ABM Readiness – Part I

So, what exactly is Account-Based Marketing?

Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is a B2B marketing strategy that uses intent keywords to create personalized campaigns and messaging for specific target accounts rather than relying on a one-size-fits-all approach. ABM creates highly targeted marketing campaigns tailored to the particular needs and interests of individual accounts to build stronger relationships, increase engagement, and ultimately drive more conversions. Using intent data and personalized messaging ensures the days of cold calling are hung up.

Okay, but how does ABM work?

ABM works by aligning marketing and sales efforts to do things such as identifying high-value accounts, creating personalized content, and engaging with decision-makers at those accounts. The process typically involves identifying key accounts, researching their needs and interests, developing targeted content and messaging, and delivering that content through multiple channels (e.g. email, social media, direct mail, etc.) to build relationships and drive engagement.

Alright, what are the benefits of Account Based Marketing?

Great question. The benefits of ABM include:

  • Make your marketing count by being more efficient versus “spray and pray.”
  • Increased engagement and conversion rates because you’re being more intentional with your engagement (personalized messaging at the right time)
  • Increased close rate and velocity

How do I know if I need ABM?

This is a critical question because it’s not about if; it’s about when. The entire B2B universe is headed towards ABM. As many businesses adjust to accommodate this direction, now is the time to consider how your business will stay ahead of the curve. Here are some reasons why you should get on board:

  1. High-value target accounts: If your business primarily relies on a relatively small number of key accounts for revenue generation, ABM can be highly effective. It allows you to focus your marketing efforts on these high-value accounts, tailoring personalized messages and experiences to increase engagement and conversion rates.
  2. Personalized marketing approach: ABM emphasizes delivering customised experiences to individual accounts. If your target audience expects and responds well to personalised marketing efforts, ABM can help you build stronger relationships and drive better results.
  3. Alignment between sales and marketing: ABM works best when there is alignment and collaboration between your sales and marketing teams. It requires close coordination to identify target accounts, develop tailored content, and track engagement. If your teams are willing to work together and share responsibilities, it can be highly effective.
  4. Sufficient resources and infrastructure: Implementing ABM successfully requires a robust infrastructure, including marketing automation tools, data analytics, and content personalization capabilities. Additionally, it will need investment in research, content creation, and a dedicated team that can manage and execute ABM campaigns effectively.
  5. Measurable ROI: ABM offers a more measurable return on investment than traditional marketing strategies. If you are looking for a more data-driven approach that allows you to track the impact of your marketing efforts and demonstrate measurable results, ABM can provide that level of visibility.

Let’s do this: Are you ready for ABM?

To determine if your business is ready for Account-Based Marketing, consider the following factors:

1. Goal alignment: Everyone needs a clear understanding of their goals—even ABM. Make sure your teams are all on the same page and have a shared understanding of the objectives you want to achieve. If you have specific target accounts in mind and want to focus on personalized marketing for those accounts, ABM may be suitable for your business.

2. Ideal customer profile (ICP): ABM is at its best when you have a well-defined ICP. If you can identify your target accounts based on specific criteria, you’re in a good position to implement ABM.

3. Resources and capabilities: Sometimes you need more help. ABM can require additional resources and investments compared to other broad-based marketing strategies. See if you have the budget, the technology, and personnel to execute a campaign successfully. If you do, then there’s nothing holding you back from ABM.

4. Sales and marketing integration: Everything’s better when everyone is playing in the sandbox. ABM requires collaboration and alignment between sales and marketing teams. When you have seamless integration of sales and marketing efforts, your chances of success will be far greater.

5. Content personalization capabilities: Intent data and ABM will always live happily ever after. Personalized content and messaging is the sustenance ABM needs to thrive. Evaluate if you have the capability to create targeted content that addresses the specific pain points and needs of your target accounts. If you can develop personalized content at scale, ABM is right for you.

6. Account selection: You need to know what accounts you’re targeting to understand what messaging you need to craft. ABM won’t be effective if you’re working blind. Consider if you have a list of priority accounts that you want to engage with. If you have a clear picture of the key accounts you want to convert and can prioritize them effectively, ABM will be a good fit.

Something to think about: Considerations for a good ABM program

As the title suggests, for a good Account Based Marketing (ABM) program, there are several key components that all need to work together to be effective:

1. Use Intent to help Prioritize Target Accounts: Don’t randomly pick your desired logos. Yes, it would be great to close Amazon, but is it likely? Using intent helps you know which of your big fish are in the market and interested and who mirrors past closed won. Start there.

2. Elect Strong Leaders or Die Trying: ABM lives and dies by the strength of alignment between sales and marketing. Tech can never bridge the gap. Repeat after me. Do. Not. Buy. Anything. Without. Alignment. Leaders must be in lock-step on approach, metrics, expectations and outcomes. That takes guts and a willingness to take some risks together.

3. Best of the Best Segmentation: Even within an intent-informed TAL, there are opportunities for further prioritization to strengthen your case. Maybe you have solid case studies in one vertical, or a group of accounts share a need your new product solves perfectly. Look for the centre of the centre of the bullseye for your pilot initiative.

4. Dive Deep Into Account Research and Insights: Don’t be afraid to get your digital hands dirty. Conduct thorough research on each target account to understand their pain points, challenges, and needs. Gathering insights will enable you to create highly targeted and relevant content that resonates with their specific interests.

5. Get More Engaging with Your Engagement Channels and Tactics: Put down the shotgun. It’s time to get more intentional with your choices and determine the most effective channels and tactics for interacting with your target accounts. This can include email marketing, social media, content marketing, events, direct mail, and more. Tailor your approach to the preferences and behaviours of your target accounts.

6. Hold Yourself Accountable with Measurement and Analysis: The numbers never lie. Discover what’s working and what isn’t by defining clear metrics for success and tracking the effectiveness of your ABM campaigns. Measure factors such as engagement rates, conversion rates, pipeline growth, and revenue generated from target accounts. Use these insights to refine and optimize your ABM strategy over time.

Remember, while ABM can work wonders, it won’t create overnight miracles. It’s an ongoing process that requires continuous refinement and adaptation. By focusing on these key elements, you can develop a strong and effective ABM program.

About the Author

Elevated Third, one of BBN’s partners in the US, offers a practical approach to ABM, which means leveraging technology to make intelligent, agile decisions. Elevated Third supports account-based experiences at every scale, emphasizing a crawl-walk-run approach to standing up processes, aligning teams, and ultimately closing business.

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