Guest post by Michael Morris
At this point, we as marketers understand that we can’t just throw our message into the online world and wait for our audience to respond. More and more b2b businesses have found success by targeting a list of accounts and creating customized messaging and campaigns to attract these accounts. Instead of attracting a wide funnel, this account-based marketing flips the funnel and you are essentially treating each individual account as a market of one.
But why are companies shifting to an ABM strategy? Here are some reasons to consider:
- According to an ITSMA Online Survey from 2014, ABM delivered higher ROI when compared to any other marketing strategy for B2B brands.
- This strategy delivers personalized offers, which the clients always find satisfactory.
- In addition to creating personalized content, marketers also develop contextualized content through this approach. This means that they are not creating the content upon a guess based on personas, but they are tailoring it according to the needs of individuals and their position in the buying cycle.
- The connection with the right accounts can result in closing deals and high revenue. Isn’t that what marketing is all about?
- Since ABM is very focused and targeted at the most qualified accounts, it doesn’t waste your resources.
- With ABM, you can always come down to simple conclusions. You will be analyzing the effects of individual campaigns, so it will be easy to compare the achievements with the forecasted goals.
It’s clear, you can only benefit from a good ABM campaign, but, how exactly do you do it? We suggest 5 ABM methods that can bring most B2B brands towards growth:
Identifying the Target Accounts
This is the most important aspect that makes ABM different from any other B2B marketing approach, targeting the right accounts.
Bottom line, you need to develop a list of accurate predictions about what accounts will close the deal.
- “How many accounts should we target?” That’s a common question for marketers who are new to this method. The answer is, as many as you’re able to. The number of accounts you target will depend on your available sales resources, the length of the sales cycle, the intensiveness of your campaign, the current level of engagement with major prospects, and the expected size of the anticipated deals.
You need to evaluate the expectations and your budget, and then develop a precise plan. Some companies target 10 accounts and others target hundreds of them, so there’s no precise answer to this question. Engagio published information that most of their customers targeted around 50 accounts. Quite a few targeted a higher (100+) or a lower (20 – 30) number of accounts.
- One of the best ways to identify the right accounts is by discovering the common attributes of your current customers. Why do they fall for your offer and what keeps them coming back? Identify their specific needs, and then target businesses who are looking for the same thing.
In other words, you’ll be leveraging predictive analytics. That’s a successful method for developing a list of targets. It’s the process of predicting the outcomes after analyzing historical data. When you analyze the behavior of your current and previous clients, you can anticipate the development of future deals.
- Once you identify your target accounts, it’s time for some serious work: building individualized marketing programs that will get them through the funnel. The next tips will help you with that.
Encouraging Personal Meetings
ABM is all about customizing the experience of the clients and making them feel like they are getting exactly what they need. That’s why your campaign can benefit from face-to-face meetings or video conferences with prospects. Schedule the meetings; they will help you build a relationship that goes beyond dry digital connection.
How do you make the prospects accept your offer for such interaction? Business people are very busy, so they don’t like wasting their time. Try making a special offer for free evaluations or assessments, quality scores, or consultations for specific issues you know they are facing.
During the session, you’ll explain how your product or service will help them surpass the problems. Focus on this precise business. Do your homework! Understand the problems this business is facing, and explain the solutions you’re offering. Use case studies from previous successful clients, so you’ll show the results they have achieved thanks to your assistance. The important thing is to show how your product/service will work for them.
When dealing with personal meetings, you have to speak in clear language that everyone understands. Make your offer in layman’s terms. If you sense that your potential client prefers the intellectual approach, only then you can start making more complex explanations.
Personalizing the Website Experience
When the website’s design is flexible enough to change to the name of the account, the prospects will get the personalized experience you’re aiming for.
DocuSign has done a great job boosting customer engagement through a personalized website experience. The marketing team there launched company-specific campaigns for six industries and engaged them with personalized onsite content. Thanks to this approach, the sales grew by 22%, and the number of page views was increased by over 300%. Here are some ways you can personalize your website:
- Launcha welcoming popup that includes the name of the account. Use it to thank them for coming back to the site, and offer personalized suggestions of content they would be interested in.
- You can also offer discounts or an invitation for a video conference with an agent from your team.
- Encourage each client to build a profile at your site. They can save the content they like, as well as notes related to your offer. In addition, they will log into the profile whenever they want to get in touch with your support. The agent will check the information for that account, so they will base the answers and offers upon that activity.
- Resources and content – you can use content curation tools like Uberflip or LookBookHQ to create content nurtures or tracks for different accounts.
Using the Right Technology
When you commit to account-based marketing, you know you’ll be using technology to reach the key accounts, and you’ll be engaging decision makers through different channels. Here are few tools that will make the process easier:
- Engagio – The tool provides reliable analytics that let you plan the ABM campaign with utmost diligence. These are the five important metrics for ABM: coverage, engagement, awareness, reach, and influence. Engagio delivers them all. When you get these analytics, you can optimize your marketing processes. In addition, the platform automatically matches leads to the right account, aggregates account insights, and indentifies which accounts are engaging. Those functions will keep the manual tasks at minimum. Working with one contact at a time can be very risky, since that person can ignore you, or they may not get your message for any reason. Engagio coordinates the communication from all members of your team to everyone from the target account, so you can rest assured your message will reach its destination.
- Demandbase – DemandBase is an account based advertising solution. The company recently released an artificial intelligence driven business graph that helps B2B brands to monitor in-depth business behavior and relationships across businesses including customers, partners, suppliers, competitors, investments and more to identify which companies and buying committees are in market for particular solutions. This allows your company to better predict potential buyers, and personalize ad campaigns and website experiences to close more deals. You can target key prospects with custom messages based on their experience on the web or your website in particular. In addition, you can serve ads only to the accounts you need to engage.
- One of the benefits of Terminus is that there is no minimum media spend required when using this solution. You can start with a small set of target accounts and just one campaign and scale up as you see success.
- LeanData – a tool that simplifies the account-based marketing process by matching new leads against customers and putting all data in a clean, simple view. With the view it provides, you won’t need any manual interventions to ensure successful routing. You’ll see which account a particular lead matches to, and you’ll get a quick view of the leads matches you might not be aware of. This company provides two types of products:
- Demand Management, which gives you account-based reports and launches targeted campaigns. Through it, you can monitor the journey of the buyer.
- Sales Accelerator, which presents matching leads to account, duplicates, related reads, and mass lead conversion.
- Diligent Planning and Consultations with Managers
A successful ABM strategy depends on proper planning. You need to host review sessions with sales leadership and territory-level managers. Thanks to the insights they provide you with, you’ll develop and upgrade the overall strategy. The only way to deliver coordinated and personalized experience for targeted accounts is through teamwork and loads of coordination.
The ABM approach is targeting a small set of accounts, so it gives you a chance to measure as effectively as possible. As soon as you land a target account, you can call a meeting with your team, so you can plan the future development of the marketing campaign. Then, review the situation with the precise account as frequently as possible. Ask the team what they succeeded with, what didn’t work, and what requirements the client had. These briefings will help you preserve the effectiveness of the targeted campaign on the long term.
It’s Your Turn to Shine in ABM
The principles of ABM are too complex to grasp in a single guide. Before you engage in it, make sure to develop a strong list of goals and an action plan that will take you there. Don’t forget to measure the results; that practice will keep you in touch with reality. Your ABM campaign will go through different stages, and the data you get will influence your decisions. The plan should be flexible, so you can upgrade it as you go with the flow.
Ultimately, ABM is a relatively fresh approach to marketing, which is open to as many innovations as you can think of.
Michael Morris is a digital marketing strategist. Today he’s working on essay writing service called Assignment Masters. Also, he writes articles and shares his experience with wide audience.