I’ve been approached by many B2B marketers on how to go about implementing Account-Based Marketing (ABM).
Since so many people are interested in growing their understanding, I’ve decided to share some actionable tips and tricks I’ve compiled over the years.
You will benefit as you craft your ABM strategy.
Account-based marketing is nothing new
In B2B marketing, many marketers who work closely with sales have, to some extent, done some level of ABM or Account-Based Selling (ABS).
For example, if you’ve worked with sales to host account-specific events, you’ve done ABM or ABS.
Or, if you’ve created customized content that sales can use for specific accounts, you’ve done ABM.
In some companies, this type of account support is done through marketing.
In many companies, the support may be given by sales enablement, field marketing, business development, or even sales ops.
Nevertheless, customized account-related outreach is a form of account-based marketing, even though it’s not done by marketing.
Recently, ABM has become a buzzword for two reasons
1. Using technology to scale ABM for more account coverage.
In the past, account-specific marketing outreach was limited to strategic, high-value accounts; it was challenging to scale to more sales accounts.
If you want to scale, you need to add more manpower.
With a wide array of digital technologies, marketers can utilize technologies to scale account-specific outreach to more accounts through a mix of marketing tactics.
Scalability is not something you could do easily in the past.
2. Vendors using ABM to position their software solutions or platforms to align sales and marketing.
Sales and marketing alignment has always been difficult since sales and marketing have different approaches and success metrics.
Many vendors use ABM to position themselves to talk to both sales and marketing teams.
Key elements of ABM: scalability, integration, and personalization
Herein lies the biggest challenge of ABM – how to scale ABM to cover more accounts.
One way to scale ABM is by creating a tiered strategy, such as the top 25-50 accounts; classifying the next tier (let’s say 51-100) by clustering specific accounts. Then customize your communications specifically to address these similar accounts.
To propose or create your tiered strategy, you need to understand sales priorities and strategies for these accounts.
Then, determine the appropriate marketing tactics to complement sales’ game plans to scale.
Now that you have your tiered strategy and have identified various marketing tactics for different tiers.
The next step is to build your workflows based on whatever marketing tactics you plan to implement for different tiers.
The ONLY way to bring ABM to life is to establish a process using the necessary platforms and software solutions.
Say you want to do paid media outreach to 100 accounts; you need to:
- Agree on ABM objectives and success metrics
- Identify a list of prospects from your CRM database
- Clean up your mailing lists to make sure everything is up-to-date (Note: this is a step that tends to be missed by marketing)
- Determine the type of paid media you want to do by working with your media agency
- Craft the workflow in a way that makes sense for you
- Source the right platform for each step of the workflow
- Monitor the actual results against the goals
- Report out to the sales team
Martech integration is the backbone of any modern ABM.
You can’t do ABM successfully and smoothly until you have a solid process in place, so keep that in mind before diving in.
Truth be told, the ultimate goal of ABM is to be able to tailor your outreach to each of the accounts.
In essence, that’s a nirvana of personalization.
That said, there is no cookie-cutter solution; every marketer and every company does personalization differently or at different stages.
There are many forms of personalization, depending on your marketing outreach.
Offering personalized holiday gifts is a form of personalization, for example.
Sending a personalized email is also a form of personalization.
And, creating a personalized paid ad is another form of personalization.
See, there are many paths to personalization, just like there are many channels to market your products.
You need to determine which channels work best for your company, and then think through how personalization will work within that specific channel most effectively.
Let’s take email marketing as an example; addressing your email recipients by their first names is a form of personalization. (You’d think this would be a no-brainer, but many brands still don’t do it. Nevertheless, it makes such a difference!)
Segmenting your email lists is a great form of personalization. Then, you can send different offerings to the appropriate target audiences.
It’s a nice gesture that should help keep ideal customers interested in what you have to say, and that should ultimately compel them to purchase your products or services.
Here’s a crash course in segmentation from Constant Contact to check out.
Aside from personalized email marketing, analyzing prospects who come to your website(s) based on their IP addresses and content consumption preferences is yet another form of personalization because it allows you to gauge their intent and send an appropriate follow-up email.
So there you have it!
I just gave you several examples of personalization at different levels; think about how you’d like to apply some of these tactics and what makes sense regarding your specific circumstances.
Bear in mind that there are many more ways to go about the personalization process.
The ideas I’ve given you here aren’t an exhaustive list, but they’re a great place to start!
Get creative and watch the results pay off.
Now you should have a better understanding of ABM and what you can do to refine your marketing outreach to accommodate sales’ needs. If you want to read more about ABM check out my blog posts: Complete Guide to Account-Based Marketing and The Hidden Side of Account-Based Marketing.
Understand how you want to scale to support different accounts, then build your workflows so you can personalize your outreach for each account in question.
See, this is not rocket science, right? It does take time, budget, and resources to make things happen, but it’s more than manageable if you just put in the effort.
Remember – don’t jump on ABM until you have a plan in place and have gotten buy-in from your management and sales executives.
Once you’ve sorted those essential parts, you can dig into scalability, martech integration, and personalization.
Let me know how your ABM efforts go.
And if you’d like to discuss this topic further, or share your specific pain points, feel free to reach out. I’d love to help problem-solve.