Article | April 20, 2020
Account-based marketing (ABM) has been around for long enough now that most companies have either rolled out strategies or are actively exploring their options. Looking at the ABM adoption model produced by the ITSMA, an industry association for technology-based marketing and services, many companies are in the experimentation stage and looking to further refine their initial pilot programs. As you begin to experiment and expand your ABM programs, there are many complexities that you can introduce like content personalization, website personalization, scaling accounts and channels, and additional technology and automation, to name a few.
Article | July 14, 2021
B2B marketers meticulously craft content plans to include an attractive landing page, a remarkable eBook, and paid ads for maximum engagement. They write the slickest nurture emails, supporting blogs, and over-the-top articles. Nearly tens of thousands of dollars and a couple of months go into the campaign creation, but it stops abruptly.
How can this be? The data collected for the eBook was filled with insights that made them shudder. The strategy was executed to perfection but didn't make any sense!
Does this situation sound familiar to you as well? You must have faced the same! It often happens in B2B companies when sales and marketing are not fully aligned on their goals, messaging, and targeting audience. When you spread a wide net for lead generation, most of the leads may not be relevant. So, what should we do?
Here comes the protagonist of the B2B marketing story:
Account-Based Marketing (ABM)
ABM curtails the time spent on irrelevant accounts while decreasing overall money spending. In addition, as businesses, after the pandemic, are starting to realize the potential of personalized campaigns, ABM is rapidly becoming the go-to strategy for B2B tech companies. As a result, they are aiming to improve their marketing and sales alignment.
Importantly, ABM demands sales and marketing alignment. It ends those hair-tearing, soul-destroying arguments on which leads to focus on. Now both teams have to keep the hyper-targeted focus on specific accounts, which will result in time-saving, the flow of quality leads, and, thus, your ROI will be up.
But before going about creating effective ABM campaigns, let's quickly read the factors to consider while implementing ABM.
Factors to Consider to Implement ABM
Get your Sales & Marketing teams to work together
To create an effective ABM campaign, marketing and sales teams must converge and act following a shared strategy. Furthermore, to expect excellent results, teams involved in the campaign should use the same data from diverse sources. Thus, it creates a data-inspired ideal customer profile (ICP).
To Identify Accounts
For defining target accounts, consider these factors:
Revenue potential: Your target audience should fall into your product or service's price line.
Best fit accounts: Find accounts and individual buyers who are aligned with your marketing personas.
Importance of Strategy: Aim for accounts that match your company's business strategy. Identify if they are your ideal customer or not.
Product requirements: Start with the low-hanging fruit, which means identifying accounts that can make precise use of the solution you're offering.
To Establish KPIs
To know whether you are rocking with your ABM campaigns, it's crucial to decide your KPIs. You can consider the following to confirm it:
How many companies match your customer personas?
Account and role-specific conversion KPIs such as booked meetings created deals, and purchases completed.
The accounts that visit your website or engage with the content types.
Thus, you'll have to track KPIs at every stage of your ABM funnel to determine the success of your campaign.
Prepare Multi-Channel Content
Relevant and engaging content is the root of every marketing campaign. Still, marketers should personalize ABM content so that they can timely reach each target. So, it's essential to keep the process of messaging focused on the account's pain points, budget restraints, and additional demands.
It is because your campaigns are hyper-targeted, where you'll need to spread them across multiple content channels to offer numerous opportunities. Doing so will help to gain engagement, and then you can calculate budgets for clicks and channels. In addition, blend touchpoints such as paid ads, blogs, personalized email, text messaging, and multi-touch SDR strategies will help create effective ABM campaigns.
Here are effective steps to execute an effective ABM campaign.
5 Steps to Create Effective ABM Campaigns
Build your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)
As Account-based marketing is more like spearfishing, you need to be conscientious about who you target. It is because this type of marketing revolves entirely around who you reach out to. So, it is imperative that you pick companies that would benefit the most from your product or services and be your top-tier customers if they get converted to purchase your service. Hence, the first and most foundational thing for an effective ABM campaign is knowing who you need to target.
Many companies enjoy massive audiences. Therefore, they can increase revenue if they successfully reach them. However, with B2B SaaS companies in marketing, when they try to please everyone, they usually end up pleasing no one. It is because they produce standard messaging that doesn't speak to any group of people. So here, it becomes vital to build your IPC before creating an ABM campaign strategy.
Invest in the Right Account-Based Marketing Tools
To create successful account-based marketing (ABM) campaign, you need to have the right tools to help your team effortlessly execute your ABM strategy and monitor its progress simultaneously. Here are some of the best tools that you can use effectively:
Using a platform like ZoomInfo helps you quickly search companies based on their industry, number of employees, and current services. Then, you can easily set ABM campaigns based on information collected through ZoomInfo and proceed further to target.
SalesIntel is a sales intelligence platform. It provides your sales team with verified numbers of the target account. Using this platform, your team can evade gatekeepers and increase the chances of securing a targeting process.
Everstring's platform enables your ABM team to develop a predictive behavior model where target accounts can be identified and be more likely to convert into sales.
Create Relevant Content
Now, you have your ICP and personas penned down; it's time to communicate. But how do you make sure that you are effectively communicating with each account? And how to properly showcase the value that your solution provides to drive for their companies?
The secret lies in applying information gathered in each stage in the customer journey: Awareness, Consideration, and Conversion.
For an effective account-based marketing campaign, create content for each of these stages—general product & company information for Awareness, technical details for Consideration, and urgency for Conversion. Every piece of content in each step should be designed to appropriately educate prospects on their buying journey and push them to the next phase.
Here are some content types for the most successful ABM campaigns:
Emails to each persona (includes initial outreach, follow-ups, responses, and more)
Landing pages that provide information and facilitate actions
Thought leadership blog and articles for the Awareness stage
Product-specific pages for consideration
Testimonials for the Conversion stage
Organizing your content in such a framework enables you to find and fill content gaps while creating a comprehensive plan to address each persona in the customer journey.
Include Messaging Channels
You can use many avenues to engross prospects in an ABM campaign. Any medium that you use to communicate directly can be effectively utilized.
So, it's essential to focus on the most popular ABM channels like LinkedIn, Email, and telecommunication. Each method has its benefits and effectiveness to get your message to the right people in the right way. Here, you will understand how to go with it these channels:
LinkedIn is the most utilized channel for ABM campaigns because of its messaging capability and enrichment abilities. It consents you to send messages for free. Additionally, you promptly gain all of their professional information when you connect with a contact, including roles and email ids.
However, the best part of LinkedIn outreach is you are considered as a person, not a bot, when you reach out to contacts. In addition, you have a profile and a resume, which humanizes you. Due to these factors, LinkedIn is one of the most accurate and up-to-date B2B outreach platforms available, as everyone constantly updates their LinkedIn profile with professional milestone information.
Having being beneficial, keep in mind that there are some limitations with LinkedIn—you can send approximately a hundred connections per week. This being said, you can use this channel for the most important contacts on your list.
Email's largest advantage is that it doesn't have a character limit on initial outreach messages. Thus, you can write as much as you want. However, some trade-offs go along with that freedom.
As email being cheap, automatable, easy to use, and can reach thousands of contacts at a time, it's utilized by almost every B2B marketer. But, at the same time, this results in the clogged inbox situation, creating spam filters due to high levels of outreach competition. In addition, this makes consumers suspicious of emails received from unrecognized senders.
But the good news is that you can purchase email tools to help manage your email outreach campaigns. These can automate email message sending to ensure that you're constantly optimizing your outreach to prospects. Emails are a must-have for an effective email outreach campaign, which will exponentially surge your reach, make you smarter with analytics, and create an effective ABM campaign.
Phone outreach is the most effective channel to outreach. It also gives you a chance to really get to know your prospective customer and their fears and dreams so that you can:
Figure out if your product would be a good fit for the customer.
Know how to quickly and effectively communicate the value of your product to that customer.
Once you set up accounts with the proper channels that you plan to push people to with your ABM outreach, you can create simple retargeting ads that guide them further through the customer journey. These ads will result in Calls to Action that offer case studies or white paper resources on your solution or industry to give your prospects market insights and real-world examples of how your solution can benefit companies.
On top of it, when getting your logo and message in front of prospects again, retargeting ads perform splendidly compared to traditional methods. For example, a recent MarketLand article explained that retargeting ads often have Click-Through-Rates of "0.30%-0.95%, which is 3-10x costlier than the industry average."
Resultantly, you must pay close attention to who your audience is that you're serving these ads to, as well as where and how often you're delivering them. It may seem overwhelming at first, but it'll get easier over time. A properly executed account-based campaign will provide the results you want. Doing this will allow you to reap the enormous rewards that retargeting can bestow upon your ABM campaign.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an ABM marketing campaign?
Account-based marketing (ABM) strategy concentrates resources on a set of target accounts within a market. The campaigns designed are to engage each account, basing the marketing message on the specific attributes and needs of the account.
How do I make an ABM campaign?
Follow these steps to make an effective ABM campaign:
Create a team that is dedicated to ABM only
Clear your goals and then make a strategy
Find your technology
Identify the right accounts
Pick the right channels
Execute your campaigns
Choose messaging platform
Spread relevant content (messages)
Why is ABM important?
ABM supports structure marketing efforts and resources on your key accounts to drive the most revenue. Doing ABM will maximize the efficiency of your B2B marketing resources. It will also help build the communication channel with sales to have an aligned sales and marketing organization.
"name": "What is an ABM marketing campaign?",
"text": "Account-based marketing (ABM) strategy concentrates resources on a set of target accounts within a market. The campaigns designed are to engage each account, basing the marketing message on the specific attributes and needs of the account."
"name": "How do I make an ABM campaign?",
"text": "Follow these steps to make an effective ABM campaign:
• Create a team that is dedicated to ABM only
• Clear your goals and then make a strategy
• Find your technology
• Identify the right accounts
• Pick the right channels
• Execute your campaigns
• Measure everything
• Choose the messaging platform
• Spread relevant content (messages)"
"name": "Why is ABM important?",
"text": "ABM supports structure marketing efforts and resources on your key accounts to drive the most revenue. Doing ABM will maximize the efficiency of your B2B marketing resources. It will also help build the communication channel with sales to have an aligned sales and marketing organization."
Article | March 9, 2020
If your marketing team is still engaged in spray and pray marketing, consider these remarks from Sarah Mayer, Senior Marketing Ops Manger at MarcomCentral. What’s did Sarah Meyer and her team do differently? They started running intent driven marketing campaigns. Intent data points directly at what consumers want. It is behavior data that gives out signals on where prospective customers are in their buying journey. Harnessing intent data allows marketers to personalize their selling approach and messaging. In addition, intent data ensures ad spending is directed at targets with the highest likelihood of making a purchase. Without intent data, b2b marketing is all about guessing, and blindly targeting anyone who makes any sort of interaction with your brand, with generic marketing campaigns and ads that are likely to be ignored.
Article | March 30, 2020
It’s official – studies show that marketers who implement account based marketing generate 200% more revenue in their efforts than those who don’t. In fact, 84% of B2B marketers have bought into this vision and believe that ABM delivers higher ROI than any other marketing strategy.
But what makes it crucial for B2B success you ask? Well, ABM is highly useful for organizations with multiple stakeholders or buyers. It’s not just about personalizing your brand messages and targeting multiple decision-makers at every touch point, but doing that at scale. A senior marketing manager at Hubspot says,“It is to address the needs of an organization by connecting with all of the stakeholders within it. That's one reason why it works so well in B2B -- oftentimes you have to work with five or more stakeholders in a given sale.”
While account based marketing has been around for a few years, it still feels like a relatively new concept and marketers are still trying to perfect their strategies for ABM. In this article, we’ll take you back to the basics, walk you through some examples, strategies, tactics backed by data and top marketers in the B2B space, so you’re ready to bring your A-game.
- What is account based marketing?
- B2B account based marketing
- Some sure-fire account based marketing strategies with examples
-Identifying your target
-Researching your accounts
-Tailoring content to resonate with your prospects
- Finding the best channels for your campaigns
-Running your campaigns
-Measure and evaluate your results
- Some real-life examples of account based marketing
- Account based marketing best practices
What is account based marketing?
Account based marketing, in its simplest, is a business strategy used to focus on a set of high-quality target accounts instead of a lot of weak accounts. This strategy allows marketers to identify and target the accounts/decision-makers/individuals that they value most. In short, high-value accounts/prospects are identified, key stakeholders in these businesses are targeted, then marketing strategies are implemented through various channels to appeal to their specific personas and needs.
I believe ABM is B2B. Most companies are still focused on top of the funnel. Mature and forward thinking CMOs are starting to help their sales team win more and faster by focusing on pipeline velocity and expansion deals.
-Sangram Vajre, Co-Founder and Chief Evangelist, Terminus
B2B account based marketing
Believe it or not, half of the account based marketing programs are still in their early years and only 17% of those programs have been running for three years.
So, if you’re one of those marketers who just launched their ABM, don’t worry about having missed an opportunity.
As we know, there are a hundred different ways to execute an account based marketing strategy based on your business requirements. Although experts would argue that some companies think they’re doing ABMwhen really they’re just focusing on one element of ABM.According to ITSMA, a wining ABM program constitutes a mix of several best strategies, practices, and technologies; its core principles include:
Strategic focus on improving business reputation, relationships, and revenue (if it’s just about lead gen, it’s not ABM!)
Tight partnership and integration with sales (if there isn’t active, ongoing collaboration throughout the lifecycle, it isn’t ABM!)
Tailored and personalized programs and campaigns based on deep customer insight (if customers get the same experience and inside-out messaging, it’s not ABM!)
While it may seem a little tricky to get a head-start, once you have your strategies in place the results can be truly rewarding.
Some sure-fire account based marketing strategies
Since our goal is to target all the decision-makers within the same organization, your ABM campaign must be designed to resonate with these specific people.
Before you start to implement your ABM strategy, there are three key foundations that your teams need to agree on:
• Purpose of your ABM program
• Accounts you are targeting
• Prospects within those accounts that you’re targeting
Identifying your target
Finding and identifying your target is the first step; which does not mean developing and targeting personas. You’ll be focusing on organizations instead.
Identifying your target should be a collaborative effort between sales and marketing. Since it requires data from both the teams – you have to look at firmographicdata(used to categorize organizations, such as geographic area, number of clients, type of organization, industry, technologies used, etc.) and technographic data, as well as strategic factors like market influence, likelihood of repeat purchase, and expected profit margin.
Researching your accounts
Once you’ve identified your target, dive-in to do a deep research to find out additional information and representation of your ideal business customer. Having an idea of the company structure, who the key players are can give you a clear direction of how you’re going to create the appeal for your products or services to those targets. What would make this even better is if you know the influencers and decision-makers in that organization.
Some simple steps like manual research on LinkedIn is a great way to uncover that data. For example, you can do an advanced people search to find out more about your targets. Below is an example by Hubspot for finding out your target through an advanced search on LinkedIn.
DECK 7 identifies new prospects who could convert as a customer by analyzing their insights through interactions and engagements on social media, digital media or through their form fills, whitepaper downloads, etc. Some of the visitors could have downloaded their whitepaper through an email that was sent to them through their marketing or sales teams. Or they might have visited a blog or landing page through DECK 7’s newsletter, ONDECK in which case DECK 7 retargets them. This gives the company insights about the intent of their target audience and helps them plan their messaging.
Tailoring content to resonate with your prospects
Your next step should be to collaborate with the design and sales teams to create hyper-personalized, valuable content, that’s visually compelling and communicates the right messaging at the right time. Have your content centered around these key parameters:
• Personalize sales enablement content
• Wow them with your solution
• Establish your expertise, personality, and appeal
• Keep them involved, consuming your ideas and engaging with your brand, and
• Invite them to stay connected so they can become customers
Remember that the beauty of ABM lies in personalizing your content towards these accounts, so, make sure that your brand messaging speaks to their specific pain points. Your content and imagery should also serve as solutions to their challenges and business needs.
Finding the best channels for your campaigns
To strike the right chord with your target prospects you must utilize the best channel for your messages. Some of the most effective channels that DECK 7 uses include:
Social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook are some of the best in letting you run your campaign and customizing them according to your business needs. You can appeal to specific organizations as well as the titles within those organizations. Use Facebook’s demographics filters for seeking out your targets or even take it to the next level by targeting their specific job title.
Running your campaigns
An important step to keep in mind would be to not let your content run wild. Since ABM programs are so targeted/personalized in nature you need to be careful as to not overwhelm your target with the same messages over and over again. Hence concentrate on catching your prospects’ attention without turning them away.
Measure and evaluate your results
After your ABM program has been running for a period of 30-60 days, it’s time to evaluate whether it was a success or a failure. It is reported that about 60% of CMOs have trouble proving their ROI. A lot of it has to do with not asking the right questions while measuring results. According to Wordstream, some of the critical questions you need to ask are:
• Whetheryour personalized content proved to be engaging? If so, how?
• Are the accounts becoming more engaged with your brand?
• Are you expanding the number of known stakeholders within these organizations?
• Did you move any of these targeted leads down the funnel?
• Did you generate any revenue from these campaigns?
• What could you do better going forward?
Some real life examples of account based marketing
Webinars accompanied by a pizza! The concept is pretty simple and straight forward – a pizza is delivered to the target accounts, so they can enjoy it while attending your webinar.
But it doesn’t have to be pizza. Lunch and earns can be done with anything from any beverage to food item of their choice, so, you can enjoy the experience with your prospects from the comfort of your desks. This helps to boost webinar attendance and is a great way to encourage prospects to pay attention.
This approach is useful across the account lifecycle from initial engagement to upcoming renewals, expansion or even re-engage at-risk accounts. You could even go so far as to build out personalized webinar experiences with customized landing pages so the prospect or customer feels as if the webinar is hosted just for them – which can be a great way to show off product updates or educate people on your platform.
Snowflake, a cloud-based data-warehousing company, leveraged its in-house expertise to develop a robust library of high-quality content, which they use to create individualized experiences for target accounts. At any given time, the Snowflake team is running 500 concurrent individualized account-based campaigns, and each of these 1-to-1 campaigns is developed in tandem with their sales reps (who know their accounts inside and out) to create personalized messaging and content experiences.
These content experiences aren’t intended to drive conversions, either. None of the customized content is gated. Instead, Snowflake strives to build credibility with its audience first, only then using retargeting tactics with those that engage to drive traditional conversions through weekly demos or free trials.
Each campaign can be launched quickly and starts with digital advertising as a means to distribute the experience to the right account depending on where they are in their lifecycle. You can run the same or similar campaigns by leveraging a platform like Uberflip in tandem with your advertising and marketing automation platforms.
This approach is most useful when trying to gain initial engagement or progressing an account to meaningful engagement. It can also be used in a Land and Expand strategy to penetrate other departments within the organization.
Account based marketing best practices
To make your ABM program a success, you need to align your sales and marketing teams. Oftentimes it is this discrepancy, which, if not addressed, ends up causing a lot of loopholes and miscommunication.
Sales and marketing have to be best friends, they have to be fully aligned with each other, and they have to know what each other is doing at all times so they can partner. Companies that don’t do that cause themselves a lot of heartache.
-Erik Charles, Vice President and Solutions Evangelist, Xactly Corp.
Marketing has traditionally had a lead-centric focus, which is pretty much the opposite of their counterparts in Sales, who have always had an account-centric approach
– This statement reveals the real disconnect between how most companies and marketing teams build their ABM.
You must personalize content at scale.
This is the heart and soul of every B2B account based marketing. The main goal of content personalization is to fit target accounts like a glove. And while executing personalized content at scale is challenging, it is also the most rewarding when done right. Thankfully, B2B marketers are getting better at that.
Whether or not you’ve tried to implement a full-blown ABM program, chances are you’ve most likely used at least one element of it in your marketing endeavors. And that’s a great start. The key thing to remember is to be clear about what you’re trying to achieve with your ABM program and how well co-ordinated your teams are.