Consider a world where you could begin the sales process by selling directly to the accounts that were the best fit and the highest value for your company.
Imagine eliminating the waste of time in marketing and selling to unqualified leads who aren’t a good fit for your organization.
You could then proceed directly to the phases of engaging and delighting your target accounts.
Think of saving time and effort.
Account-based marketing (ABM) helps accomplish this.
“Marketing is no longer a one-way street—you cannot simply shove promotions to your prospects. You need to engage in an active dialogue, and ABM lets you do that with unparalleled precision.”
Shari Johnston, SVP of Marketing, Radius.
- What Is Account-Based Marketing
- Two Ways In Which ABM Benefits Your Organization
- ABM Stats: Rethink Your Marketing Strategy
- How To Pitch ABM To Your Board
- How To Get Executive Buy-In And Sales Engagement
- How To Segment And Select Accounts
- Five-Steps To ABM Success
- Three Ways To Use Insights For A More Effective ABM Strategy
- How To Build An Effective ABM Messaging Strategy
- Four Ways To Measure Your ABM Program
#1. What Is Account-Based Marketing
ABM is a marketing strategy that focuses resources on a specific set of target accounts within a market.
It uses personalized campaigns to engage with each account—tailoring the marketing message to the account’s particular characteristics and needs.
Account-based marketing strategy takes a more comprehensive approach to marketing that goes beyond generating leads.
Upselling and cross-selling to current customers are essential strategies to extract the maximum value from large accounts.
Less valuable companies are sieved early on. This enables marketing and sales departments to work together to ensure complete alignment. Then jump right into the process of engaging and delighting those accounts.
ABM enables your company to work with, and communicate with high-value accounts, as if they were separate markets.
According to a study conducted by SiriusDecisions, 91 percent of marketers reported that account-based marketing increased the average size of their deals, with an increase of 21-50 percent reported by 30.5 percent of respondents.
#2. Two ways in which ABM benefits your organization
Marketing experts conclude: ABM provides many valuable advantages to business owners who implement it.
- An account-based marketing strategy provides your company with customized targeting.
- B2B ABM services help a company fine-tune its marketing strategy by researching the ideal contacts within its target market.
#a. ABM refines messaging
Account-based Marketing, enables you to create collaterals and employ techniques that engage your target audience more effectively.
ABM allows for personal messaging based on industry, company, and role, allowing your audience to feel more personally connected while maintaining your automation’s efficiency and effectiveness.
When companies refine their messaging, they appear as a brand mindful of its client’s specific needs.
You increase visibility and function in the marketplace and achieve “top-of-mind” status amongst its current and prospective customers.
#b. ABM boosts opportunities
When a company or brand embraces ABM, it will see an increase in the number of sales opportunities available to it.
Concentrating efforts on your most important account increases the likelihood of making the right connections required to close sales.
#3. ABM Stats To Rethink Your Marketing Strategy
According to the ITMSA, 87 percent of marketers believe that account-based marketing (ABM) provides a higher return on investment than other forms of marketing.
It also helps to improve your company’s reputation and customer relationships.
Ninety-one percent of marketers who participated in a SiriusDecisions survey stated that ABM increased the average size of their deals. 30.5% of respondents reported increases of 21-50 percent.
The evidence speaks for itself: 75% of customers prefer personalized offers over generic ones (Aberdeen Group).
Another ITMSA study confirms the importance of account-based marketing (ABM), with a whopping 87 percent of B2B marketers agreeing that ABM produces higher returns on investment.
The majority of respondents to the survey said they would increase their ABM budget in the next 12 months (with 80 percent saying they would do so).
Furthermore, in 2019, 55 percent of marketers considered their ABM program “established,” compared to only 43 percent in 2018.
Building relationships in the C-suite is now more critical to B2B marketing leaders than it was two years ago, according to 92 percent of B2B marketing executives.
Customers’ engagement and relationships are strengthened as a result of personalization, according to 95 percent of marketers.
82 percent of marketers believe personalized content created for ABM campaigns improves customer retention.
According to 82 percent of B2B marketers, ABM significantly improves the alignment between marketing and sales, at their organization.
#4. How To Pitch ABM To Your Board
It is critical to recognize that an account-based marketing strategy (ABM) should not be considered a replacement for your global approach.
It’s an additional strategy. By no means should this be marketed as a substitute for any other approach.
ABM will be on top of everything else you are doing.
So here’s how you should go about pitching it.
- ABM to tailored to individual accounts
- ABM is quantifiable
- ABM shortens sales cycles
#a. ABM is tailored to individual accounts
This one should go without saying. If individual accounts are indeed valuable, tailoring a marketing strategy specifically for them makes complete sense.
Furthermore, if you are aiming at a group of decision-makers within an organization, it becomes a little easier to hit your target on the first try.
#b. ABM is quantifiable
This will be the focal point of presentations to the board of directors.
Simply put, the return on investment (ROI) from ABM is significantly higher than the ROI from traditional industry-wide marketing approaches.
Organizations are constantly wrestling with attribution: how much new revenue you can attribute to a specific activity.
“If you are targeting one specific account, and of course, you keep track of spending on that particular account in terms of marketing, then anything you get out of that organization can be immediately attributed and measured.
This lets you know if you are getting bang for your buck, and should be why it’s favored at the boardroom level.”
ABM is a more efficient use of both time and resources than traditional methods.
There will be aspects in your marketing approach that don’t yield the desired results, draining precious resources such as money, time, and effort.
An ABM approach returns everything to its source. If something is not working—it can be tweaked.
On the other hand, if things start to go sideways, you can pull the plug before good money is wasted on bad investments.
#c. ABM shortens sales cycles
In traditional marketing approaches, the goal is to generate as many leads as possible.
Once those leads have been developed: they are pursued with the inevitable result of a significant drop-off in response.
Once prospects have been identified, marketers must follow them strategically.
Only then will they see conversions. Once again, this requires a significant investment of time and effort; and the cycle can be lengthy.
With ABM, which is targeted at key decision-makers within an organization, conversions are more likely to be completed quickly and efficiently than traditional marketing methods.
ABM helps you to align your sales and marketing strategies better.
The two departments, marketing and sales begin to collaborate.
Now sales have legitimate leads, and marketing has a target audience.
As a result, everyone’s job is more accessible and more fruitful.
#5. How To Get Executive Buy-In And Sales Engagement?
Empowering and motivating your sales and marketing teams will be more difficult without leadership support.
Having senior leaders actively involved in employee recognition programs can help your company achieve tremendous financial success.
Companies are nine times more likely to achieve positive business outcomes when high-ranking authorities are involved.
These three simple steps will help you gain executive support for your engagement program.
- Index the impact of employee engagement on financial performance and explain why this is so
- Explain the turnover
- Inform them of what is going on: what’s happening in your competitor’s business.
Take this opportunity to explain the impact of highly engaged organizations on the bottomline.
The top companies achieved 10.80 percent of comparative annualized stock market returns while having 50% less turnover than the worse-performing companies.
#6. How To Segment And Select Accounts
Having a different list on hand when selecting and segmenting your Target Account List (TAL) is beneficial; consider it a step-by-step checklist for segmentation success.
Follow these four main steps to create the most effective target account list:
build, secure, verify + iterate, and update your list.
Moving on, how to create a list of potential customers.
- Create a list of potential customers
- Target Account Lists that are safe and secure
- Verify and iterate after the launch of account-based marketing
- Keep Your List Up to Date
#a. Create a list of potential customers
Determine which accounts are the executive’s top accounts based on your target accounts.
Compared to the previous segments, these accounts should receive greater attention, more resources, and a broader budget.
This makes the accounts with the highest and most personalized touchpoints; outside of opportunities and customers already in your funnel.
#b. Target Account Lists that are safe and secure
Account-based marketing can only be successful when the entire organization is on board.
The target account list must be approved by three different departments: marketing, sales, and leadership, in that particular order.
#c. Verify and iterate after the launch of account-based marketing
Account-based marketing, at its core, is a scalable strategic approach to achieving business objectives as a team.
While attempting to determine which accounts are performing well, which are not, and how to optimize your list, there are a few things you can do to keep everyone involved in the process.
#d. Keep Your List Up to Date
There are two types of update criteria to consider: Those that have changed recently and those that have not.
Significant updates: If your company experiences fundamental business changes: new funding, executive appointments, or market shifts, you will need to review your list and determine how to adapt. These will need to be addressed at least once a year when you update your list.
Minor updates: Changes in the territory and new product offerings can result in quarterly updates related to target accounts that would or would not benefit from the region and product offerings changes.
Allow your target account list to grow alongside you, but remember that it is always essential to give it enough time to deliver results.
#7. Five-Steps To ABM Success
Before we get into the framework, you should know the basics of ABM.
ABM involves establishing an ABM team and prioritizing accounts based on your ideal customer profile (ICP).
- Target accounts
- Set account goals
- Create account plans
- Analyze the data
- Define success
#a. Target accounts
To begin, select accounts to target a particular program or ABM approach. Curate this list by using one of the following methods:
Keep track of your most exemplary accounts. For a 1:1 campaign, you choose 3 Tier A, and 10 Tier B accounts.
Or, give your salespeople a list of accounts to target; say you give sales 20 Tier A accounts and ask them to rank the best 5.
#b. Set account goals
Once you have your list of target accounts, determine where they are in their buying cycle.
Do an account audit
Analyzing accounts can assist in determining the customer shopping
It also helps you gather data for customization.
Several points are important during this process:
- Contact coverage
- Prior campaign history
- Engagement frequency
- Business need
- Internal decision-making patterns
- External market forces
- Prior sales interactions
- Any other relevant information from the sales rep
For each account, capture as many insights as you can.
Use this audit to track non-monetary account milestones.
For example, you can follow the number of critical contacts identified,
stakeholder interaction, or technographic information sourced.
Identify account goals
Sort accounts into buckets based on their goals. Identify the next
account milestone you want to hit. Your accounts may fall into one of
- Begin a conversation
- Create a chance
- Strike a deal
#c. Create account plans
Account pursuit strategies for top-tier accounts are recommended. Identify the following technique or play that will drive this account closer to a buy.
Begin with short-term goals.
- What is your next destination (from Step 2), and how will you achieve it? A
- After that, figure out the account’s next moves. Say you generate an opportunity and then need to sponsor an account. Can you run awareness campaigns with senior account executives?
Create a pursuit strategy that covers the whole buyer’s journey—utilize it as a guide.
Your plans may alter, so adjust your pursuit approach accordingly.
#d. Analyze the data
It’s time to start implementing your account plans. Begin by creating your offer, choosing channels, and creating content.
Ask sales to focus on account mining for more insights.
- Need extra contacts for your program?
- Are there any additional criteria or information sales can gather for the program?
- Can you use current events to make your offer more timely?
Personalized high-touch programs necessitate data. So gather all the data you need to customize your outreach.
#e. Define success
ABM works across a broad range of marketing objectives. To be successful with ABM, you must first source the correct contacts. That’s why it’s vital to document and agree on program goals.
- Account connections
- Positive outcomes
- ROI and program performance
Launch ABM operations across several channels.
Whenever possible, use at least three channels. It’s also critical to test the order of channels and the delivery of your offer.
Radius, for example, found that emails followed by direct mailers and sales outreach work best. As you test concepts, ensure a continuous feedback loop is built in.
Try out new channels, content, and deals to see what works best for you.
#8. Three Ways To Use Insights For A More Effective ABM Strategy
“86% of ABM practitioners struggle with getting enough data and insight. – B2B Marketing”
ABM perception interviews are an excellent approach to elicit information on:
- Critical stakeholder awareness of your firm’s solutions
- Your company’s success in the account thus far
- The value your company can add to assist meet business needs
The ITSMA checklist contains suggested questions to ask during ABM perception interviews to collect all pertinent information.
It is critical to understand what is occurring on your account. Additionally, the checklist includes some vital questions to better understand the account’s context and how customer stakeholders approach it.
The research process can appear to be intimidating.
However, there are other possible sources of information. The ITSMA proposes a three-step method for conducting research:
- Secondary research
This data can be obtained through internal systems or previous primary research undertaken by your organization.
Keep in mind that specific secondary sources may charge a price for access.
- Primary research #1 (partners and account teams)
After conducting basic background research, conduct a semi-structured interview with the account team to ascertain their knowledge.
Salespeople are far more knowledgeable than they think or document.
- Primary research #2 (account’s essential customer connections)
ITSMA recommends that you communicate ABM concepts openly in customer interactions and use these conversations to encourage transparency.
Again, the most successful eliciting these insights is through a semi-structured interview.
Conduct secondary research and conduct interviews with the account team first.
The ITSMA checklist includes interview instructions to assist you in conducting compelling interviews with your account teams and important customer contacts.
You have a solid platform to create your campaigns when you have insight into account performance and stakeholder difficulties.
#9. How To Build An Effective ABM Messaging Strategy
You can use ABM messaging to amplify positive replies, customer dialogues, conversion rate, and sales.
Here are five ways to create strategic messaging with ABM.
- Choose a compelling subject line
- Make it personal
- Ask for help
- Solve issues
- Test, and test continuously
#a. Choose a compelling subject line
Your efforts are futile if prospects don’t read it.
A superb subject opening line is essential for emails—it stands out and motivates prospects to read further.
Or for Landing Pages, start with a Value Proposition.
Your first line must entice the reader to read more about your product or service.
However, it should be impactful, meaningful, and concise; long topic lines are rarely read.
Your subject line can be an inquiry about their hopes or anxieties.
You want to show the message body to potential clients. A compelling statement or subject line increases open rates substantially.
#b. Make it personal
Now that many prospects have seen your message body, it’s time to get them to act.
To write compelling copy, you must thoroughly understand your target audience. Use the personas you’ve built. It will assist you to complete the sales process.
Avoid generic communications and talk about their interests.
Your message body should revolve around their tech issues if you sell smartphones.
Search the prospect’s social profile for a personalized comment. Adding a personal touch encourages customers to use CTAs.
#c. Ask for help
It is easier to communicate with prospects if you need their honest advice or assistance.
Taking help from potential clients builds trust—they would also feel powerful. Prospects can help you enhance your product, services, sales process, customer service, etc.
#d. Solve issues
ABM messaging is customer-centric. When creating a strategy, focus on your customers’ needs. Pleasing them is more important. Show how your items help them solve their difficulties.
#e. Test, and test continuously
Multivariate or A/B testing is required for outbound messaging success.
A/B testing lets you test different elements of your message. It will strengthen your messaging approach and raise open rates. For example, compare two subject lines with varying details and propositions.
Multivariate testing uses different variable combinations, such as headline 1, image 2, body copy 3, etc, to test and determine which combination works to give the best results.
#10. Four Ways To Measure Your ABM Program
To measure ABM during the buying cycle, you need to know how your prospects value their interactions with you and how this affects sales.
It’s not always straightforward, but looking at coverage, engagement, impact, and influence helps.
- Track the right metrics
- Track engagement
- Measure impact
- Assess Influence
#a. Track the right metrics
Measuring your coverage:
- How many accounts can you cover?
- How many of the right people have you reached?
- How many customers meet the desired profile?
- Have you identified each account’s decision-makers and influencers?
- Do you have the data to reach all account stakeholders?
- How many people did you get in each account?
Traditional reach measurements include open, and click-through rates help. But they have a fundamental role, not a statistical one.
IP address recognition is also a critical factor for internet reach tracking. It shows you who is visiting your website or landing pages and from where.
#b. Track Engagement
Engagement measures how well your target audience consumes and responds to your content. Engagement is best measured by:
- Time spent on your site
- Consumption of content (how many assets did the audience visit)
- Consumption of content (did the audience visit your broader digital estate)
- Online and in-person event attendance
- Engagement intensity (is it increasing as your programs progress)
Though ‘time spent’ is one of the most reliable metrics for measuring (online) engagement, many companies still employ ‘downloadable PDFs’ as their primary content format.
Downloadable PDFs inform you who downloaded your PDF.
Creating interactive e-guides can help track time spent reading and other fascinating parts.
#c. Measure Impact
Once you have an engaged audience, you must evaluate the results:
- Was there any interaction (web forms, phone calls, emails, demos)?
- Is the audience sales-ready when sales call? How many meetings are generated by the programs?
- How many of your overall opportunities come from ABM? Is this proportion rising as your program gets tougher?
Important: Close collaboration with sales is required to measure impact adequately. They’ll be in a unique position to report the effect both anecdotally and metrically. You’d need weekly sales and marketing meetings and CRM access.
#d. Assess Influence
Although revenue is generally used to quantify ABM success, three other critical measures may be more urgent:
- Were the sales cycles shorter for ABM accounts?
- Is the deal size bigger than non-ABM accounts?
- Win rate: Did ABM accounts convert better than non-ABM accounts?
For ABM programs with a broad target account base, incorporate ‘marketing pipeline’ as a statistic and forecasting tool.
Marketing pipeline is the number of accounts (or their worth) whose contacts have engaged with your program to the point of MQA qualification.
As you re-evaluate your approach to ABM measurement, you may run across a familiar roadblock.
The majority of marketing platforms and technologies do not provide access to the data you want.
This is especially true when it comes to evaluating content engagement.
Most CRM and MAP applications lack the capabilities required to see activity or score at the organizational level.
This is a critical capability for real ABM, so adjust your current CRM or find a platform that comes pre-configured for ABM.
Use account-based marketing tools in your 2022 marketing strategy.
These techniques will guide you through developing an effective ABM messaging plan that will increase your click-through rates, downloads, and open rates.
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