Account-Based Marketing For Newbies
Not all customers are good customers.
Revolutionary, I know, but it’s not just about “bad” customers. You know the ones that take up 80% of your time but only pay 20% of your revenue? That’s the subject of another blog post.
Here, I’m talking about finding and attracting the customers you really, really want. The ones that will not only pay your bills but be the ones you enjoy working with.
Here’s where the concept of account-based marketing (ABM) can enter the room.
What is ABM?
Account-based marketing is a strategic approach to marketing that focuses on building relationships with a specific set of target accounts. The goal of ABM is to create personalized campaigns that will resonate with each account. This approach is in contrast to traditional marketing, which often takes a one-size-fits-all approach.
An account-based marketing strategy is based on the idea that not all accounts are created equal. Some accounts are more valuable to a company than others. Using a data-driven approach, ABM targets accounts to create personalized marketing campaigns. This way, companies can allocate their marketing resources more effectively and achieve better results.
Is this approach risky? Maybe, but marketing doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. Meaning, you don’t have to decide between ABM or traditional marketing. You can adopt a hybrid approach.
What are the benefits of ABM?
There are many benefits to using ABM, including:
- Shorter sales cycles: By focusing on a specific set of accounts, companies can shorten their sales cycles by tailoring their messaging and offers to each account.
- Improved ROI: ABM can lead to a higher return on investment (ROI) for marketing campaigns. This is because companies are able to focus their resources on accounts that are most likely to convert.
- Increased customer satisfaction: ABM can lead to increased customer satisfaction by providing a more personalized experience. This can lead to increased customer loyalty and retention.
- Improved alignment between sales and marketing teams: ABM can help to improve alignment between sales and marketing teams by providing a common goal and set of metrics.
What are the risks of ABM?
Account-based marketing (ABM) is a strategic approach to marketing that focuses on building relationships with a specific set of target accounts. It can be a very effective way to generate leads and close deals, but there are also some risks associated with ABM.
Here are some of the potential risks of ABM:
- Scope creep: ABM can be a very resource-intensive strategy, and it’s important to carefully define the scope of your ABM program to avoid scope creep. This includes identifying your target accounts, setting realistic goals, and allocating the necessary resources.
- Lack of buy-in: ABM requires buy-in from all stakeholders, including sales, marketing, and executive leadership. If there is not enough buy-in, the ABM program is unlikely to be successful.
- Data quality: ABM relies heavily on data, so it’s important to have high-quality data on your target accounts. Without accurate data, it will be difficult to create personalized campaigns that resonate with your target audience.
- Misalignment between sales and marketing: ABM requires close alignment between sales and marketing teams. If these teams are not aligned, it can lead to confusion and frustration, and it can make it difficult to achieve the desired results.
- Lack of measurement: It’s important to track the results of your ABM program to measure its success. Without proper measurement, it will be difficult to determine whether your ABM program is achieving its goals.
How to implement ABM
Step 1: Identify Your Target Accounts
The first step in implementing ABM is to identify your target accounts. These are the accounts that are most valuable to your company and that you are most likely to be able to close. There are a few factors to consider when identifying your target accounts, such as:
- Industry: What industries are you targeting?
- Revenue: What is the annual revenue of your target accounts?
- Location: Where are your target accounts located?
- Decision-makers: Who are the key decision-makers at your target accounts?
- Firmographics: Are there any other firmographic characteristics that are important to your target accounts?
You can use a variety of data sources to identify your target accounts, including:
- Customer relationship management (CRM) data: Your CRM system may already contain some of the information you need to identify your target accounts.
- Marketing automation data: Your marketing automation system can track website visitors, email opens, and other engagement data that can help you identify potential target accounts.
- Third-party data: There are a number of third-party data providers that can sell you data on potential target accounts.
- Industry reports: Industry reports can provide you with information on the size and scope of your target market
- Networking: Networking with other professionals in your industry can help you identify potential target accounts.
Step 2: Research Your Target Accounts
Once you have identified your target accounts, you need to research them to learn as much as you can about them. This includes:
- Understanding their needs and challenges: What are the business goals and challenges of your target accounts?
- Identifying their decision-makers: Who are the key decision-makers at your target accounts? What are their roles and responsibilities?
- Learning about their buying process: How do your target accounts make purchasing decisions?
- Researching their competitors: Who are your target accounts’ competitors? What are their strengths and weaknesses? Consider doing a SWOT analysis of both your target account and their competitors.
Step 3: Create Personalized Marketing Campaigns
Once you know your target accounts, you can create personalized marketing campaigns that will resonate with them. This includes:
- Tailoring your messaging to each account: Use data to understand the specific needs and challenges of each account and tailor your messaging accordingly.
- Creating custom content: Create custom content, such as blog posts, white papers, and case studies, that are relevant to each account.
- Using targeted advertising: Use targeted advertising to reach your target accounts on platforms where they are most likely to be active.
- Engaging with them on social media: Engage with your target accounts on social media by sharing relevant content and participating in conversations.
Step 4: Track Your Results
It is important to track the results of your ABM campaigns to measure their success. This will help you to identify what is working and what is not, so you can make adjustments as needed. Some of the metrics you can track include:
- Website traffic: How much website traffic are you generating from your target accounts?
- Engagement: How engaged are your target accounts with your content?
- Lead generation: How many leads are you generating from your target accounts?
- Conversion rates: How many of your leads from your target accounts are converting into customers?
- Customer retention: How many of your customers from your target accounts are renewing their contracts?
By tracking your results, you can make sure that your ABM program is achieving its goals and that you are getting the most out of your investment.
Tools that help with ABM
Here is a list and an explanation of some ABM tools that can help you implement ABM:
HubSpot ABM is an ABM tool that helps businesses identify, prioritize, and engage with their target accounts. It offers a wide range of features, including account scoring, lead routing, and personalized marketing campaigns.
Adobe Marketo Engage
Adobe Marketo Engage is an ABM tool that helps businesses identify, target, and engage with their target accounts. It offers a wide range of features, including account segmentation, lead scoring, and sales-marketing alignment.
Salesforce Pardot is an ABM tool that helps businesses identify, target, and engage with their target accounts. It offers a wide range of features, including account profiling, lead nurturing, and closed-loop reporting.
Oracle Eloqua is an ABM tool that helps businesses identify, target, and engage with their target accounts. It offers a wide range of features, including account segmentation, lead scoring, and customer journey mapping.
Terminus is an ABM tool that helps businesses identify, engage, and close target accounts. It offers a wide range of features, including account identification, account engagement, and campaign management.
Demandbase is an ABM tool that helps businesses identify, target, and engage with their target accounts. It offers a wide range of features, including account data enrichment, account orchestration, and account-based sales analytics.
These are just a few of the tools out there that can help you implement account-based marketing tactics to improve your bottom line.
ABM can be a very effective way to generate leads and close deals, but it is important to carefully plan and execute your ABM program to avoid the risks. By following the steps outlined in this blog post, you can increase your chances of success with ABM.
Cliff Tillery, MBA is the Chief Operating Officer and SEO Director at Make It Loud which is a digital marketing firm located outside of Atlanta Georgia. More than 14 years ago, he started search engine optimization at this award-winning agency and has taught digital marketing skills to business owners at the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, the Gwinnett Entrepreneur Center, and other groups.