HOW TO USE ACCOUNT-BASED MARKETING TO GROW KEY ACCOUNTS
Remember when marketing was crafted, personally tailored to each and every prospect? No? Me neither! Unfortunately, the promise of one-to-one marketing never eventuated. Now account-based marketing is promising to deliver this personal approach at scale via the use of marketing technology and closer alignment between sales and marketing.
Account based Marketing defined
You may have read us talking about sales and marketing alignment before. Well account-based marketing (ABM) is absolutely connected in the alignment of sales marketing around common goals. ABM in essence, treats a customer as a discrete market place and in the process creates a marketing plan specifically for that client account, covering tactics like content offers, social media, events and much more.
ABM is been around in many guises in the past like trade marketing, however ABM takes a holistic approach to the meeting of the needs of that customer via a focused execution of customer centric marketing as opposed to the traditional, industry wide marketing focus. And of course, the two should work together in tandem.
Account-Based Marketing for B2B businesses
ABM works best in considered purchase, B2B businesses. In particular, those businesses that often have to work with multiple stakeholders. ABM provides to opportunity to reach these stakeholders in a more impactful way and provoke more business opportunities.
ABM is your path to personalisation
The very nature of Account-based marketing is that it is 100% focused on the key stakeholders within your target business. In other words, an ABM campaign is tailored and personalised for them.
Personalisation is much touted as the panacea to customer engagement and yet when implementing marketing campaigns aimed at a wider audience is extremely difficult to personalise on mass. Because we’re not talking mass audiences, we can focus in on making prospects feel like you are having a one-to-one conversation with them which drives great intimacy and engagement.
Marketing ROI is easier to measure
Being able to associate your marketing activity with a return on investment is the holy grail of marketing these days. With marketing campaigns centred on wide audiences, it is difficult to know what drove what without advanced attribution reporting in place.
However, with ABM it’s easier to attribute your marketing activity with the engagement and revenue it generated because you are completely in the picture as to where your investment is going, who it’s aimed at and what is being generated. This understanding and reporting on ROI in ABM create confidence in marketing across the business that builds growth momentum because you spend less time on non-performing campaigns.
Account-based marketing adds velocity to your sales pipeline
With ABM your sales team are not distracted by following up on marketing qualified leads that are cold by nature. ABM by its personalised nature generates highly qualified leads for sales teams to continue the conversation with.
In fact, prospects want to hear more from your sales teams who are able to have significantly better conversations. Conversations can advance quickly to a solution focus that educates prospects better due to the fact that they already know so much about the prospect and their needs.
Account-based marketing is sales and marketing alignment with a purpose
Sometimes the talk around alignment between sales and marketing can lack the ‘glue’ needed to achieve alignment. ABM can be the ‘glue’ required to getting these ‘two-sides’ of the same coin working together.
ABM planning requires Marketing being tightly aligned with the Sales team around the target audience and leads who are one and same people.
Steps for Account-Based Marketing Success
To begin with – do you know who your ideal customer type is? Spending time to identify is time well spent. Often it comes down to the most profitable, long-term, customer types that are a strong fit for your business, they have success with your solutions, and deliver the best lifetime value.
From here look for accounts that open to expanding their relationship with your company, along with new customers that meet your ideal customer criteria. An additional question you might want to ask is “Is there an urgent need we can satisfy and that would benefit is?”
Regardless of the size of the purchase, B2B deals involve your marketing and sales teams to help drive consensus among the key stakeholders. You need to research those who can exert influence on the final buying decision. And how you can engage and persuade them to take action. For example, in our market when selling Digital Marketing agency services, this list of people could include the Head of Marketing, Digital Marketing Managers, Head of Sales and CEO.
These individuals are important in the context of the entire business. However, you need to ensure the research needs of each person on the prospects buying committee and how they relate to the strategic objective of their company.
Now you need to develop personalized campaign that builds and nurtures relationships by providing valuable consultation and education, all mapped to the account’s buying cycle.
So, begin by developing a value proposition and relevant content for each key decision maker that you believe will influence their buying decision.
Your content plan should:
- Acknowledge what stakeholders believe so you can meet them where they are
- Make a compelling case for your solution.
- Deliver your story in terms of value. Ensuring your viewpoint has real-world case studies that demonstrate your solution.
Again, now is the opportunity to really personalise the communication for each individual within a prospect account. This will ensure confidence in your business as a trusted advisor who have done their homework.
Now it’s time to reach your target accounts and the key stakeholders. Consider which channels they use most to self-educate trends and solutions. A tailored approach to communication by role and industry type is required, so use all of your creative nous to make your content stick.
With ABM, your marketing and sales teams engage with target accounts on an individual basis using a personalised communications approach that makes sense for each contact. Campaigns should all tactics that allow for personalisation such as email, special events, social media, and ads. Relationships drive ABM, so keep this in mind for your communications outreach.
Marketing and sales are aligned and accountable for driving pipeline and revenue when it comes to ABM. So therefore, measuring ABM is going to be different than measuring the impact of standard lead-generation tactics because the purpose is about transitioning accounts as a whole through the buying process.
Key measures will include tracking account engagement, opportunities created, in addition to closed-won deals and their value. Set your teams time to generate results that are in line with the typical buying cycle and then adjust your approach as required.
- ABM is a great way to align marketing and sales teams with a distinct purpose. You can easily start on a small scale and expand based on success.
- ABM and Inbound Marketing natural bedfellows, given the relationship nature of ABM and the educative nature of inbound. The two work well together.
- ABM is a great way to explore and test personalised marketing at scale
- ABM allows for easier measurement of marketing and sales ROI.
- Marketing technology such as HubSpot allows for seamless execution of ABM