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Best Practices on Developing an Account-Based Marketing Strategy – Business 2 Community


Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is a B2B strategy in which businesses target a clearly defined set of targeted accounts and create personalized campaigns focused on key decision makers within those accounts.

Instead of casting a wide net to capture an array of varying leads, the focus is placed on quality over quantity. Targets are generally high-yield accounts and are considered a good fit for the business’ products or services. Marketing efforts are thus more personalized to the individual prospects and can lead to higher conversion rates.

Through ABM, landing these target business accounts often means generating more revenue, penetrating new and desirable territories and positively influencing your market.

Initial Considerations for ABM Strategies

Your very first step to get started with account-based marketing will be to identify your target accounts based on your buyer personas. Additionally, there are several key factors to consider when developing your target account list.

Revenue Opportunity

Revenue opportunity is a huge consideration as one of your goals of an ABM strategy should be to identify new revenue-generating opportunities. Take some time to compare target account revenue opportunities to your average deal size. Focus on those accounts as well as consider tapping into verticals or markets that you have not reached out to.

Company Size

Targeting large- (enterprise) and small-sized (startups) both come with their sets of pros and challenges. Big name companies can give a boost to your client portfolio and improve your brand’s trustworthiness, but may require more resources to get buy-in from the target account’s decision maker. Targeting smaller-sized companies will typically require less time to close in the sales cycle, but may result in lower revenue opportunities. Whichever organization size you approach is totally dependent on your company’s unique persona profile.

Matching Your Business Offerings to Target Accounts’ Pain Points

Target accounts’ needs should be a direct match to your offerings. Closely align AMB efforts to those prospects that will benefit from using your products or services. It is a waste of time, money and resources if you market to the wrong audience.

Understand your competition when targeting an account. If you are able to, research what companies the target already interacts with on a regular basis. If those companies are direct competitors, identify the unique value proposition from your products/services that would compel the target account to choose your business or solution over the competitor’s offerings. Those key benefits and value propositions are favorable messaging points to really capture your target’s attention.

Geography

When implementing ABM, another key consideration should be the geographic location of your target accounts. Do you want to focus on local businesses in your sales team’s territories or perhaps you have a cloud-based solution that can be utilized anywhere globally? Discuss what geographic boundaries to have based on supporting your organization’s sales goals.

If you are looking to expand your reach, targeting accounts in untapped regions is also a great way to broaden your market. Start by researching companies in a specific area that would be interested in your offerings and then narrow your list based on the other key considerations already mentioned.

Prioritize and Finalize ABM Lists

Once you have your list of target accounts, assign priority levels before finalizing. Priority levels will vary depending on what you set as important business goals.

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When creating your priority levels, include variables such as the buyer’s journey. Accounts that will be easier to drive through a sales funnel should be of higher priority, as the resources it will take to gain them as clients may be much smaller, and thus your ROI much higher.

Readily-available content to use for your marketing efforts to specified accounts should also raise the priority of that target. Leveraging high quality content that aligns to the business needs of easy-to-reach accounts will often closely align to your business goals.

Segment your accounts with different priority levels into separate lists. It is easier to view your target accounts relevance from a more organized view. Do not create more than five lists, two to three is ideal and more manageable.

Set Goals & Monitor Engagement

Establish your goals and set up metrics to measure engagement from your ABM campaigns. Having the right metrics in place to measure and track your marketing efforts will make it easier to monitor the progress on achieving your ABM goals.

Sync with your marketing and sales teams to determine the best way to track target account activity and progress. Create a marketing dashboard to track performance and share with your team regularly to keep everyone on the same page. Track what responses you receive from ABM target accounts such as emails, social media interactions, content downloads and website engagement – being sure to have a defined lead scoring process in place for each of these interactions.

Identify high and low activity profiles and monitor their relative lead scores as you do. It is important to monitor lead scoring as you go through engagement process. High activity profiles should take precedence over low activity profiles, as they will likely be easier to advance though your sales funnel.

Planning Campaigns

ABM Campaigns should be tailored to match where the target account is in your sales funnel. Not all accounts pass through at the same rate. At the top of the funnel, generate awareness and nurture the contacts you have already established with your retargeting efforts. As they move down the funnel, support interests exhibited and provide highly-focused content such as case studies, white papers or webinars.

Personalizing your ABM campaigns to match the buyer’s journey demonstrates interest in your target accounts and knowledge in their business.

Determine all of the distribution channels available to reach your target accounts and evaluate which channels are best fit for both your business and your target’s business.

Work with what you already have on deck. Save yourself the time and energy of creating entirely new campaigns for each profile. But remember to keep it personal. Personalized content, even as simple as their name in an email greeting, can generate higher engagement rates.

Generating Revenue

Keep diligent and detailed tracking of your generated revenue from your account-based marketing efforts.

This is the most important step to ensuring your sales and marketing teams are aligned. Check in with sales to see what content and messaging is resonating and what’s not. Pull data from teams and communicate regularly about what the data is saying about your effectiveness.

Revenue reaching or surpassing your goals is obviously an ideal outcome. Analyze what has worked well with those accounts. Replicate efforts that returned positive results on similar target accounts and other lists.

You may also notice that those same efforts don’t work on all accounts. It is good to remember your lead scoring and respond to the engagement the target account has already demonstrated. Account-based marketing is not about blanket targeting, but rather finding better fit targets for higher-quality leads.

“The most important thing we can do as marketers is focus on revenue generation versus lead generation.” – Christa Kleinhans Tuttle

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