How to Stay Ahead in the Great Account-Based Marketing Race

PAIGE MONTGOMERY | February 28, 2020

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This account-based marketing piece is brought to you by Intelligent Demand Senior Marketing Manager & Certified Account-Based Strategist, Paige Montgomery. More and more B2B marketing executives and companies are making the transition from lead-centric to account-centric marketing, because the ROI of an account-based approach has been tried, tested, and proven. ITSMA put it best: “ABM delivers the highest return on investment of any strategic B2B marketing approach. Period.” Let’s face it, account-based marketing (ABM) is no longer a trend to test or even pilot—it’s table stakes in 2020. And thanks, in part, to the surge of account-based thought leadership and marketing technology available, B2B marketers are getting better at ABM by the day, meaning they’re also getting better at creating strategies that engage target accounts and developing effective ways to connect the dots between marketing, sales, and customer success.

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How LinkedIn ABM Enhances B2B Branding

Article | August 11, 2021

It’s hard to believe that a B2B marketer isn’t aware of the value of Account-Based Marketing (ABM) and has switched over as well. Being in a B2B business, if your priorities include efficacious alignment with sales, delivering higher quality and apter leads, and linking other marketing activities that hit directly to revenue, ABM is undoubtedly a practical part of your thinking. But, despite this, only because the benefits are understood doesn’t state that the process for building an ABM program always is the same. ABM can feel daunting for several reasons, such as: The complex task of pulling data together for target accounts The science of profiling those accounts and categorizing audiences The long-lasting task of personalizing content And the effort involved in generating the momentum to make it all happen However, it might be easy to assume that ABM is only workable for larger businesses with sophisticated analytics and resource to spare. But the fact is ABM is already delivering value for a wide range of businesses. And those businesses find many essential ingredients for doing effective ABM. Out of which, a popular ingredient is LinkedIn. It’s through LinkedIn tools that they are now integrating data from both sales and marketing. For example, by having LinkedIn-based marketing, they can now easily have a real-time view of accounts' engagement. It’s on LinkedIn where they find the targeting capabilities to deliver personalized content to the right target audiences. And it’s on LinkedIn where they can find the capabilities to scale ABM programs flexibly. Footing of LinkedIn Account-Based Marketing ABM strategy demonstrates benefits such as the ability to look at the impact of engagement in detail. It enables you to be precise about whom you are targeting and why. The more insight you can integrate while working with sales to plan an ABM program is the better. The sources can come through various marketing automation platforms, ABM-specific tools, and ABM strategies. However, it’s unusual to spot an ABM program that doesn’t combine LinkedIn as a vital source of insight or, say, as a constant source of data collection and the crucial execution channel. Its function across the various stages of an ABM program makes LinkedIn a worthy starting point for marketing teams to build an ABM strategy. Even if you are starting with confined in-house data, LinkedIn affords the essentials for prioritizing accounts, identifying the critical prospects to target, delivering personalized content, and tracking the impact of what you’re doing. It’s one crucial foundation of ABM, which you can build on as you gain more insight. What’s Inside—LinkedIn Account-Based Marketing Many consumers decide to buy a product or service before ever encountering it personally. Of course, this also applies to B2B buying. How is that? People research in B2B as much as in B2C. In the age of social media, people purchase solely through research. Social media has empowered people to research more than ever before, and for B2B, this is oftentimes observed through LinkedIn. People can research every single angle and aspect of a brand and company, from corporate social responsibility and community engagement to followers. In addition, they can research the CEO personally — what the CEO is saying, doing, and buying. So, when people are deciding whether to buy from you, they research. The first thing they'll do is search for you through the LinkedIn profile. When people click on your LinkedIn, they’ll get a positive impression if you have positive content and recommendations and lots of positive engagement on your page. Your content is positive and would lead when it shows long-form posts, short-form posts, videos, graphs, white papers, and figures that explain what you do, how you do it, and what you can do for people. When audiences are involving with your content, it's high time that you know what you are doing and are an expert in it. When Media 7 interviewed Udi Ledergor, Chief Marketing Officer at Gong, he said, “Our top channels for engaging our audience of sales professionals include our LinkedIn page, our highly engaged audience at our LinkedIn profile, and our enthusiastic list of email subscribers. To complement our digital channels, we supplement them with a good dose of content, which includes advertising, and other mediums not often used in B2B Marketing.” Similar to this, when Media 7 interviewed Ed Breault, Chief Marketing Officer at Aprimo said, “We are “humanizing” communications as much as possible, over the phone for voice, broadcast, media buying within different properties like LinkedIn. I think it’s a drive to strike a balance to create a complete experience for my audience. The foremost motivation to innovate should be solving a real-world problem your customers are experiencing.” LinkedIn Account-based Marketing has created value to add for ABM strategies. However, LinkedIn targeting also plays a vital role for smaller marketing teams who have just stepped in their ABM journey and are hungry to gain meaningful insights to help plan their program. Here are some crucial ways to use LinkedIn for targeting campaigns at the stages of executing an ABM: Build a Personal Brand One of the best ways to engage with essential accounts through LinkedIn Account-based Marketing is to have decision-makers as part of your existing system. If you already have a trustworthy relationship with them, they will be more probable to trust you and buy from you. You can take advantage of LinkedIn to build a personal brand, build solutions, and aware your accounts. There is no secret hack to using LinkedIn to expand your personal and company brand. Be authentic. Provide significance to your audience. Don't show up only to sell. To build your brand, the best content type to post will solely depend on your audience. However, LinkedIn users are 10x more active in sharing videos than text-related posts. So, ensure creating your content in the format your audience wants to consume it. Outline the Priority Accounts You can’t stay relaxed after you assign a high-value account for your ABM program. You also need to spend time profiling the business, identifying important stakeholder audiences, and developing a plan for them. The time you invest in understanding your top-priority accounts won’t only support sales, but you will also be creating relevant personas for your broader ABM program. To know how to go about profiling accounts on LinkedIn, you need to know that the Buyer Circle feature within LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a perfect starting point for profiling your priority accounts. In this, you will be able to identify all of the decision-makers and influencers expected to be involved in a purchase decision. Choose Types of Ads Ideal for LinkedIn Account-based Marketing There remains a wide range of advertisement options similar to your target audience. Determining which ones will be the best fit according to your business can benefit your ads to land with an extra punch. Let’s understand it in detail. Content Sponsored Ads A sponsored content is proven to be one of the most effective ad types to engage the audience and is best considered an easy way to get started with LinkedIn account-based marketing. In case of point, you can use an existing post on your company’s page or create a most relevant to your target audience. Content can include images, articles, videos, or presentations that win audiences’ hearts. Likewise, carousel images are a particularly robust strategy that can help humanize your brand through your ads. With the ability to use several images that can link to multiple landing pages of the company’s website, you can share more of your company’s story. Carousel-based ads can even boost your target audience to stop scrolling through their feed and interact with your ad directly to get in contact with your sales team. LinkedIn Text Ad A text ad only includes words. This means you can’t rely on fancy images to draw in leads. Instead, it’s all focused on a creative copy. Text ads can be valuable, especially because they may be cheaper than other ads, and where you can easily update the text to achieve the best ROI. So, if you are thinking of creating specific campaigns, use LinkedIn targeting options and see the results. LinkedIn Display Ads Right in line with LinkedIn account-based targeting, display ads let you target an extremely specified audience. In addition, with using a variety of content for your ads, like text, audio, video, or images, LinkedIn targeting becomes easier. The benefit you get is that you can strengthen your brand and ultimately reach more professionals, decision-makers, and influencers worldwide. LinkedIn Video Ads Video has become a popular choice for brand content because video ads make up 35% of total online expenditure. It’s a simple yet effective way to deliver your company’s message in a creative and informative method. Luckily, you can also utilize video with your ads, as LinkedIn privileges this content format in the best ways. If nothing, begin with creating video ads on LinkedIn for targeting campaigns. Generate Content that Works the Best The ability to deliver customized content is the optimum truth for an ABM program—because everything pivots around it. Personalized content is the bridge where sales meet marketing execution. If it is done right, it means that influencers and decision-makers engage with content that reflects the business’s needs and the priorities in its respective role. Creating personalized content maximizes the engagement that it can generate. For example, in LinkedIn’s recent State of Sales survey, 87% of B2B buyers in Europe say they are more probable to consider products or services from a brand that engages them with content precisely relevant to their role. Similarly, LinkedIn’s exceptional targeting capabilities play a prominent role in a lot of ABM strategies. LinkedIn account targeting ensures that, when you modify content to fit a priority account, you can deliver that content exclusively to that account Keeping an attractive offer for an eBook, guide, white paper, or infographic can be perfect for drawing key prospects’ attention. It is because you never know how it might ultimately create an easy opportunity for a conversion. How do you Now Convert Leads? While you might upload your target list appropriately, create a captivating ad for your audience, and set up all options correctly, still you might have a remaining question in the back of your mind: What if I don’t get conversions? That’s the entire purpose of this, after all. You don’t want to fade off at the last step! When lining up your ad for lead generation, you can indicate your target audience between sending them to your website’s external landing page or filling out a LinkedIn form. While an impeccably executed landing page can convert leads, LinkedIn also might deliver different options to let them fill out a form, where their information will be swiftly and efficiently filled based on their profile. That’s what the power of LinkedIn account-based marketing is doing to other B2B business bodies. Track Engagement for Best Results In the last, it is an obvious step to take! The multiple benefits of tracking your engagement will be equally apparent. Tracking the results of your accounts through LinkedIn account-based marketing can aid you, and your account-based marketer to better understand who other prospects are required to be targeted within existing accounts. Also, you can track at an appropriate time, to give an extra gentle push in the funnel. Activating real-time alerts so that your account-based marketer can get in touch with the accounts that have demonstrated interest in your business within an appropriate time frame. Doing this can help discover further opportunities that may have been missed otherwise. Providing these alerts can enable your account-based marketer to perceive exactly when targeted accounts engage with your ads. Of course, this swells up your engagement score. From this, your team can take additional steps and use that information to determine which accounts aren’t engaging and think critically—why some offerings are working and how you can change the ads that aren’t responding. Since every campaign is different, you will have to determine individual goals for each of the accounts. However, if your campaign is underperforming, there are steps you can always take to make improvements. Ready to Start-up your ABM Process with LinkedIn? Most business professionals are already strengthening LinkedIn for networking, inspiration, and knowledge sharing. So why not use the platform for everything of which it is worth able? No other social media platforms are as specific and curated as LinkedIn. So, if you know whom you are targeting and looking for a new way to capture leads, it’s not too late to use LinkedIn Account-Based marketing techniques. Again because, people are researching you, whether you like it or not. The great thing about LinkedIn Account-Based marketing is that you can take the bull by the horns and proactively craft your LinkedIn profile to guide their research on you. In this way, you are the one writing your narrative and deciding their opinion of you so that your social selling can take off. Frequently Asked Questions What are the benefits of using LinkedIn for ABM? The benefits of using LinkedIn for ABM are generating leads, driving website traffic, multiplying ROI, creating brand awareness, showing marketing potential, and marketing functionalities, among many others. What is the top 3 reason to use LinkedIn for ABM? Well, several reasons are evolving each day to use LinkedIn for ABM, but the reasons actually will give you results are: Selection of targets To profile priority accounts Score leads How to use LinkedIn ABM to generate leads? There are some steps to follow to generate leads using LinkedIn ABM. Don’t miss out on these. Firstly, know your audience Find them on LinkedIn Create a list of target accounts from their LinkedIn profile Specify your accounts Create content through keeping accounts and their business needs Choose your ad type and specify to your audience Post, tag, share throughout the platform Track your engagement { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What are the benefits of using LinkedIn for ABM?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "The benefits of using LinkedIn for ABM are generating leads, driving website traffic, multiplying ROI, creating brand awareness, showing marketing potential, and marketing functionalities, among many others." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What is the top 3 reason to use LinkedIn for ABM?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Well, several reasons are evolving each day to use LinkedIn for ABM, but the reasons actually will give you results are: Selection of targets To profile priority accounts Score leads" } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "How to use LinkedIn ABM to generate leads?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "There are some steps to follow to generate leads using LinkedIn ABM. Don’t miss out on these. Firstly, know your audience Find them on LinkedIn Create a list of target accounts from their LinkedIn profile Specify your accounts Create content through keeping accounts and their business needs Choose your ad type and specify to your audience Post, tag, share throughout the platform Track your engagement" } }] }

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How to scale ‘true’ ABM: lessons from the leaders

Article | July 13, 2021

ABM is Agent3’s heartland. It’s what we do best. And if you’re a regular reader of our website, you’ll be in no doubt about how strongly we feel about our commitment to ‘true’ ABM, ie, an approach that treats key accounts as markets of one. Why? Because it works: according to ITSMA, almost 85% of marketers measuring ROI say that ABM outperforms other marketing investments and research by Alterra Group backs this statistic, revealing ABM had higher ROI than other marketing activities. So when marketers come to us asking for pilot ABM programs on, say, 8-10 accounts it’s little wonder that the results we achieve soon means they’re asking us to ramp up that ABM activity to 50-100 accounts as interest in ABM within their organization is suddenly piqued. And therein lies the challenge for many. To scale a ‘true’ ABM program effectively without compromising on the key fundamentals it encompasses involves the alignment of many moveable parts: technology and resourcing are fundamental considerations, but then there’s also the decision about which accounts to include and why, and establishing clear objectives for the program. It’s not straightforward, but if this is a challenge you’re grappling with currently, be reassured by the multiple survey results available online that you’re certainly not alone. And it’s for this reason we chose to discuss the topic at last week’s B2B Marketing Ignite USA event with a panel of esteemed marketers: Carrie Feord – Global Head of ABM Industry Clusters, Servicenow, Giovanni Di Natale, senior manager, enterprise and ABM Marketing, Pure Storage and Vera Tatro, strategic account-based marketing, AMER, Splunk. It was great to sit down with these ABM leaders to explore some of these challenges and provide some perspective on how best to successfully navigate them. In the session, we covered: 1) How people define ABM at scale and where the line is drawn in terms of defining the difference between 1:few/1:many ‘ABM’ and good account-centric demand generation from Product, Solutions and Industry Marketing teams. We also discussed whether certain compromises need to be made as you pursue scale. 2) How to enable teams in the field to scale with ABM: the panel shared successes they have had as well as highlighting ‘banana skins’ teams need to avoid in terms of developing ABM resources/playbooks/templates/toolkits which can then be activated by a growing team of ABMers and Field Marketers. We also discussed ways to embed a ‘build once, use again’ mindset while still being true to the ideals of ABM. 3) Clarification of roles within ABM organisations across marketing when it comes to scaling and succeeding within ABM – the panel discussed what skillsets and roles they see as being important as organizations shift from being small-scale ABM pilots to broader programs. As you can probably imagine, it was a lively session and audience feedback would suggest we hit upon some very real challenges, so it was great to hear first-hand from the panel about their own experiences, successes and learnings. If you missed it, I highly recommend carving 30 minutes out of your day to watch, and if you have any feedback or comments, we’d love to hear!

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The Grizzly Bear Strategy: How to Align Your Demand Marketing and ABM Programs

Article | March 20, 2020

Some B2B marketers tell me they think account-based marketing (ABM) will eventually replace demand marketing. Some think ABM is just a new buzzword for the data-driven demand marketing they have always practiced. Others tell me that demand marketing and ABM are completely different strategies that should exist on their own within a company. To me, all of these different viewpoints are rooted in the fact that the B2B marketing ecosystem is in a state of rapid evolution and innovation and that’s fantastic for those of us in the B2B marketing profession!

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The Benefits of ABM vs Standard Inbound Marketing

Article | March 2, 2020

The allure of Account Based Marketing (ABM) should be easy for anyone to understand. Conventional marketing techniques often operate based on a take-what-you-can-get approach, where content is created to appeal to a large audience and then dispersed far and wide with the hopes of reaching the most viable buyers possible. While this is an excellent way to increase brand presence and move large quantities of products, it doesn’t offer a great deal of control over who gets exposed to the content that you’ve made. If you’re looking for specificity when it comes to your marketing strategy targets, inbound marketing only has the capacity to work retroactively. It can be easy to drive traffic towards your website and then check whether your most desired client-type is present within that large audience, but this approach offers little indication as to when your most desirable type of client is going to land on one of your pages.

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Yihaa! is our motto, and we want it to define the experience each customer has with us. Our aim is to serve as a true extension of your core Marketing & Marketing Communications team, offering a broad range of strategic, tactical and operational services. And while these activities might differ, our drive for excellence is what unites them.

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