ally to sales. It also enriches the marketing team with more data and insight on how the company functions as a whole. As a result, marketing can improve the messaging and content that they provide to sales.
Lastly, the customer will then benefit from gaining a better customer experience through the improved efficiency of the sales and marketing teams.
Barriers to Avoid
Even when using an ABM some companies struggle to reach their full potential due to common barriers. Such as:
- Failure to align sales and marketing: If sales and marketing cannot agree on targeted accounts then your ABM goes out the window.
- Inaccurate data: ABM uses shared data to identify the right accounts to target but if the data is inaccurate the results will be skewed.
- Unrealistic expectations: Change won’t happen overnight, instead set a series of smaller more realistic goals and work toward them.
Create Your Own ABM Strategy
Sales and marketing should co-develop your company’s ABM together since it will require them to align. They must identify the accounts they deem most important, agree on common goals, messaging, content and how to execute the plan and then analyze.
- Your High-Value Accounts
In order to find these accounts, you must analyze your existing customer base to hammer out your definition of the ideal customer. Try looking for your long term customers who are the most profitable as well as the easiest to work with. Use these to set out criteria that you can use to identify high-value prospects as they come in.
- Match Individuals to These Accounts
Identify those best suited to wield influence on final buying decisions for each account and match the concerns of each person in the buying committee to the objectives of their company.
- Create Targeted Campaigns Based On Accounts
Once the accounts have been chosen and the individuals matched, it’s now time to develop a personalized strategy. First, customize your messaging and thought leadership content to that of the account’s challenges and needs. Then to build and nurture relationships create a buying cycle for the account and map your content and educational pieces to it.
- Identify Ideal Channels
Figure out where to best reach your customers and meet them there.
- Develop Your Customized Strategies
Outline roles and responsibilities. Develop a playbook that lays out who does what when. Also, break down what tactics both marketing and sales should use when engaging specific accounts in order to drive interest and action.
Relationships drive ABM strategy, use that to guide how you execute. You can use emails, events, direct mail, ads and many more strategies when considering how to execute your ABM.
Lastly, make sure that you measure your ABM results and optimize your campaign by making adjustments to improve your strategy.
With an ABM both sales and marketing are jointly accountable for moving accounts, not individuals, through the sales pipeline and ensuring the success of the ABM. A growing number of B2B companies have discovered the success of ABMs and have adopted this strategy in order to complement not only their short term marketing goals but to generate leads as well.
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