Are you a traditional marketer who casts a wide net with your marketing efforts and hopes for the best, then gets frustrated when you don’t get any results?
Then, it is time to consider account-based marketing (ABM) - a powerful strategy taking the marketing world by storm.
ABM is a hyper-targeted strategy that concentrates on specific accounts or customers and shapes your marketing initiatives to suit their requirements and preferences. For companies looking to improve ROI and customer retention, it's a game-changer.
But where do you even begin when trying to adopt ABM?
Do not worry.
We have got you covered.
In this article, we will review everything you need to know to implement ABM successfully.
So, grab a pen and paper, and let's get started!
What Is Account-Based Marketing?
Account-based marketing (ABM) is the marketers’ response to the traditional B2B sales and marketing funnel.
The traditional marketing funnel has many flaws, as it can not convert many of its leads into customers. These flaws are mainly because the process is too complicated and broad while not personalized enough.
According to Forrester Research, over 99% of leads generated using the traditional method never become customers!
Marketers must take a more targeted approach to B2B marketing and create more personalized and stronger customer relationships to solve such issues. Enter Account-based marketing (ABM)
Account-based marketing (ABM) is a strategy where marketing and sales teams work closely together to create personalized content for a target group of high-value prospects.
ABM focuses its efforts on those high-value prospects and redirects its approach to their specific needs and preferences. And it is effective—40% of businesses aim to increase their account-based marketing (ABM) efforts "a lot" in the upcoming years.
How Does ABM Work?
Account-based marketing involves a collaborative effort between sales, marketing, and customer success teams.
ABM uses multiple channels to target prospects who fit your ideal customer profile well. ABM software integrates with CRM or marketing automation tools to create campaigns focusing on target accounts. It engages the contacts in your database and targets other important decision-makers at these accounts.
Account-based marketing software allows for personalized engagement with target buyers across various personas, sales stages, campaigns, and CRM statuses.
Unlike the traditional marketing approach, which was based on the one-size-fits-all strategy, ABM has become a must-try strategy for creating a personalized buying experience with highly targeted messaging.
You can define account-based marketing by five attributes:
Targeted Accounts with Qualification
All organizations always try to find their best-fitting customers. They call them the ideal customer profile (ICP). After finding them, you must make them happy by providing them with the highest-quality product or service.
Data and intelligence are essential in making the approach more personalized and effective regarding account-based marketing plans. Marketers must have an accurate understanding and information about the key target accounts.
By sharing insights and knowledge across different teams of your organization, you can take a more humanized and personalized approach toward your target customers.
It helps you build a better relationship and improve your account-based marketing plan's overall effectiveness and success.
Alignment of Sales, Marketing, and Customer Support
Organizations use multiple marketing strategies to acquire new customers and increase their revenue over time.
These strategies involve several channels, including email, social media, and advertising. It also involves multiple touchpoints, such as landing pages and call-to-actions (CTAs).
You can also collaborate with other organizations for brand growth and create more opportunities for customer acquisition.
All of the above efforts aim to acquire new customers for your company and help you build long-lasting relationships with them by providing them with valuable products and services.
Personalized Buyer Experience
Traditional marketing models focused on acquiring many leads and often relied on standardized approaches to marketing and sales.
This approach does not provide your customers a personalized experience and usually leads to lower conversion rates.
On the other hand, account-based marketing takes a more targeted approach by focusing on a smaller group of prospects.
ABM provides businesses with more personalized campaigns that address the unique needs of each potential customer. Implementing ABM increased the chances of converting potential customers into long-term loyal clients.
While traditional marketing strategies focus mainly on the number of people attending webinars or other events, account-based marketing focuses on planning and monitoring individualized campaigns for each target account.
Are ABM and Lead Generation the Same Thing?
Considering the above information, you may think ABM and lead generation are similar.
Though they have some similarities, they are two different approaches. An example may elaborate on the situation more vividly.
Imagine you run a company that provides software services to financial institutions. To reach out to your potential customers, you may create SEO-optimized content targeting financial firms in general and hope they will contact you for more information.
The above inbound marketing strategy is one of the most used lead-generation strategies among businesses, but this approach has a few things that you must improve.
One of the most critical problems with this approach is that you do not know who is responsible for making decisions at those companies.
This is where ABM comes in handy and allows you to create suitable and personalized content for each potential customer.
Account-Based Marketing Models
ABM falls into three categories, which we will briefly discuss in the following paragraphs.
This model allows you to win over some really big clients.
It is all about focusing on a few key customers who can potentially generate massive revenue for your organization.
You must create compelling and catchy content and inbound marketing programs to grab the attention of the decision-makers at those target prospects.
The large account model is a great way to expand your business and reach the next level.
This ABM model works best for sales teams trying to reach different accounts.
Named account targets hundreds or even thousands of prospects, depending on the size of your sales team.
It helps you effectively convert those prospects into loyal customers, especially if your organization has just launched new products or is entering a new market.
A named account is a smart strategy to help you stay ahead of the competition and keep growing your business.
Focused Lead Generation Strategies
This model works best for marketing teams targeting specific accounts.
Focused lead generation and prospecting strategies involve an account-based approach to segment your target accounts and allocate your resources more effectively.
More specifically, when you want to go after certain accounts but are unsure if they suit your business, you can use an account-based approach to narrow your focus and spend more time on those more likely to be a good match.
This ABM model is about being more efficient with your resources and ensuring you spend your time and money where it counts.
A focused lead generation approach is the best strategy to maximize your ROI and get the most out of your marketing efforts.
All models of ABM involve targeting specific accounts, but the approach varies based on the number and size of targeted accounts.
In all cases, the goal is to improve the effectiveness of marketing and sales efforts by targeting high-value prospects with personalized, targeted messaging and content.
The following image explains all the differences and similarities clearly.
Account-Based Marketing Benefits
A business must have a good relationship with its customers to succeed and survive in today’s crowded marketplace.
This is why all organizations constantly look for innovative ways to engage and connect with their target audience.
They hope to build more than just a one-time purchase but a loyal, long-lasting relationship.
The account-based marketing approach is innovative in building solid and loyal customer relationships.
Here are the different benefits of implementing ABM.
ABM Provides Marketing and Sales Alignment
While both marketing and sales teams work toward the same goals, the majority of them do not usually cooperate.
They usually have different perspectives or misunderstandings that can lead to conflicts.
According to a study, most B2B marketers, precisely 82%, believe that ABM can significantly improve the relationship between the sales and marketing teams.
The conflict between the marketing and sales teams can be problematic for the business's growth and success, while ABM can bring these teams together by establishing a mutual strategy.
ABM ensures everyone in both teams is on the same page and understands their specific roles in nurturing a prospect into becoming a customer.
Account-based marketing encourages team teamwork to create account plans and foster better communication between the two departments.
Marketing and sales teams working together more closely through ABM leads to better results for the company.
61% of companies have reported that ABM has helped them generate more high-quality opportunities to add to their sales pipeline.
It means they can grow their business and achieve their revenue goals by bringing in more of the target customers.
Maximizing the Effectiveness of Your Time and Resources by Focusing on the Right Prospects
Personalization is the key to an account-based marketing approach.
It means you must harmonize and plan for everything, from the content to how you communicate. It helps you increase your relevance to your target accounts.
Personalization shows your target accounts that your company understands their specific challenges and offers solutions relevant to their needs.
Focusing on personalization enables your business to make the best use of your time and money and convinces your target audience that you are the right choice for them.
71% of customers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions and treat them as if they are not just another face in the crowd.
ABM Enables Accurate and Impactful Return On Investment (ROI).
You can keep track of the ROI for every account you prioritize and dedicate your time and resources to using ABM.
It helps you determine whether those accounts are beneficial for your business or not.
After determining the most beneficial accounts, you can nurture and maintain them while it enables you to identify and target similar accounts in the future.
When marketers focused on quality over quantity in their ABM accounts, 73% saw an average deal size increase.
Taking the time to build strong relationships with the right accounts can pay off.
Prospect-Specific Offers for High-Value Accounts
Account-based marketing allows you to create a unique and customized experience for each of your target prospects individually.
It shows you own the perfect product or service for their unique challenges and needs.
It enables you to position your business as the go-to solution for their problems, which makes it more likely that they will choose you over your competitors.
Organized Sales Cycle
Every selling process has some steps that allow you to convert a potential customer into a happy buyer.
Account-based marketing makes this process simpler and more efficient.
ABM helps you to, instead of trying to appeal to everyone and wasting resources on prospects that may not be a good fit for your business, focus on a select group of high-value accounts that are more likely to become loyal customers.
The following stages of the process are the most important stages that you need to consider more carefully:
- Finding the right prospects to target
- Showing those prospects how your business can help them
- Closing the deal with those prospects
- Delighting your customers once they are on board.
Successful Sales Conversations
ABM proved to be highly advantageous for approximately 85% of marketers as they reported a significant improvement in retaining and expanding their existing client relationships.
Using ABM to target specific prospects makes everything much easier for your sales team. When your sales representatives reach out to those target accounts, potential buyers will already be introduced to your company's message.
This makes it more likely that they will be receptive to your sales pitch and open to conversing with your sales team.
It is a way to warm up your prospects and make it easier for your sales team to build relationships with them.
Expand Business Through Account Relationships
According to experts in the field, using ABM can significantly benefit you in retaining and expanding your current customer relationships.
You must research and target high-value prospects that align with your business goals to implement ABM effectively.
Personalized interactions show these prospects you respect them and how your specific products or services help them solve their unique challenges. Additionally, solid alignment between your marketing and sales teams can help streamline the sales cycle and provide consistent and personalized experiences for your target prospects.
Account-Based Marketing Strategies
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to define the best account-based marketing strategy.
However, based on the research and insights from industry experts, the best ABM strategy depends on your business, industry, and target prospects.
A successful ABM strategy requires alignment and collaboration between your marketing and sales teams and ongoing tracking and analysis of results to improve and adjust your approach continuously.
The following steps will help you plan the best-fitting ABM strategy for your organization.
Create Your Customers’ Persona
After aligning your marketing and sales teams’ strategies, they can determine which account personas they should target the most.
This typically involves some research to identify the right accounts to pursue.
Marketers should consider factors like their ideal customer's mission, vision, business objectives, and revenue model to investigate the right accounts. Marketers should also note any high-value prospects already engaging with their company through inbound B2B marketing efforts.
Rank Your Prospects
Once you have a list of potential customers, it is time to figure out the most promising ones.
You must look for specific behaviors from your prospects, such as visiting your website multiple times or asking questions in forums, indicating they are interested in solutions like your offer.
You must identify the contact who seems most reachable within each company.
For instance, it can be a promising sign that a senior vice president is interested in your company and could potentially become a lead if they reshare or reblog your posts on social media or reach out and ask a question.
Sales and Marketing Alignment
Creating a successful ABM strategy requires effective collaboration between sales and marketing teams. You should prioritize hot leads and use personalized outreach to establish connections with them.
Finally, ongoing communication and alignment between sales and marketing teams are crucial to ensure the success and effectiveness of the ABM strategy.
Plan for Every Account
After figuring out which prospects you want to target, it is time to create account plans.
Keep the following things in mind while creating account plans for your ABM strategy:
- Every account plan must be tailored to the account's specific needs, even if some plans are similar.
- Each account plan should answer two important questions: Who is the decision-maker, and what content will each person need to see to get them interested?
Related Contacts to High-Value Accounts
Using the inbound marketing strategy helps attract people connected to your target accounts.
But if you need to find more contacts, you'll need to figure out where your ideal contacts are looking for solutions similar to what you offer.
For example, you might try contacting potential contacts through events, industry blogs, newsletters, or targeted ads. It is best not to use all these options but to focus on the ones most relevant to your target accounts and contacts.
Account-Based Marketing Tactics
When you are implementing ABM, there are things you can do to make it more likely that you will succeed.
You could try different tactics to make your company's ABM activities better. This could help you achieve better results and do a better job with your ABM approach.
Here is a list of all tactics you could consider before implementing ABM:
Come Up With Deals Intended to Prompt Meetings
It aims to help the sales team get potential customers to agree to a meeting.
For example, a social analytics company might offer a live research report that analyzes a business's social media performance compared to its competitors.
Organizations can also offer free technology assessments or security audits. These offers encourage potential clients and leads to an appointment setting with the sales team.
Customize Your Content Marketing for Each Customer
Tailor your content marketing to effectively reach your ideal customers. Generic content is impractical in ABM; you must provide the specific information your customers seek.
Last, it doesn’t matter which platform you promote your content; you must customize it to meet your customers' needs. It helps you establish deeper connections with your customers and build stronger relationships.
Implement Retargeting to Keep Your Brand in Front of Your Target Accounts.
You can benefit from a retargeting strategy if you want your brand to be memorable and hard to forget for a particular account and its employees as they browse online.
There are retargeting innovations that are specially designed for account-based marketing initiatives.
Use Video to Differentiate Yourself from Your Competitors
Videos are known to be highly effective at grabbing the attention of your potential customers.
Did you know that adding videos to your email nurturing campaigns can be a great way to introduce your brand to new leads and get them more engaged with your content than plain text emails?
According to a report by Vidyard, personalized video campaigns have a 16x increase in click-through rates compared to generic video campaigns.
Have you ever considered using screen share videos to showcase your ideas, products, or website to potential clients?
Instead of sending a plain text email, create a personalized video. A selfie-style video is an easy way to do this. You can hold up a whiteboard with your prospect’s name written at the beginning of the video. You can address their pains and show how your solution can help them through a video.
It grabs their attention and makes them feel special that you took the time to create something just for them.
Create Videos That Explain Your Product or Service and Establish Your Thought Leadership in the Industry.
You must create video content that you can use in nurture programs or by sales teams in ABM strategies.
Explainer videos are great options for ABM because they can answer common questions your prospects or customers might have.
Thought leadership videos help position your organization as an authority in the industry, which is very effective for building trust and credibility.
Customize the User's Website Experience to Suit Their Preferences.
You must ensure your campaigns are targeted and effective to succeed in your ABM.
One way to achieve such a goal is by personalizing your landing pages. It means creating unique landing pages for each account using designed content, images, offers and forms specific to the person or company who visits their webpage.
You can also include the visitor’s name on the landing page to make their experience more personalized.
Employ Online Advertising Designed for Specific Audiences
The last thing you want is to waste time and money on reaching the wrong people while marketing. Instead of bombarding everyone with the same old ads, make your marketing more personal and targeted.
Designing your ads for specific groups of people or businesses allows you to connect with people more meaningfully. Platforms like LinkedIn make finding the right people for your brand message easy.
Experiment with Direct Mail Campaigns Targeting Executives
Though direct mail seems to be a thing of the past, it is still a great way to connect with certain groups of executives.
Some executives are not into webinars or white papers and may even ignore emails or social media posts from companies or salespeople. Direct mail is the best way to attract their attention in these cases.
For example, a company wanted to make a splash at a big conference, so they sent empty iPad boxes to some top executives. The message of this act was asking them to come to their booth at the event to collect their new iPads.
It surprisingly worked! Many people came to check out their booth and learn about the company.
Incorporate Customer Testimonials into Your Marketing Strategy.
It is always more convincing if people endorse you when you want to sell something.
Show potential customers that others like them are happy with your product or service.
Ask your customers for feedback, and if they say nice things, ask their permission to use their words in your marketing.
You also have the option to create case studies that illustrate how your product or service has benefited your customers in real-life situations.
Pro Tip: Divide Customer Testimonials into Tiers
Make your customer testimonials personal and relevant to make them more effective.
It would help if you created testimonials covering your products’ most common uses to achieve such a goal. You can also create stories that focus on specific ways that different groups of people use your product or service.
Though making fancy videos for every testimonial is too expensive, asking your customers to record their videos is the best solution.
Most customers would love the chance to be part of your marketing and help you build trust with your target audience.
Create a List of Valid Contacts Based on Their Roles.
You can use different vendors to get help creating a targeted contacts list for your account-based marketing. These vendors specialize in building lists based on people’s roles or responsibilities and guarantee the contacts are still active.
A role-based list is much more helpful than just using job titles. This kind of targeted approach allows you to make the most out of your marketing resources.
Account-Based Marketing Tools
Account-based marketing software is a crucial tool you need to have while implementing ABM.
Though multiple tools are available in the market and have similar features, each is slightly different.
These tools have different strengths and weaknesses depending on your organization’s needs and goals, so you must evaluate each tool regarding your company’s unique needs before making the final decision.
Account-Based Marketing For B2B Businesses
There are many differences when it comes to B2B vs. B2C marketing.
B2C companies must appeal to the needs of individual consumers in their advertising; however, B2B marketing operates differently. When you sell your product or service to another business, a single individual rarely makes the purchase decision.
The number of people involved in the decision-making process depends on the company's size. This is one of the essential reasons ABM strategy benefits B2B companies.
ABM allows B2B companies to increase their chance of success by focusing on building strong, long-term relationships with key accounts.
Use LinkedIn for ABM
Did you know LinkedIn can be useful for B2B companies targeting specific prospects?
According to a recent report, over 70% of marketers already use social media for ABM.
LinkedIn helps you build meaningful relationships with key decision-makers at your target companies.
Instead of using impersonal third-party data, you can use LinkedIn to connect with potential customers, use LinkedIn to connect with potential customers more personally.
Implement Account-Based Marketing to Your Business with AI bees
After reading the information above, I hope you are sufficiently intrigued by the opportunities ABM presents for your company.
Account-based marketing lets you focus on the most valuable accounts and build strong relationships with them.
You can also increase the chances of closing deals and drive more revenue.
Take the next step and implement ABM for your business using AI bees.
AI bees’ team of experts helps you develop and execute a successful ABM strategy, using the latest tools and techniques to deliver results. We handle everything from creating customized content to managing your advertising campaigns.
Contact AI bees to learn more about how it can help harness the power of ABM and take your business to the next level.