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.
Article | February 17, 2020
The B2B sales cycle can be a long journey with many twists and turns in the road. For example, when you’re selling a complex service or piece of software that’s going to impact multiple processes within a business, you need to be patient and attentive in your lead nurturing process. However, here I want to talk about one powerful approach to give your lead nurturing strategy extra fuel and encourage a faster conversion. This is focused on Account-based Marketing (ABM), an approach that has become increasingly popular within B2B organizations over recent years. In his Smart Insights article, Adrian O’Gara defines ABM as: “a strategic approach that coordinates personalized sales and marketing efforts, to target specific accounts for new business and create deeper and broader relationships with existing customers.” Essentially, ABM creates “markets of one” based on specific accounts, allowing you to make your marketing efforts highly specific and personal.
Article | April 1, 2020
Revenue teams need to be equipped with actionable information in order to move buyers through an account-based buying journey and close sales. But much of the information they need lives in the “dark funnel,” an ocean of anonymized buyer data. Gathering intent data can give revenue teams the advantages they need to successfully guide prospects in the buying journey.
Article | February 20, 2020
For B2B companies around the world, one of the biggest challenges is finding big clients and closing deals successfully. In the last few years, Account-Based Marketing (ABM) has emerged as a preferred marketing solution for B2B brands. It is a marketing technique that involves creating customized and focused campaigns based on the individual needs and pain points of specific clients. While it is definitely effective if you only have a small list of clients you want to target, it restricts you from finding new clients which is exactly where inbound marketing comes in.
Inbound marketing is a technique that focuses on attracting customers to products and services with the help of content that looks both intuitive and valuable to the prospect. This can include social media marketing, content marketing, branding, and search engine optimization. The idea is to solve the already existing problems of the customers and encourage them to make a purchase.