Increasing number of businesses have implemented account-based marketing or ABM. Account based marketing strategy focuses on engaging a few select, high-value accounts and building relationships with them. The main advantage of an ABM strategy is that it is personalized for target customers. Due to this, marketers see more profitable results from ABM as compared to other marketing strategies. According to a survey by ITSMA, 87% of B2B marketers reported that their ABM efforts outperformed other marketing efforts in terms of ROI.
With ABM strategy generating the desired results, many marketers are driven to try it out. But sometimes you may tend to miss out on important details that can hinder your ABM strategy from achieving the desired results. If you are a beginner or even if you have launched your ABM campaign, these tips can help you optimise and improve your ABM strategy. In this article, we will discuss some important points to ensure the overall success of your account-based marketing strategy.
Here are some key points you should not overlook when implementing your ABM strategy.
Build buyer personas
The first step in an ABM strategy to identify the target accounts. You need to find out who the key stakeholders are in a company you are targeting. These stakeholders can be the key decision-makers in that organisation. This person is the one looking for a solution that can be able to solve their problems. There may be more than one stakeholder in an organisation you will have to communicate with. Hence, it is very important to get to know these people. Any marketer implementing an ABM strategy knows that they need to understand their target customer, however, very few succeed in fully getting to know their customers. Many just have a vague and general idea about their target customer.
If you don’t fully understand the key stakeholders that you are dealing with, then you won’t be able to make much progress. Creating a buyer persona can help you understand your ideal customer. With the buyer personas you can be more specific about your customer’s needs, problems, goals, motivations and more. Buyer personas also specify details about a customer’s job title, location, and position in the company. Once you determine the profile of these key stakeholders, it will be easier to create personalized experiences for them. Moreover, buyer personas can help you give consistent information to all the teams involved in the implementation of the ABM strategy. This way everyone is very clear and informed about the target customer they are dealing with.
Create content only specific to your target accounts
Building content is an important part of any ABM strategy. It helps you communicate valuable information about your products or services to potential customers. Through content you can engage your leads and convert them. When you create content for ABM, you need to remember that you are not creating it for a wide range of audience. You create content only for specific audiences who are your potential customers. It should be relevant to the types of questions or needs they may have. Personalise content to each stage of your buyer’s journey. You can also group content together for the needs of specific stakeholders.
For example, you can create an eBook that gives information about the products you provide. This eBook can highlight how to use it effectively for beginners. An eBook is ideal for leads in the early stage of the buyer’s journey as they are trying to understand your product better. Another thing to remember is that don’t just personalise a few elements of your content but ensure that you personalise all of it. If you create an email and just change the first few sentences for a certain group of audience while the rest of the content body remains the same, audiences can find out when this happens. They will know it is the same repeated information you are using for everyone. Avoid making this mistake and always tailor your entire content for your target accounts.
Relevant, tailored, and valuable content influences target accounts to make decisions and convert. When you do this they relate to your business better and will want to have a long-term relationship with you.
Get all teams on board
ABM is a strategy that uses both sales and marketing teams to speed up the sales cycle, increasing conversions and retention rates. Sales and marketing team alignment is important for a successful ABM strategy. Both the teams need to collaborate on different tasks related to the ABM strategy. Hence, it is important that you bring together both these teams. Marketing teams often deal with attracting leads and creating relevant content to engage them. While sales teams communicate with these target customers to convert them. The entire process from attracting leads to converting them requires the input of teams.
Aligning sales and marketing teams can help you improve conversions and build strong customer relationships. Make it easy for both teams to collaborate by using tools that can help them communicate and share data. Meetings should be held so that both teams are updated on the progress made. They can also brainstorm ideas for content and strategies to engage target accounts. This can also help smooth out any tensions between the two teams. It encourages a friendly work environment. Both teams will realise that they are not in competition with each other, but they are working together.
Sales and marketing teams can also share their own expertise which can help them narrow down which accounts to target. Each team has valuable experience that they can offer when implementing ABM strategy. If your teams are not aligned, then you may face difficulties while implementing your strategy.
Sales enablement is needed
The sales enablement process provides your sales reps with the important resources like information, tools, and content they need to close deals. Sales reps are at the forefront of your organisation as they are the ones who communicate with your customers. It is important to equip them with the right tools and knowledge needed to communicate with your potential clients. Sales teams have a lot to contribute to ABM strategy. Yes, they are responsible to push leads further down the funnel and convert them. But apart from that they also play a role in selecting target accounts, creating content and much more.
Your sales teams communicate with the audience; hence, they are more aware about the type of questions they ask, the problems they face and what they expect. This can be useful when it comes to creating buyer personas and targeting potential customers. They can also give ideas to marketing teams about creating content. Sales teams should not be overlooked. Invest in sales enablement so that sales teams will be able to help with your ABM strategy. Marketing teams should give sales teams any information or updates they need about the ABM strategy. For example, some sales reps may not be aware about what account-based marketing is all about. Here, marketing teams can help them understand what ABM is and provide them with content that can give them all the information. Then the sales team will be able to contribute more to the ABM strategy. Input from your sales team can help you improve conversions and create a seamless experience for your customers.
Integrate inbound methodology
Image by HubSpot
Inbound marketing is the methodology that attracts potential customers by providing them with the relevant content they are looking for. ABM and inbound marketing are two different strategies. The major difference is that they have opposite sales funnels. ABM is started off by selecting target accounts, then providing personalised messages or content and finally building relationships. Conversely, inbound marketing starts off by creating content to attract leads and then nurturing them to convert. If you are implementing ABM, don’t overlook inbound methodology.
Both inbound marketing and ABM strategies can work together. Inbound marketing can attract leads that have the potential to become high-value customers. Depending on their goals, organisations can incorporate inbound marketing with ABM. An inbound strategy can be used as a foundation for an ABM strategy. You can start by implementing inbound marketing to attract leads and then ABM strategy can be used to engage and delight these target accounts.
With the help of inbound strategy, you can reach a wider audience and then select your target accounts. You do not have to create separate content for both. Instead create valuable, relevant, and customised content that works well for both these strategies. Integrating the inbound methodology opens more opportunities for your business.
Use the right tools
Using the right tools or software is important to streamline your process and gather data for reporting and analysing. If you are using outdated tools or no tools at all, then it may hinder your progress. To plan and implement your strategy effectively you will need to use tools that make the process more organised and smoother. As discussed above team collaboration is an important aspect of ABM. The right tool can make it easy for your teams to communicate, collaborate and easily share all the important data with each other.
Ensure that you are using the right tools that help you with your ABM strategy. ABM software tools can automate your strategy, reduce the long process of identifying your target accounts and align your teams. This enables you to generate quality leads, personalise their buyer’s journey and nurture them. It is useful in targeting new accounts as well as nurturing the existing ones.
ABM software can also allow you to integrate other marketing automation and customer relationship management (CRM) software. This can help target specific accounts and keep track of all the communications you have with these accounts. Moreover, it can also create a smooth experience for customers communicating with your company. Some examples of ABM tools are Adobe Campaign, ListenLoop, Engagio, and Uberflip.
Optimise any digital platforms you use
Marketers leverage various digital strategies and platforms to help them reach their target audience. These strategies can include social media marketing, SEO, PPC campaigns, and more. Whichever platforms you are using, ensure that you customise it as per the needs of the target audience. Each platform will have its own features and may not be specific to a certain group. You will need to ensure that any platform you use is optimised according to that specific audience group.
To illustrate, if you are using LinkedIn to build connections with other businesses and working professionals, you will need to optimise your profile. Your profile needs to include specific keywords and other information that is relevant to the target audience you are trying to reach. Update your services or product information that these audiences are looking for. Another scenario is if you are using Google ads to drive traffic to your website, you will need to customise the landing page to make it relevant to the target audience who will end up there.
Optimising various digital platforms will enable you to utilise all features effectively and create tailored experiences for your target accounts. Target accounts will be able to relate better to your business and will be more open to building business relationships with you.
Create personalised strategy for each account
Sometimes marketers tend to use the same strategies for all accounts. ABM does not cater to an entire industry, but to specific target accounts. Hence, always design your strategies keeping your target accounts in mind. If a particular strategy has worked well for one account group, it does not mean it will work for another one the same way. Ensure that you personalise your strategy keeping in mind a specific target account. Understand their buyer journey, goals, challenges, etc. to create a strategy that works well for them.
Like any other marketing strategy ABM has its own challenges. While implementing this process you may forget some important details or make mistakes that can be a setback. All the points discussed above is a good reminder for you to check all these different aspects and ensure that you create an effective ABM strategy. If you think you may be making certain mistakes, then update your strategy. Improving and updating your strategy is necessary to make sure that you are creating an ABM strategy that is personalised for your target accounts.
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