There’s a new business world evolving—a digital-only marketplace driven by the recent global pandemic. It impacted every company, forced them to change the way they operate, market, and sell. Proven best marketing practices, such as Account-Based Marketing (ABM), are commonplace for B2B marketers. That said, the new reality and new normal is forcing companies to rethink how they can optimize their strategy to be more accurate and direct with a one-to-many engagement model.
As COVID-19 continues to be spreading, B2b marketers (you) should take advantage of the downtime to assess and scale your business in the evolving digital-only marketplace. This is because once you exit from this crisis, businesses would be ordinary.
So, one of the most effective ways to keep your marketing strategy dynamic is to look for fresh ideas, tactical approaches, get creative with adding personalization, and include some empathy in messages to help customers during this period of uncertainty.
With account-based marketing, set a relatively new concept of marketing strategies
to scale your business. Understanding this, you can better deliver the right solution to your targeted and potential customers.
As you are defining and refining your ABM marketing strategy, how can you help customers more with solutions precisely? It’s time to explore new ways to communicate and engage more and more accounts.
Get Creative with Your ABM Strategy
ABM may not be a new concept in the B2B space. Still, there’s always an opportunity to freshen up your strategy and get creative with different aspects. The most influential and budding trend of being creative is personalization. Yes! Personalization will let you focus on your target audience and achieve brand recognition and higher conversions.
Identify a List of Ideal Target Audience
As ABM is about tailoring campaigns to specific accounts, the first thing you need to do is to identify a list of important accounts for your campaign. The easiest way to begin is by asking your sales team to pick accounts from the existing customer data.
Finding companies matching your ideal target customer helps narrow down your focus for a longer period. Once you have a list of companies, use the same social media strategies to search their profile pages and find similar companies. But, sometimes, there might be some companies on social media that do not match your ideal customer profile. In such cases, you can research for each of the “similar” accounts you find.
Want to know how to proceed? Read further.
Research Each Account
Unlike research for personas, ABM is not about targeting an individual. Instead, it requires proper account-based research! So, what information you need to get initially and collect to start your research? It’s recommended to start with the following:
Market-wise: Includes industry, company size, and competitors
Company-wise: Marketing share, revenue, and past revenue records
Client/Audience wise: Buying power, designation, influencers, and management
In most cases, this information will be visible on the company website, press releases, social media pages, or annual reports. One of the most critical aspects of the research phase is identifying and getting access to key decision-makers. The more you identify them, the more successful will be your ABM campaign. It is because, today, the number of people involved in decision-making is growing. According to Gartner, in a typical firm with 100-500 employees, approximately 7-8 people stay engaged in the buying decisions. But you need to convince. How? Good content plays a crucial role here.
Content? How? Read the next point to understand.
Use Dynamic Content
Creating dynamic content is a great way to have personalized communications with your target accounts. Whether emails, newsletters, subscriptions, websites, blogs, and videos, among others, are the best ways to initiate personalization in your marketing strategy when doing ABM.
Demand Gen Report’s survey found that 95% of B2B buyers choose a solution provider through content. This helps them navigate each stage of the buying process. Here are ABM’s most effective content-based marketing tactics:
Personalized content: 78%
Social media: 57%
Targeted display ads: 50%
Search engines: 50%
Mobile ad: 48%
To understand how dynamic content plays a key role, hop to the next level.
Generate Relevant Content
What kind of content engages B2B buyers? It is relevant and informational content because such contents are more attractive, which interests a buyer is to engage with you. Also, in terms of the most effective ABM strategies, personalized content ranks number one!
So, how you make relevant content? The standard approach in ABM for B2B marketers is to create tailored content for a specific industry. But you can also customize content for particular accounts. It is an excellent practice to review the existing content before you customize content for any specific account. It will give you more ideas and insights.
For example, blog posts, case studies, white papers, and e-books are the most considered relevant content for your ideal target account. Then, categorize by stage in the sales funnel. Whether they fall under the top of the funnel (includes blogs, articles, videos, and infographics), middle of the funnel (includes eBooks, case studies, white papers, and video tutorials), and bottom of the funnel (includes free blogs, blog samples, quotes, etc.). This way, you know accurately the type of content (a relevant one) that needs to be sent to a buyer based on the funnel stage.
However, if you have no content that rings with your ideal customer, interview existing customers that match their profile to understand their top business challenges. This becomes extremely powerful and results in attracting more and more potential customers in the future.
In this context, only 42% of marketers communicate with their customers as part of their content research phase. Without interviewing existing customers, the content created might not be relevant. Thus, it becomes one primary reason buyers don’t engage with brands.
Use Personalized Content
Today, content personalization is playing a pivotal role in the new digital marketing landscape. It is working on customizing the content-based interests of audiences and their challenges. It can help you target your specific market segments more accurately and enable more chances of conversion. Personalization of content aims to ultimately understand how the businesses will benefit from your products and services.
To increase the size of your marketing net through ABM strategy, it is vital to be sure that your target accounts resonate with your content across the following touch-points:
Use personalized content on social media platforms to gain maximum outreach
Utilize advanced programmatic ads to communicate directly to your target accounts
Develop landing pages precisely to one target account or multiple accounts that have similar needs within a similar industry
Tell your Story to Connect
If you want to stand out from the crowd, your ABM strategy must be unique instead of being cut and dry. Storytelling is a perfect opportunity to be creative in showcasing your business (brand). Such an approach gives a broad perspective to your audiences. Hence, they learn more about your brand, the solutions you provide, and the benefits they might gain from the collaboration.
Storytelling in your content-based ABM strategy
can take on many forms, such as:
Combine product videos with case-studies related to the target account’s needs.
In case-studies, use relevant success stories during targeting. Allow them to see themselves as the business in the case study.
Highlight the past customer experience to the target account.
Share your company culture and milestones.
These points attribute holistically to create proper storytelling— one of the most critical aspects of content-based ABM strategy for marketing.
Personalize Your Website
Creating a dynamically personalized and highly relevant website is extremely important to target accounts. Based on their behavior, location, profile, and other attributes, a website provides a different experience to your targeted accounts. Imagine browsing a website and seeing your industry on its homepage—wouldn’t you be intrigued to browse further? This is how a part of personalization works. So, personalize your website by tailoring content, gathering events, webinars, discussion forums, and collaboration with your industry leaders. These attributes help personalization become more powerful, as you gain the ability to catch target account’s interest the moment they click on your website.
To create a personalized website, remember these points:
Diversify your content through blog posts, infographics, video or slide presentations, etc.
Your website’s structural flow should accommodate a straightforward user experience.
Easy navigation of the website to encourage leads
Perform testing on keywords, pricing info, placement of CTAs, layout, images, landing pages, and contact forms.
Boost the quality of your content for accuracy, coherence, and tone.
Distribute Content to the Right Person
The foremost goal of ABM strategy to scale your business is to reach the right person at the right account. It is necessary so that you can engage, nurture, and build a strong connection.
What’s the most effective way to create content to reach the right person?
It’s an Email. Emails still work efficiently than any other content form when it comes to campaigns. The content for it needs to be highly relevant to contact a single account or a group of accounts that match your ideal customer’s profile.
E-mail is not just limited to marketers. Sales representatives can use email too! 92% of businesses pay attention to emails even if it’s sent from a company that they have never done business with. They read an email that contains ideas that might be relevant to their business. Also, 78% of decision-makers have taken appointments or attended an event inspired by cold emails.
So, do not be mistaken with email marketing dead just yet!
To understand it more, know-how a direct mail can be effective:
80% of mail gets attention and opened.
56% of buyers initiate contact with the help of direct mail.
59% of buyers enjoy receiving direct mail from brands they like.
The average ROI for mail campaigns is between 18-20%.
Therefore, with mails, you can target a particular account and tailor the content particularly for them. Also, you can tailor the content to include personal details such as company logo, names, and job titles. Because this helps clients remember your company details than of others on top of their minds.
Explore Experimental Marketing
Experiential marketing in ABM strategy can combine real-world and virtual touch-points to promote higher campaign engagement. Refining your ABM campaigns around the tenants of experiential marketing can increase the likelihood of a conversion and strengthen your brand loyalty with target accounts.
To do experiential marketing in your ABM strategy program, keep the focus on the following tactics:
Create new content messaging to connect to the new focused target audience.
Create a client value proposition on an account-by-account, including content marketing tricks.
Focusing on an emotional connection between the target account and your brand to give solutions is essential
Apply your content marketing strategies to a digital and real-world customer experience framework.
Include all of your standard digital marketing channels, in-person events, and one-on-one meetings
Lastly, Re-think Everything
While the COVID-19 pandemic has left a wake of loss and misfortune in the B2B business world, the new digital-only reality will accelerate digital transformation across every B2B enterprise. More importantly, this will catalyze to resolve puzzling technology, skills, and organizational challenges that have prevented marketing teams from fully delivering a rich customer experience through their ABM programs. So, you should re-think everything at this time, including your tech stack, to increase the number of marketing technology.
Leveraging a one-size-fits-all approach to ABM does not work, especially in a COVID-19 affected world. Now, more than ever, you need to include and demonstrate empathy and engage target accounts with the right content and message in your ABM strategy. By this, marketing organizations can quickly understand which accounts are in a buy-cycle and contribute to the virility of your campaigns within your accounts to expand coverage and conversion results.
Frequently Asked Questions
How effective is ABM?
ABM helps companies to align their sales and marketing functions with increasing revenue. 60% of them using ABM have increased revenue by 10% in a year. Also, other companies have seen a 30% and more increase in business revenue. Therefore, by implementing account-based marketing, B2B marketers will have a technology stack that can scale their new business.
How does personalization help ABM strategy to scale?
If you have included personalization, here are ways that help your ABM strategy to scale:
Create a strategic design, including creating empathy maps for each target audience segment or customer personas.
Create proprietary datasets according to patterns of customer profiles, get insight, and include personalization messages, content on social media platforms, blogs, websites, and more.
Use Tech integrations such as voice recognition and augmented reality, which is mobile-friendly, to reduce the cost of managing millions of data points.
Automate process: Campaign creation, content creation through emails, and more.
How to prepare ABM strategies?
Follow these steps to prepare ABM strategies:
Build the sales bridge to establish alignment between sales and marketing leadership.
Define your segments.
Align marketing and sales processes.
Empower sales and marketing, including technology stacks like artificial intelligence, machine learning, chatbots, VR, and AR.
Host consistent planning sessions with territory-level managers.