Every year there is a hot new thing for marketers to talk about, and with it comes a wave of tools and quick fixes. Account-based marketing (ABM) has made a particularly big splash lately. But what is it, exactly?
While the traditional marketing mindset aims to catch as many fish as possible, ABM is the equivalent of modern-day spearfishing. It’s a much more strategic way to do outbound and requires planning, patience, and precision. Instead of ending your campaign with a jumbled assortment of target prospects in your net, with ABM you dive deep to get to your best catch first.
Many of our clients have asked us to provide recommendations on best practices, which I’ve summarized below:
Step 1. Know what you want to catch
It is essential that you understand who uses your product or service (defining buyer personas is a huge help here) and what drives them to you. Then, if you haven’t already done so, establish a connection between your company’s sales and marketing teams, and get everyone in a room to determine your go-to-market strategy. Ensure that everyone is aligned to win. Identify the biggest opportunities, then discuss how to proactively go after them.
Here are some things to discuss:
- What size of companies do you usually sell to?
- What is your product/service price point?
- How many people are involved in the sales/decision-making process?
- Can you identify a buying committee within your target accounts?
Step 2. Get the right gear
Once you know who your target customers are, craft experiences for particular prospects from each account. That doesn’t just mean personalizing a few emails and landing pages. If you already have usable messaging and content you’d like to recycle, ensure that it is a fit for your target accounts’ marketing campaigns.
How about sending them a personal package? There are plenty of creative ways to use direct mail on a limited budget. You could also create videos, tailored with the right message for each account. Address your prospect’s main pain points and explain why your solution is their panacea.
Step 3. Create a laser-focused plan of attack
You’ve sent your prospects a fun gift, got their attention, and got a response. Score! Not so fast — your ABM campaign doesn’t end with a lead. If you want to really move the needle, you must devise a solid campaign execution framework. Be sure to create real value for your prospects. You can’t forge a connection by over-promising and under-delivering.
Here are some things to think about:
- Are you able to route target account leads to sales quickly for follow-up? If yes, you also need to help them by prepping them with the right message and the right time to deliver it. The crucial moment of passing the baton can make or break Olympic history. The same applies to your deals. Are you going to drop them or win the gold medal with a flawless handoff?
- Does your sales team have a lead management strategy and the tools to execute, including both lead scoring and account scoring? Be sure to fast track target account leads to sales. Give target accounts leads a score boost so they will qualify more quickly and rank higher in the sales queue.
- Does your current data structure allow you to report on campaign efficiency (engagement or revenue)? The best way to track your ABM campaign is to create separate SFDC campaigns for each account, share them with your sales team, and then observe which tactics are yielding your highest response and conversion rates.
Throw out the net and go spear fishing
Looking at your clients as a number, and not thinking about them holistically, hurts your business. Account-based marketing is all about relationship building. The human factor is very important, which is why we must dig in deep to understand the expansiveness of what they deal with. Show empathy for the prospects you talk to. Empathy is what converts commercial transactions into human relationships.
The end goal of your ABM campaign should be to engage deeply enough with your target accounts so that they can get a glimpse of the real impact you can make for them. By taking the time up-front to understand your target accounts, create relevant messaging, and ensure the right processes are in place to move leads to your account managers quickly, you’ll be running successful ABM campaigns in no time.
Learn everything you need to know about ABM in this Getting Started with Account-Based Marketing guide and this three-part web series led by DemandGen CEO David Lewis, Sr. Solutions Architect Nova Kopitar, and Consultant Will Waugh. Then pull out your spear and start fishing!
Margarita Kitova is a Campaign Services Manager at DemandGen. With years of experience in digital marketing, she provides a strategic campaign framework that helps ensure flawless client campaign execution and aims to turn our clients into marketing heroes.