It’s an exciting time for marketers and entrepreneurs. In the digital age, where everyone is connected, new technologies and strategies are empowering us to engage our clients like never before.
But, these new opportunities also come with new challenges. Consumers are inundated with more ads, more companies, and more marketing messages than ever before. They have more freedom to choose what brands they’ll engage with.
So what does this mean for you?
It means you’ll have to do more to win them over. You can best do this by offering personalized, relevant, and consistent experiences.
That’s where account based marketing (ABM) comes in. ABM allows you to offer a customer-first, account-first experience. This is possible for B2B companies through a synergized marketing and sales effort to reach high revenue targets by pleasing fewer, high-profile accounts.
In this guide, we’ll explore what ABM is, how you can begin using it, and examples of what it looks like in action so you can get the best result from your marketing efforts.
Account based marketing isn’t a technology. It’s a strategy. It focuses on creating a customer experience approach through sales and marketing collaboration. The two teams do this by creating best-fit account experiences to maximize revenue faster with less effort.
Simply put, account based marketing is a targeted growth plan where sales and marketing collaborates to build personalized buying experiences for high-value accounts.
Rather than marketing broadly to many potential customers, B2B companies use the ABM strategy to use the bulk of their resources on a few specific client accounts. If general marketing uses a huge net to catch a lot of small fish, account based marketing uses a harpoon to catch a few big fish.
1. Why Personalization Is the Future
Personalizing content and engagement mediums isn’t just a nice-to-have. Nowadays, buyers expect it. They demand it. The truth is, customer experience is on the move to be the competitive difference-maker in a vast number of industries.
Regardless of marketing strategy (whether ABM or another), people need to be the focal point of the buying process.
With this in mind, some accounts have drastically higher potential value than others. This means it makes sense to apply a bigger effort to high-value accounts. A big effort means an ever bigger reward in this case.
This ultimately means more time and money invested. It means more program dollars, more high-touch engagement, and of course, more personalization. At the end of the day, ABM results in an incredible return on investment (ROI), as expected.
As Isaac Brower mentions, “The basic truth about marketing is that information rules. The more you know about the people visiting your site (and the more you can take action on what you know), the more likely you are to convert them into qualified sales leads.”
While this is true even outside of account based marketing, it’s the execution which is different. Traditionally, modern marketing aims to first drive traffic to your site, generate leads, nurture leads, and get them to buy.
However, ABM flips the equation upside down. Instead of driving traffic, you identify the few key targets (that are valuable to your company) you want to sell to. ABM marketing isn’t about targeting an individual customer versus another. It’s about targeting an entire organization.
Learn More About ABM and the Future of Personalization:
2. Where to Start with ABM
If you want to set yourself up for success with ABM, you’ll need to follow the right steps. Take one wrong turn and you’ll be wasting your time and money. Here are 6 steps to set yourself up for account based marketing success.
Align Your Organization to an ABM Strategy
This is often the most overlooked step. Before you begin implementing ABM practices, you need to get everyone on board. This means ensuring all stakeholders understand the direction of the strategy.
For instance, your VP of Sales and VP of Marketing should be fully on board and spread the awareness to their employees.
Identify Your Ideal Set of Target Accounts
Next, you’ll want to identify and pick your ideal accounts to invest your time and resources into. Here are a few ways you can do this:
- Set search alerts on LinkedIn for your ideal customer profile.
- Create a workflow automation that filters qualified leads based on criteria (e.g. industry, company size, etc.) to be tagged in your CRM
- Choose target accounts based on geographical location or a specific industry
- Analyze major brands and leads who are engaging with your inbound content but haven’t done business with you yet
Get Sales & Marketing to Create Account Strategies Together
Account based marketing is a team effort. You need to ensure your sales and marketing departments ask one another the following questions:
- What decision-maker will we need to know at each account?
- What content do we need to create to attract and engage accounts?
- Which mediums will we use to spread our content with the decision-makers?
- How will each team (sales and marketing) provide support throughout each stage of the sales process?
Attract Decision-Makers from High-Quality Accounts
Next, you want to attract the stakeholders and buying committee members of your target accounts. The key to successfully reeling in high-quality accounts is to personalize content to them. This will increase your brand awareness and relevance among your audience.
Create Strong Relationships with Buying Committees
Once you’ve reeled in high-value accounts, it’s time to create strong relationships with buying committees. Keep in mind, this will likely take your team months or even years to establish these bonds.
Measure & Analyze Your Results
Something many companies forget to do is track your effort.
You need to monitor your success every step of the way. By measuring and analyzing your ABM results, you’ll be able to see any weak spots in your strategy that need to be altered. This will help you to iterate, creating an even stronger strategy for your
These are just a few examples of how much the industry has changed since the days of Mad Men and Manhattan ad agencies. And the industry will continue to evolve! Just look at other strategies continuing to grow:
- Hosting or Joining Podcasts.
- Automating your marketing efforts where possible.
- Collaborating with your team through a project management platform.
- Prioritizing local SEO.
- Using tech-driven account-based marketing (ABM) as a B2B company.
- Setting up automated email marketing campaigns.
- Using social media to expand your influence.
- Optimizing your content for voice searches.
- And many more!
Learn More About What’s Working Now for Marketing Managers:
3. The ABM Toolkit
There are plenty of moving parts when it comes to executing a successful ABM strategy. These activities include sales intelligence, lead management, marketing automation, content marketing, email marketing, CRM, and more.
Every business that aims to implement ABM needs to have the right tools. Many ABM products specialize in one or two areas while complementing a larger platform. On the other hand, there are some ABM tools that offer an all-in-one solution.
If you’re wanting to an all-in-one platform, you should consider one of the following:
- Terminus ABM Platform
There are a variety of tools that hone in on one or two key ABM areas. If you prefer a more customized approach to your ABM software, you can mix and match different tools.
Here are a few examples of ABM tools you can use for specific ABM tactics:
Lead Management, Marketing Automation
Content Personalization & Content Marketing
Learn More About Finding the Right ABM Tools:
4. ABM Examples & Success Stories
According to ITSMA, 85% of marketers measuring ROI state that account based marketing outperforms other marketing investments.
So how does ABM work in typical business scenarios? Here’s an example to illustrate how you can use ABM in your business with content marketing.
Emily operates a marketing agency. She’s focused on targeting a successful HVAC company in her region that does in-house marketing. She creates a long-form blog post about the benefits of hiring an agency like hers to manage HVAC companies’ marketing.
When the post is published, Emily posts it to Twitter and tags her target HVAC account. The owner of the company then reads the blog posts and reaches out to Emily.
That’s just one simple example of how ABM can be implemented in your company. But what about real-life examples of success with ABM? Let’s look at a few examples of some real companies.
GumGum is an artificial intelligence media company who wanted to land T-Mobile as their client. The CEO of T-Mobile, John Legere, is very active on social media and GumGum was able to get a sense of his personality. They learned, specifically, that he’s a big fan of Batman.
So GumGum commissioned and then published a comic book with Legere cast as a Batman-type hero named T-Man who saves his town from bad cell phone service with the help of his sidekick named Gums.
The result? Not only did John Legere give them a big shout-out on Twitter, giving GumGum a ton of free exposure... but GumGum landed the T-Mobile account.
It’s not easy getting a high-value client’s attention. The bigger the potential account, the harder it is to get them to notice you. For Intridea, they decided to think outside the box, taking a risk.
The developers and web designers at Intrida wanted to land Ogilvy & Mather as a client. That’s not an easy task considering how big they are and how many people are constantly trying to woo them. So Intridea rented a billboard right across the street from Ogilvy’s Manhattan offices. What did they put on the billboard?
On a bright red background with plain white text, they wrote, “Ogle this, Ogilvy”, with Intridea’s logo and URL below.
Guess what? It worked.
Taking risks is a part of business. When it comes to putting an effective ABM strategy into practice, sometimes you have to risk looking foolish and think outside of the box to land a client.
Direct mail has used little goodies to entice people into responding to sales letters. Sometimes people have sent gimmicks like pens, coins, and even $1 bills on occasion.
Invoca is an artificial intelligence company focusing on call tracking that decided to take this concept to the next level, applying it to their ABM strategy. B2B companies can afford a bit more than a $1 bill, but not many people were expecting what Invoca would do.
Getting the attention of prospects isn’t an easy task. Booking an appointment is even harder. Thankfully, for Invoca, they didn’t have to worry about their prospects forgetting them after booking an appointment at the 2015 Dreamforce conference. Why?
They sent every booking a free Apple Watch.
In the end, Invoca was the company that got noticed, and ultimately resulted in them exceeding their lead generation and pipeline goals.
Read More About Others’ Success With ABM:
5. Resources for Continued Growth
Account based marketing is still an evolving strategy. What worked 50 years ago won’t work today. Even what worked 20 years ago wouldn’t work.
Due to rapidly changing technology, marketing strategies are dynamic. Because of this, there are few industries in which ongoing education is more critical to growth than marketing.
Creating a successful ABM strategy takes time. It won’t be easy defining which account based marketing tactics and examples will work best for you when you start. You need to learn how to create a winning ABM strategy by unifying lead and account-based efforts through your sales and marketing teams.
Here are a few resources to take your ABM plan to the next level. So, roll up your sleeves, develop your strategy and begin testing.
Need Help With Account Based Marketing Today?
While account based marketing isn’t a new marketing strategy, it’s never been a better time to implement thanks to advancements in technology.
Personalization has never been more important. Consumers demand a personalized marketing approach. Thankfully, marketing software has made it easier than ever to personalize your marketing messages.
The ABM strategy we practice in the modern age is very different from the manual processes from times past. Carrying out an ABM strategy no longer requires an astronomical financial investment. With the right technology and effective strategy, you’ll be able to create a better, personalized experience for your target accounts.
Account based marketing doesn’t have to be intimidating. By following this guide and going through the resources included, you’ll be able to reap the benefits of an increased ROI and higher overall revenue in your business in no time.
If you want to fast-track your success with account based marketing, then reach out to our team of qualified marketing professionals here at Rizen. We’ll partner with you to get you and your business up to speed with the latest ABM strategies, even if you’re brand new to account based marketing.