Account-based marketing (or ABM) is a marketing strategy where crucial business accounts are marketed to directly as individuals as opposed to the traditional ‘one-to-all’ approach. Essentially what we are looking at is a method of marketing that takes high-value accounts, identifies key decision makers and stakeholders, and then targets them appropriately. This is done with personalised marketing strategies that are implemented through various channels that are more likely to appeal to the specific individuals.
ABM is about going after the large and important accounts that hold the greater promise of bringing value to your business. We recommend getting started by growing and nurturing your community on your LinkedIn Company Page. It is crucial to give your targeted messaging a personal touch. There’s no one-size-fits all approach to ABM – it is highly specialised.
Should You Implement Account-Based Marketing?
Now that you’ve got a better understanding of what ABM is, is it right for you? One of the clearest reasons to pursue ABM is that all of the studies surrounding this form of marketing show that this method is the most effective at delivering an ROI – and not by a little bit. In fact, the Altera Group study found that 97% of the respondents in the survey claimed that ABM yielded a much higher ROI than any of the other marketing campaigns that they tried.
Still, that’s all well and good if ABM doesn’t apply to you. Is it an optimal marketing strategy that can benefit your business? The fact is, ABM is typically a business-to-business marketing approach that is best suited to enterprise-level sales organisations that have over 1,000 employees. (Read our blog for the top ABX B2B strategies.) That’s not to say that smaller businesses cannot benefit from ABM, but larger, more established companies are experiencing the greatest success. Even if your employee count is under 1,000 and you are not in the B2B sector you can still benefit from ABM, though you need to identify as to whether it is realistic for you to target specific accounts or if a more generalised strategy can be equally (if not more) effective for your business model and the resources you have available to you.
What are the benefits of ABM?
How can ABM be of benefit to your business? Let’s take a closer look at some of the clear advantages that a well-strategised ABM campaign can bring:
- Internal alignment: everyone needs to be on board to pull off a truly successful ABM campaign and this is a great way of fostering communication and cooperation between departments.
- Enhanced optimisation: the more you work on data-driven accounts based marketing strategies, the better you will become, as an organisation, at building these types of highly specialised campaigns.
- Better reporting: in this ever-digital age, data is king. The more you work on ABM the more data you will collect – all of which can help shape your CRM systems wonderfully.
- Greater efficiency: in order to pull off a successful ABM campaign you will likely need to be using the appropriate ABM technology – which means ABM automation will be at your disposal. The more you become familiar with such technology, the easier it will become for these campaigns to more or less run themselves with one or two marketers overseeing them.
- Higher engagement and retention for your business: truly specialised and highly-targeted campaigns will not only be more likely to attract the perfect client, but keep them around for longer.
- Shorter sales cycles: eliminate low-value prospects and go after the high-ticket clients.
- More money: go after key accounts that can bring you the most value.
- Attractive ROI: ABM has proved to deliver a higher return on investment than any other form of marketing!
How to effectively implement ABM?
Account-based marketing is complicated and there is quite the learning curve. This is because you are no longer targeting specific demographics or personas, but individual organisations. As such, the playing field changes slightly and you must adjust accordingly. Here are six-steps toward implementing a successful ABM strategy:
- Identify your strategic accounts: The first step is to identify the key strategic accounts that can bring your business the most value. What is the common makeup of organisations that can bring you the most monthly revenue? Define their industry, size, location, upsell opportunity, profit margins / annual revenue etc. Those that can provide you with long-term profit are the ones to go after.
- Conduct a thorough investigation: Now it’s time to think strategically and delve even deeper into your strategic accounts. Learn more about how they make decisions, explore the intricate makings of their organisation and think carefully about how you can influence and engage them.
- Product personalised content & messaging: Following your investigation it’s time to put the data you’ve collected into action. You now must use that knowledge to create highly specialised content that is designed to resonate with these key accounts on a personal level. How can you appeal to them and demonstrate that you are positioned to solve their problems?
- Select the best channels for your ABM campaign: Once you have some amazing, personalised content and messaging ready to fire, think about the best channels for executing your ABM campaign. If you are B2B, LinkedIn is an amazing platform for outreach. Perhaps Facebook, or Google Display Ads would be a better approach? This is a crucial step that requires careful consideration. You’ll have a hard time hunting a whale on land.
- Put your campaign into action: After all of your hard work and preparation you are finally ready to spring into action and see what happens! Go for it! But, try not to overwhelm your target. Find the right balance and do not abuse your remarketing powers.
- Measure your results: After your campaign has been running for a month or two, take stock and evaluate your progress. Is your personalised content proving to be engaging? Are your target accounts more engaged with you? Are you expanding your connection to stakeholders within the target organisation? Have you moved any targeted leads down the sales funnel? Have you generated any revenue from your campaigns? What is working and what can you do differently?
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t knock it out of the park immediately. It’s all about pivoting, evolving, and improving.
Check out our guide on the differences between ABX, ABM and lead generation for a refresh.
Alternatively, you can work with a professional digital marketing agency who specialises in ABM if you don’t feel particularly confident setting up and running something like this yourself. If you want to see an uplift in personalised marketing campaigns, book a call with the BlueMelon Design business development team.