Account Based Marketing is gaining in popularity for a simple reason – it works. I’ve been talking about it here, reporting on the growing body of statistics. Where ABM has been in use for at least a year, for instance, 60% of users reported a revenue increase of at least 10%, and 19% reported a revenue impact of 30% or greater.
This blog is aimed to explain account based marketing for dummies (a colloquial, I know you’re very smart if you’re researching a subject like this).
ABM isn’t just for the biggest players any more.
Account-Based Marketing (ABM) has mostly been used to date by larger companies to target select strategic accounts. Now, with the advent of new technologies, smaller companies can leverage ABM strategies to go after those coveted accounts that REALLY matter – big or small.
The 5 basic steps – and maybe one mindset adjustment.
ABM requires a mindset change from both marketing and sales, because the focus becomes less on MQLs (marketing qualified leads) and more on SQLs (sales qualified leads).
It’s essential they work on the same set of strategic accounts (and contacts) to produce better results.
So put aside any inter-office rivalries that may be lingering, and treat the sales team as your new best friends in this endeavor because you’ll be picking their brains a lot during the process. If this daunts you, see my recent post on aligning marketing with sales for how to form more productive alliances.
(Image credit: #FlipMyFunnel)
Step 1: Identify the highest value accounts.
Build a plan to focus on the right target organizations. Research the likeliest high value prospects in terms of
- Financial health Are there growing concerns, with rising profits and a rosy outlook?
- Organizational structure Is it a publicly owned or closely held company? At what level(s) are purchase decisions made, and where?
- Industry Analysis How healthy is their industry right now? Within their industry, where do they rank among the competition?
Good tools to help you find these answers include LinkedIn, Dun & Bradstreet, and Hoovers industry reports.
Step 2: Profile selected accounts using predictive account scoring.
For each identified prospect, gather a combination of historical data, firm-centric data and social media activity. Look at things like win rates, deal size, annual revenues, # of employees, and the number of social media channels they use. Then assign predictive scores to rank prospects into tiers.
Use predictive scoring TOGETHER with sales rep personal knowledge to make final target selections.
Then, you’ll implement tiers with a “Top 100” category followed by secondary or tertiary categories based on predictive scores and profiles similar to the top 100 selections.
Considerations for identifying typical accounts:
- High yield
- Product fit
- Competitors’ customers
- Strategic importance
Again, with Sales’ help, get to know the buyers. Are they an Executive Sponsor, an Influencer, or a Decision Maker?
Step 3. Create great, rich content that’s PERSONALIZED and TIMELY.
(Image credit: #FlipMyFunnel)
Map all content to each buying stage:
Step 4. Launch your campaigns.
Test across multiple channels, using personalization. Use their name in the body – not just subject lines – of intro emails.
Use headlines that include the market segment you’re aiming at (Instead of a page headline that says “top marketing automation system,” change it to “top marketing automation system for small business”)
Make sure to stay in close touch with Sales throughout the process. Commit to a process that includes:
- Frequent communication and check-ins
- Joint account selection & planning
- Transparency – no power politics
- Jointly selected investments in the best quality data sources, CRM, etc.
Create a Playbook for Sales
- Provide pre-written messaging and proof points for various buyer personas
- Using their call lists, create categories of call scripts by tiered segment
- Write, prepare and automate nurture emails for each buying process stage.
Step 5. Measure the results for each campaign, and for each offer.
Compare results to the goals that emerged from your prospect scoring.
Track analytics in the Early, Mid and Late stages of each buyer’s journey down the pipeline. Measure against your goals with metrics like win rates, sales performance, and quarter-over-quarter growth in opportunities created.
Some marketing automation companies such as Marketo offer custom ABM dashboards that collect revenue figures corresponding to metrics generated by offers, as well as other KPIs.
Leadit Marketing specializes in marketing strategies for B2B companies, including ABM and demand generation. We can help you build your ABM strategy and acquire the data resources needed for the research-heavy aspects of ABM. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Shannon Prager is recognized B2B marketing strategist and the President of Leadit Marketing. She is responsible for the daily operations and management of Leadit Marketing as well as the long term vision for the company.
A marketing leader with over 19 years of B2B demand generation and marketing experience, she understands the importance of a fully developed integrated marketing strategy. Shannon’s background includes demand generation, marketing automation, social media, digital marketing, customer marketing, account based marketing and marketing operations. You can follow her on LinkedIn via https://www.linkedin.com/in/shannonprager or Twitter @ https://twitter.com/LeaditMarketing
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