Account-Based Marketing: A 6-Step Guide
By Kevin Reynolds, Director of Client Services, TruStar Marketing, LLC
Many marketers are embracing account-based marketing (ABM) to complement the traditional, short-term marketing goal of generating leads for long-term revenue growth. But once you cut through the hype about ABM, executing a campaign is not complicated.
ABM is a strategy of engaging with specific sets of customers within a market. In an ABM campaign, marketers work closely with sales teams to identify and target key prospects. By working together, sales and marketing teams can tailor personalized messaging to decision makers within target accounts.
ABM prioritizes the relationships with your highest opportunity, highest-value accounts. For businesses that sell consulting services, account-based marketing targets accounts that have the highest need and appropriate budget.
The result? Higher revenues in a shorter period of time.
By taking the time to tailor your message to their unique needs, you make buyers more receptive to your outreach and improve the odds of driving engagement.
In a 2019 benchmark study by the Information Technology Services Marketing Association (ITSMA) and ABM Leadership Alliance, almost 75% of marketers who use ABM strategies planned to increase their ABM budgets for this year. The study also discovered that out of 196 surveyed marketers from business services companies and B2B technology, 71% of those companies saw bigger ROI within their ABM initiatives compared to their traditional marketing efforts.
Success with account-based marketing starts with clear communication between your marketers and sales representatives. By starting with the end goal of your ABM program, your marketing and sales teams can determine the best target accounts and develop a strategy for reaching and engaging with those buyers.
How to create an effective ABM strategy
Follow these key steps to develop and execute an effective account-based marketing initiative.
Step 1: Determine your high-value accounts
Review existing accounts to identify which ones are high-value and a strong fit for your company. Prioritize accounts that are the most profitable and offer the biggest long-term value.
When gathering data, consider strategic factors like revenue potential, likelihood to repeat business with you and market influence. These data points can include industry, company size, revenue, location, spend and technology used.
Step 2: Research accounts and determine key players
Your marketing and sales teams must jointly identify the structure of your target accounts and which key roles influence the final buying decision. For example, a company that sells marketing software might determine that the decision-makers of an account are the CFO and CMO. To engage these key players and drive consensus for a purchase decision, you must address the concerns and needs of each decision-maker and tie them back to the objective of their company.
You should also find out contract end dates, if possible, so that you can properly position yourself at the right time. Your research should learn what websites decision makers engage with, what conferences they attend and what their priorities are. Company news releases, LinkedIn mining and conversations with sales reps can provide insight and help shape your messaging.
Step 3: Define content and create targeted campaigns
Marketers and sales reps must develop personalized campaigns designed to resonate with their target accounts and key figures. Messaging should adequately address business challenges the target account experiences as well as the needs and interests of each key stakeholder.
A successful ABM strategy reflects what stakeholders believe and the current state of their conversation. Make a strong argument and prove you have the authority to take a stand. Organize your story in terms of value delivered, supported with real-world models that demonstrate your ideas in action.
Step 4: Establish optimal channels
Discover your most reliable channels for targeting accounts and key roles — such as web, mobile and email — to research trends and solutions. Keep in mind which channels will be more appropriate for specific industries or specific roles you might be targeting.
You should also consider channels outside of the traditional platforms. For example, Internet Protocol (IP) targeting is a powerful tactic lets you serve up specific ads to individual decision makers, based on location and IP address. Case in point: TruPoint Account-Based Marketing, TruStar’s IP targeting service, can match physical addresses to IP addresses with extreme precision. Once a match is confirmed, we can begin serving your display or video banner ad on websites that only those people visit. Since your ads reach the exact target household, you will have zero wasted impressions or budget.
Other effective channels include organic search and specialized paid ads, which target specific keywords and bring you to the top of search engine results pages. And paid social ads let you target by your target demographic. Contact us to discuss a wide range of ABM opportunities.
Step 5: Execute coordinated campaigns
For maximum impact, it’s important for marketing and sales teams to actively coordinate campaigns across multiple channels and engage with accounts on an individual level. Campaigns include a variety of tactics, including ads, direct mail, email and special events to drive your ABM initiative and increase outreach.
Step 6: Measure and optimize
Testing, measuring and optimizing an ABM campaign is different for traditional lead-generation tactics. The marketing and sales teams are collectively responsible for driving revenue and ensuring that results improve over time. You are moving accounts, not individuals.
Review the results of individual campaigns, account-level trends, engagement and closed-won deals to get a more accurate depiction of your strategy. Allow your team enough time to produce results—aligned with the usual purchase cycle—and adjust your ABM strategy as needed.
TruStar Marketing has experience and capabilities in account-based marketing for a number of industries.
TruStar Marketing fuses the art and science of marketing to improve your business. We specialize in health care, insurance and high-tech manufacturing industries. Digital marketing that works stars with a free introductory call.