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All You Need to Know About Account Based Marketing (ABM)

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If you've been keeping up with the latest marketing trends, you've probably come across Account-Based Marketing (ABM) more than once. In the business growth world, marketing often brings trends of strategies that leverage the latest market changes and digital platform innovations. The goal is to align marketing with the business strategy, deliver better sales results, lower financial costs, and ultimately, better outcomes for all involved. So, if you want to know what ABM is, what it's for, how it's implemented, and above all, if it's the right marketing strategy for your company, this article is for you. 
 
Digital platforms evolve rapidly, and what worked for your business not long ago, often falls short when it comes to targeting high-value accounts effectively. That's where Account-Based Marketing (ABM) comes into play, changing the way businesses engage with their most valuable prospects.

What is Account Based Marketing (ABM)?

At its core, ABM is a strategic approach that focuses on targeting specific high-value accounts, rather than casting a wide net to attract a broader audience.  

ABM is the next step in digital segmentation, focusing on the bottom of the marketing funnel. In short, ABM aims to target high-value audiences to exclusively attract prospects from pre-selected groups. In many cases, the transaction you make involves “paying for leads” that you've attracted through high interest content that went in front of this highly segmented group of people. 

Unlike traditional marketing methods that aim to attract leads and then qualify them, ABM flips the funnel by identifying target accounts first and tailoring marketing efforts to resonate with their unique needs and challenges.

What are the Benefits of Account Based Marketing (ABM) for Growth Marketing?

  • Personalisation: To prepare an ABM campaign, you will need to predefine a specific market segment. ABM allows you to create highly personalised campaigns tailored to the specific needs and pain points of individual target accounts. By delivering relevant content and messaging, ABM fosters stronger connections and engagement with key decision-makers. 
  • Precision Targeting: ABM adopts laser-focus targeting. Your efforts will reach the most valuable prospects, ensuring that resources are allocated efficiently and effectively. This targeted approach maximises the likelihood of success and delivers a higher return on investment (ROI). 
  • Alignment with Sales: One of the defining features of ABM is its emphasis on collaboration between marketing and sales teams. By aligning their efforts, organisations can ensure that they're targeting the right accounts with the right messages at the right time, ultimately driving better outcomes. 
  • Maximise your Business Relevance Among Your High-Value Accounts: By focusing your efforts on specific segments that hold significant value to your business, you can ensure that your marketing messages resonate more effectively with these prospects, leading to increased opportunities for business growth and success.

How Important is ABM to B2B Marketing?

B2B Marketing typically targets specific prospects rather than broad audiences like in B2C, making Account Based Marketing a vital strategy. It's all about prioritising quality over quantity. With ABM, you're not casting a wide net; instead, you're pinpointing the prospects most likely to convert into deals.  

By cultivating these high-potential accounts, ABM streamlines the path to a sales approach, saving considerable time and resources in the process. Moreover, building strong, trusting relationships with these targeted accounts pays dividends in the long run, fostering customer loyalty and retention. Given that acquiring new customers is often more costly than retaining existing ones, ABM offers a significant boost to the bottom line.

 

How to Know if Your Company is a Good Fit for Implementing an Account Based Marketing (ABM) Strategy?

ABM operates differently from the traditional sales funnel you're familiar with. To successfully implement an ABM strategy, your company needs to be prepared in the following ways: 

1. Marketing and Sales Team Alignment

ABM requires these two teams to collaborate closely. This integration goes beyond people working together; it involves aligning budgets, defining scopes of work, establishing shared workflows, ensuring seamless transitions for customers between teams for a coherent customer experience, using combined measurements and KPIs, and CRM integration utilising the same sales and customer relationship management platforms. 

2. Account Qualification or Account Tiering

Your company must clearly define the profile of your prospects. Determining who would be considered a high-value customer, where to find them, and what their interests are, combines the cornerstone of the ABM strategy. Without a strong understanding of the market and customers, you risk targeting the wrong accounts. 

3. Lifetime Customer Value (LCV)

Define the potential value of a qualified customer in both the short and long term. This understanding helps determine how much you can afford to pay for a new, high-quality MQL. While ABM is cost-efficient in terms of lead quality, it can be more expensive than investing in mass media.

 

How to Define an Account Based Marketing ABM Strategy?

An ABM strategy follows five steps; however, this must be aligned with your brand strategy and marketing communication plans. Remember, customers tend to contact you through different channels, and you must ensure coherent communication.  

Step 1

Identify Target Accounts - Rather than responding to leads, ABM begins with identifying companies you want to work with. Choose high-value targets based on factors like similarity to past clients, size, revenue, or engagement with your brand. 

We recommend running market research, analysing industries and companies that would be the right fit for you. Size them and identify the scalability and potential relationships you may build with them. Categorise the companies and define the job position of those who would be open and willing to receive your communication. 

Step 2

Rank Prospects Within Target Accounts - Once you've identified target accounts, prioritise contacts within them. Utilise CRM data to find decision-makers and rank them based on relevance and authority. Determine the type of information they need from you and your product and define subsegments into your target accounts. ABM is highly personalised, so be mindful in organising your prospects in a way you can break boundaries and be closer to the need you will solve for them.  

Step 3

Align Marketing and Sales - Collaboration between marketing and sales is essential. Define target accounts, messaging, KPIs, and workflows together. Regular meetings ensure alignment and accountability. Prepare the operational workflow and define who will take care of each account and or each stage. The ABM accounts are your “VIP Contacts”. 

Step 4

Create Personalised Content - Tailor content to the specific needs of prospects within your subsegments. Utilise ads, email campaigns, dynamic website content, and personalised outreach to engage with key contacts. Offer them reports, eBooks, whitepapers, and research of high value. The exchange of information is beyond the brand awareness stage, you are crossing the funnel right to the bottom line. 

Step 5

Measure Results - Track important metrics like influenced pipeline, engagement rates, conversions, and won deals rates. Focus on the quality of lead engagement rather than quantity, and adjust strategies based on data insights. Include qualitative rankings from the sales team. It will give you more information to sharpen your ABM target account list. 

Step 6

Be Prepared for the Long Run - In order to build trust, ABM requires continual nurturing of high-value prospects for a longer period of time. You are establishing relationships with the potential of winning deals and securing long-term clients.  The content you use for these VIP contacts should be created from a high-intent point of view and offer them reasons to believe in your offering. Prepare VIP channels for them, react fast and give them the best customer experience.

 

What are the Best Practices for Account Based Marketing (ABM)?

In our experience, the best recommendations we can offer are:

1. Do Not Underestimate a Digital Relationship 

Someone who opens the possibility of being contacted through this medium may be equally interested in your products or services as someone who calls or approaches through physical means. Your sales team must understand that ABM contacts will have a digital approach and, consequently, should be responded to in the same way as traditional prospects. 

2. Keep Some Strategies up Your Sleeve 

You are starting to approach a prospect of high potential value; accurately measure how much information will be useful to grab attention but leave enough information readily available to be sent immediately when they request it. Once you have your foot in the door, you must be agile and effective in responding. 

3. ABM Uses More Than One Channel 

Many agencies will propose ABM using only emails, while others may suggest LinkedIn. Some may be more sophisticated using a set of digital media associated with prequalified audiences to run display banners on Demand-Side Platform (DSP Audiences). DSPs are platforms that enable advertisers to purchase digital ad inventory across various websites and apps programmatically. DSP audiences are created based on criteria such as demographics, interests, behaviours, or past interactions, allowing advertisers to reach their desired audience effectively and efficiently.  

While you can use one or the other, do not hesitate to combine channels. We know that a person needs at least 6 touchpoints to start a consideration process, and we also know that the right time and the right message can vary greatly among individuals. Be creative in expanding your options within your selected accounts. 

 

How to Find an Account Based Marketing (ABM) Agency? 

When you need to combine different teams, produce high-quality content in a vast volume within a short time frame, and guarantee an extra-personalised customer experience, you may need help. 

The challenge is to find an agency that can not only purchase media channels using ABM or create creative content, but also has a team of practitioners who can enhance your marketing automation, connect your sales and marketing workflows, ignite a collaborative and integrated approach, and power your CRM tools aligned with your sales and marketing teams, ready to connect, visualise and activate contacts and data. We are a Growth Marketing and HubSpot Agency with extensive experience in using ABM strategies to support our clients’ growth goals, ready to move forward with your growth marketing strategy.

Contact us today to see how we can help you achieve your growth goals.

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