Account-based marketing (ABM) improves traditional digital marketing techniques by adding a personal touch.
ABM adoption has exploded in recent years as marketing firms rush to take advantage of the latest innovation. Yet, despite its widespread adoption, there's still widespread confusion about what constitutes effective ABM.
That's why we've put together this handy guide. You'll learn some of the top tricks and tips to get the most out of your ABM strategy. We'll teach you best practices, short cuts, and we'll even introduce you to a few of our favorite ABM software systems.
ABM is a business-to-business (B2B) digital marketing strategy that hyper-focuses on a single business or specific niche. This high level of specialization leads to better conversion rates and more profitable deals. Yet, how does it work?
You'll start by creating your ideal customer profile (ICP). An ICP is a detailed description of the person who would most benefit from buying your product. Once you've identified the type of person you want to sell to, it's time to go out and find them. You can use virtually any form of marketing to reach your ICP, including:
Social media (usually LinkedIn in the B2B world)
Outreach/Outbound sales teams
The type of marketing that you choose will reflect the specific needs of the business you're targeting, your budget, and the strategies that you're most familiar with. More likely than not, you'll want to engage in several of the above account-based marketing tactics. For example, you might create a whitepaper specifically addressing a problem faced by your target industry.
You could bolster your authority by commissioning a series of well-researched articles to create a topic cluster. You could then promote these on social media via a pay-per-click advertising campaign. After people have clicked on your link, you could retarget the most interested and relevant targets with an email marketing campaign containing multiple touchpoints.
ABM campaigns let you quickly reach decision-makers at the companies who are more likely to purchase the product.
Higher conversion rates
According to a recent study by McKinsey, 71 percent of customers expect a personalized experience. More importantly, 76 percent feel frustrated when they don't receive it. You'll have a hard time converting leads if you can't provide more than a cookie-cutter experience.
Traditional digital marketing methods can't pass muster. Almost by default, advertisers are forced to offer bland and boilerplate solutions to appeal to the broadest demographic possible. ABM flips that logic on its head by abandoning the ineffective shotgun approach for a laser-guided strategic pathway.
More profitable deals
According to one survey, 87 percent of companies believe that ABM delivers higher ROI than all other forms of marketing. When you tailor your marketing strategy to the needs of your targets, you're more likely to strike more profitable deals.
It's also easier to measure the inputs and outputs making it a very metric-driven approach to digital marketing.
Longer lasting relationships
ABM campaigns typically lead to longer deals and relationships compared to other marketing and sales tactics. The crux of ABM is that you're identifying specific pain points faced by a company or industry niche.
Companies are made up of people, and people like to feel valued. When you center your marketing campaign around providing bespoke solutions, you're going out of your way to endear yourself to your prospective customers.
You can engage in one of the following three types of ABM campaigns. Each has drawbacks and advantages.
Generally speaking, the fewer companies you target, the more you'll spend per company, and the higher the chance of making a conversion. When you target more companies, you'll spend less per company, but your conversion rate will suffer.
One to one
One-to-one doesn't have to literally mean that you're only targeting one account. Instead, this hyper-focused approach may encompass anywhere from one to five campaigns. By laser-focusing your efforts, you'll up your chances of making a deal.
When you engage in this type of marketing campaign, you'll get to minutely target your marketing campaign to the specific needs of a single firm. Because of the cost involved, you only want to focus on sizable accounts. For example, you might use this strategy to court a major brand like Pepsi or Nike.
Part of embracing a one-to-one strategy is becoming intimately familiar with the key players in your target company. You can use publicly available information gleaned from LinkedIn or other websites to identify the decision-makers you need to engage.
The better you can understand and market to these people, the more likely you'll be to make a sale and establish a lasting working relationship.
One to few
This strategy typically encompasses anywhere from six to 30 accounts. You'll want to group your targeted businesses by industry. With a one to few ABM strategy, you can engage in limited customizations. Rather than focusing on the pain points of individual companies, you'll want to address niche problems, preferably those that aren't currently being addressed.
You might consider using awareness-driving marketing tools, such as content marketing, automated email campaigns, and pay-per-click campaigns. This approach lets you straddle the line between personalization and mass marketing.
One to many
With a one-to-many approach, you'll target 30 or more businesses simultaneously. Your overall strategy will resemble a normal digital marketing campaign. However, you'll still provide a personalized touch. To that end, you should take advantage of automation and smart software that can tweak form emails and other marketing materials for greater customization.
Consider using one of the following account-based marketing tips to enhance your next campaign.
ABM tweak 1
Reevaluate your account tiering strategy. According to Demandbase CEO Gabe Rogol, when you're faced with resource constraints, it's a good idea to use intent data and predictive modeling to suss out the businesses that are most likely to convert.
You'll likely have to go after fewer businesses, and you may shift your attention more toward your existing customer base versus new business prospects. That's because you already have a relationship with the former making them a surer bet in the near term.
ABM tweak 2
Segmentation is an all too often overlooked driver of successful ABM campaigns. Remember, you may be in B2B sales, but you're still selling to people. When you create an ICP, you're picturing the type of person that you'd like to sell to.
Before you can launch a marketing campaign, you need to identify the key decision-makers that you're going to market to.
That's where segmentation comes in. As Jason Keller, Director of Marketing Operations at WebMechanix, explains, we have a wealth of information available at our fingertips. When we do our research, we can make better-informed decisions about the people we market to and how we choose to market to them.
ABM tweak 3
Gauge customer intent using third-party data collection tools like Leadfeeder, Bombora, and Zoominfo. Jaena Ochabillo, Senior Account-Based Marketing Manager at N.Rich, has helpfully pointed out how using customer data can help you create a personalized buyer journey. The more specific you can get the better.
ABM tweak 4
"It’s about treating each account like your company’s best friend," Christian Lowery, Senior Manager for Account Based Marketing at VMware.
Don't succumb to the temptation to treat ABM as just a collection of strategies, or worse, a trendy new buzzword. At its core, ABM is all about establishing a close, personal bond between you and your leads. That means going beyond the confines of traditional customer-client relations. If you want to succeed in the world of ABM, it's absolutely critical that you understand the needs of your customers at an intimate level.
ABM tweak 5
Don't underestimate the buyer cycle. That tidbit of ABM wisdom came directly from Madison Logic, a leading marketing agency that specializes in ABM. One of the great advantages of using an ABM strategy is the shorter-than-average sales cycle. However, that doesn't give you carte blanche to skip straight to the end.
Make sure that you're doing what's necessary to connect to your customer. Following the appropriate steps will ensure that your leads feel comfortable and knowledgeable about the service or product that you're selling. When it comes time to purchase, you want them to make a confident decision.
Don't feel like you have to go out and put all five of the above recommendations into practice immediately. Instead, pick one or two that you think would help your business the most, and see how it goes. Rinse and repeat until you've passed through all five of our tweaks. Pay attention to your metrics, and don't forget to follow the steps for account-based marketing best practices.
Top 3 tools that we recommend
These tools can help you run a successful ABM campaign. Integrate one or more of the following into your next campaign.
LeadGenius uses software and good old-fashioned research to mine valuable information which you can use in your next ABM campaign. The service is targeted toward mid-sized to enterprise-level businesses meaning it might be out of reach for smaller firms. However, it boasts a 9.1 times average return on investment, making one of its custom data sets a worthwhile purchase.
It comes with a free plan if you'd like to try it before you buy it. With LeadGenius, you'll gain access to B2B data, data outsourcing, and robotic process automation. You'll have access to a data scientist, a project manager, and a customer success manager.
Companies that elect to use their growth automation tool see an average of 10 times more qualified leads, a 50 percent jump in efficiency for their salespeople, and a sales cycle that is twice as fast as before.
Vainu provides dynamic company information that makes it easy to find and segment the best leads for your business. Use its hundreds of filters to uncover the best fits based on relevant variables and signals. You'll gain access to more than 75 million company profiles which you can sort by more than 300 company attributes and over 900 proprietary industry categories.
Datanyze lets you build a personalized lead list for your next ABM campaign. While you'll have to reach out to get a quote for its paid plan, you can take advantage of Datanyze's free Chrome extension to easily find relevant data, including contact information from social media websites.
You'll also gain access to a full array of helpful tools like icebreakers or short messages you can use to establish contact with a target company.
While we don’t claim to be an ABM tool, Leadfeeder complements any ABM strategy or marketing campaigns that you may have in place. You can use Leadfeeder to identify potential high-quality leads from the people who are already visiting your websites. We make it easy to identify and connect with key decision-makers at the targets you've identified.
Leadfeeder integrates with all major CRM and marketing automation tools. You can use Leadfeeder to get the ball rolling on your next ABM campaign. We'll get you the firmographic data you need to make informed strategic decisions before you get started.
Ready to learn more about how you can enhance your next ABM campaign? Take a look at these novel account-based marketing examples to learn how real companies have used ABM strategies to identify and convert high-value leads.
Let us energize your next account-based marketing plan. Leadfeeder is uniquely poised to help you find and connect with high-quality prospects.
Although we can't guide you through the entire ABM process, Leadfeeder streamlines the early stages of the marketing process, setting you up for later success. Plus, you can use our detailed analytics to learn more about your website traffic.
Ready to take your business to the next level? Sign up for our 14-day free trial today.
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