Account-based marketing (ABM) is a B2B marketing strategy built around targeting a pre-selected list of accounts. The power of ABM lies in personalization and full alignment between marketing and sales. But it’s not the right strategy for everyone. Let’s look at seven questions and seven tips to help you determine if ABM is the best strategy for you.
Question 1: Are your sales and marketing teams working together?
If there is a good collaborative relationship between Sales and Marketing, and you’d like to build on it to bring in specific accounts, then ABM could be a good fit. When you have a set number of accounts and complex buying journeys, working without sales collaboration will be very difficult.
Hint – If you have not done ABM before, we recommend starting small. Begin with a pilot so you can quickly detect how to best shape the collaboration process for a success.
Question 2: Is your marketing department ready?
To roll out an ABM strategy, you need to have a few things resolved:
- Clear insights into the market and buyers
- Clear agreements between Sales and Marketing about lead follow-up
- Content that can be personalized
- Measurable goals that go beyond measuring clicks, e.g. measuring account engagement and deal size.
Hint – If you are still unsure, try talking to an expert or follow a training course to learn more from other organizations that work with ABM.
Question 3: Do you have the resources?
Setting up an ABM strategy is a long-term approach. Do not expect results within six weeks and do not expect to run ABM as a small side project. Naturally you could automate some parts. Depending on your approach (one-to-one, one-to-few or one-to-many), making the planning and implementation easier. Be prepared to spend time on devising and executing the personalization of your content, and then deploying it through the right channels.
Hint – Start by modifying and refreshing existing content, so that it is suitable for your campaign.
Vega Sims, Lead Consultant at SPOTONVISION: “In an ABM programme we are rolling out currently, the first results are coming in after six months. Sales and Marketing are very enthusiastic, and we are extremely pleased that they didn’t give up during the first six weeks.”
Question 4: Is your market suitable for ABM?
ABM is useful for long and complex buying processes where you need to engage multiple stakeholders simultaneously. Larger purchases involve more than one decision maker. ABM is mainly about reaching as many relevant influencers as possible within an account.
Hint – Map out your personas and buyer journeys and, together with Sales, think about how you can help and involve the most important stakeholders.
Question 5: Can you segment your prospects or customers?
The focus on accounts means you have to segment your data using good intelligence. By segmenting you create the groups that you will then approach through ABM. Can you segment your strategic accounts based on geography or industry and size? Do you have an ideal customer profile (ICP) in mind? If you cannot segment based on data, it will be difficult to get started with ABM.
Hint – You can also segment based on intention (for example: who is downloading something from your website), but even then, you still need to have a clear idea of who your ideal customer would be.
Question 6: Is your brand known in the market?
If your brand is already well known amongst your target accounts, then ABM is a good next step. But if you are a new player, you also need to work on increasing brand awareness. You can do this in parallel with your ABM program, or you can start to build brand awareness as first step, so the chance of a ‘soft landing’ is increased when reaching out to a new prospect.
Hint – Don’t expect too much from just a LinkedIn campaign. It’s best to use a healthy mix of channels. Use online and offline platforms. Also consider ‘old-fashioned’ direct mail.
“In one of our successful customer campaigns, we sent a letter to the people we wanted to reach with a headset as a gift. We invited them to a webinar. We did not know anyone in the target audience. Conversion of this campaign was 10%, from cold contact to qualified account.”
Question 7: Do you have the right technology?
When you start working with ABM, ideally you should have an integrated and optimized marketing automation and CRM platform that can accommodate account-based marketing. And, a bonus will be if you can enrich your tech stack with personalization tools. If your systems aren’t integrated, it will be difficult to measure account engagement and to understand how ABM affects your results.
We created a practical overview in which we compare the options of account-based marketing with six marketing automation platforms.
Hint – Don’t get discouraged if you don’t have all the technology in house. Of course, you can start, as long as you have your data in order. Think of segmentation, account insights and your content.
Complete our ABM readiness scan
To find out if account-based marketing is right for you can do our ABM readiness scan to find out and get further insights, give me a call or send me an e-mail.