Guest post provided by: Adam Enfroy
It’s no secret that B2B is a narrow niche.
And with more players entering that niche, lead generation can become slow for many businesses.
But it shouldn’t be so for you.
If you employ the right strategies, your pipeline will flow with sales qualified leads (SQL).
And one such strategy you should implement is account-based marketing (ABM).
What is Account-Based Marketing (ABM) and How Does It Work?
Account-based marketing (ABM) is a strategic B2B marketing strategy in which sales and marketing align to identify and target a set of high-value accounts.
ABM uses personalized campaigns designed to engage each account. Marketing messages are then tailor-made to address the specific attributes and needs of each account. Here’s a simple framework of how ABM works:
- Identify high-value accounts
- Target key stakeholders at those businesses
- Create messaging to appeal to their personas
- Deploy your marketing message through various marketing channels
ABM is definitely a strategy you can’t afford to ignore.
Sadly, many brands are still slow to adopt and implement an ABM strategy. One of Ascend2’s studies revealed that only 22% of brands have an ABM strategy in place and running.
Here’s a summary of the findings:
Let’s take a look at a few of its advantages, and you’ll see why.
6 Advantages of Account-Based Marketing
While account-based marketing may target a few high-profile accounts, the results it brings are worth the laser-focused market it targets. A few benefits of the strategy include:
- Easier to Attribute ROI
Attributing ROI to specific aspects of your sales and marketing can be tricky. However, ABM makes it easy as it is easy to track and measure. That’s because, with fewer accounts and select marketing channels, it’s easier to keep tabs on the metrics that matter.
Because of this, over 87% of marketers implementing ABM say it delivers a higher ROI than all other marketing strategies they employ.
- Improved Customer Acquisition
Because it’s hyper-targeted, ABM improves your customer acquisition process. Not only is your lead acquisition strategy streamlined, but it also improves the quality of the leads you generate.
A big advantage of ABM is that it helps you generate leads that are a perfect fit for your business.
As a result, this helps you to close more deals faster.
- More Personalized
Personalization was a buzzword in B2C circles. But research proves that it’s also a big success driver for B2B brands.
And ABM helps you deliver personalized messaging. It also enables you to create personalized customer journeys.
The result, of course, is higher conversion rates and a growing bottom line.
- Shortens the Sales Cycle
Because ABM works by targeting specific accounts instead of prospecting from a large pool, the sales cycle is streamlined.
Unqualified accounts are removed earlier on, leaving those that are more likely to convert.
This means you can quickly build relationships with your prospects. Closing sales is also easier and faster as your target accounts are aligned to your offer.
- Uses Marketing Resources Efficiently
Another significant benefit you’ll get from ABM is that it eliminates marketing waste. By focusing on accounts that matter, your marketing resources are used more efficiently. This translates into higher ROI and better customer experiences.
- Unifies Sales and Marketing Teams
For a long time, sales and marketing have been working like opposing teams. The impact has been a disjointed effort that reduces the impact they can have on a business’s bottom line.
But with ABM, sales and marketing come into alignment resulting in a more significant impact and a better customer experience. This is all thanks to shared data between the two departments (and others involved).
With benefits such as these, it’s unsurprising that many brands are beginning to pay attention to ABM.
Account-Based Marketing – 7 Strategies for Success in 2021
Now that you know what ABM is and its benefits, let’s quickly dive into the top strategies you must know and implement for 2021.
Here are the top ABM strategies to keep on your radar:
- Clearly Define Your Target Accounts
Knowing which accounts to target is the first step to designing an effective ABM strategy.
However, unlike other marketing strategies that rely on developing buyer personas, ABM doesn’t. That’s because ABM targets an entire organization, not a persona.
To define your target accounts, you must, first of all, take a look at the current accounts you have in your portfolio. Determine what attributes they have in common. This will point you to other businesses with similar attributes, giving you better targets to prospect.
Defining your target accounts will require data sharing between key stakeholders like sales, marketing, customer success teams, and any other department that’s customer-facing.
This data-driven approach will ensure that you only target accounts that are more likely to convert.
- Identify Key Internal Players
Once you’ve defined and determined your target accounts, the next step is to dig deeper and identify the key players in those organizations. To do this, you’ll need to know how decisions are made in these organizations. More importantly, you must find out who the key decision-makers are.
This knowledge will help you strategize how you’ll approach, interact with, and influence these key decision-makers.
To pull this off, you must put on a detective’s hat and investigate your target prospects using every platform available.
This can be your CRM, social media, and anywhere else they may have an online (or offline) presence.
- Choose Your Automation Tools
For your ABM strategy to be effective, you must ensure you choose your tools wisely. ABM depends on different software for functions such as (among many others):
- Data collection
- Lead generation
- Customer relationship management
- Project and task management
The impact of your strategy depends on the quality and effectiveness of the tools you use. Therefore, the marketing tool stack you use is critical.
Pick every component carefully and make everything work seamlessly. According to a survey we conducted, to create an effective martech stack, here are the main features to look for:
Failure to build an effective marketing technology stack could result in a poorly executed ABM strategy.
It could also negatively impact your customer journey. And that’s something that could reduce your conversion rates. You need to ensure your tools integrate together as well. As a marketing company, your CRM software needs to sync with your automation tools, email marketing software, webinar tools and platforms, and more.
However, picking the right tools will result in you efficiently running your campaigns and managing your accounts.
- Select Your Marketing Channels Wisely
A successful ABM strategy relies on building meaningful relationships with the decision-makers for the accounts you’re targeting.
This means either attracting them or reaching out to them on the platforms they spend most of their time on.
For example, if you’re targeting financial executives, you’re better off leveraging platforms like display ads placed on financial journals.
On the other hand, if you’re targeting buyers in the visual design industry, you can leverage platforms like Instagram, TikTok, or Pinterest.
Knowing the kind of platforms your target audience prefers also helps you better understand the kind of content you should create.
- Create Personalized Content
The case for content marketing can’t be stressed enough.
After all, if you look at it, every touchpoint your customers have with your brand has content at its core.
That’s why you must create a content strategy for your ABM. A content strategy that focuses on personalized content, no matter the distribution channel.
Because ABM targets different key decision-makers, one of the best ways to plan your content is to use the pillar and cluster content creation model.
This involves starting a new blog and creating one comprehensive piece of content that discusses the problem you solve.
You can then create other supplementary pieces of content that explain the concepts of the pillar article in-depth.
Designing your content strategy in this way will help ensure that you create content that addresses each buyer’s needs.
- Build Relationships with Your Target Account’s Buying Team
Successful businesses are built on the foundation of relationships.
This principle holds true for ABM as well.
The key to a winning ABM strategy is to forge strong relationships with the decision-makers in your target account’s team. Similar to traditional lead nurturing, this may take time. But the results are well worth it.
A study we recently conducted revealed the following channels as being the most effective for building relationships with leads:
No matter how long it may take, the investment you make in winning a single account will pay for itself.
- Measure and Analyze Your Progress
Like all marketing strategies, it’s important to track your progress. Identifying and measuring your key performance indicators (KPIs) is vital if you’re to:
- Identify gaps and weaknesses in your strategy
- Know whether your strategy is working or not
Keeping an eye on your KPIs will help make better iterations of your strategy if need be. This will ensure that your strategy is always running at its optimum.
Account-based Marketing – Powering Your Business’ Success
Account-based marketing is not an entirely new concept. But it’s growth in recent years is nothing short of phenomenal. And that’s all due to the results this marketing approach brings.
And from the look of things, ABM is only set to grow in the coming years. That’s why you must arm yourself with these top ABM strategies that will work for you today and into the future.
Guest Author Byline
With over 500,000 monthly readers, Adam Enfroy’s mission is to teach the next generation of online entrepreneurs how to scale their influence at startup speed.