Blog

How to build a bespoke B2B account-based marketing strategy

01.02.2021

Is it time for your enterprise to consider a B2B account-based marketing strategy?

More targeted than traditional inbound marketing efforts, an account-based marketing strategy works by aligning sales and marketing teams and targeting specific high-value prospects.

As a unique digital marketing approach, B2B ABM takes advantage of highly personalised content. By targeting specific accounts it delivers high-value wins, efficient campaigns, and accelerated results.

With a range of ABM strategies available for small businesses and global enterprises alike, this approach can provide your business with the tools and strategy needed to close your most sought-after deals.

In our step-by-step guide below, we explore how B2B marketers can deploy a business-to-business ABM strategy most effectively.

Stage 1: Which ABM strategy is right for your business?

Not all ABM strategies achieve the same goals. The one you pick will influence the content you create, and the accounts you’ll be targeting. The three most common ABM strategies are:

Strategic (one-to-one)

Use a strategic ABM approach to approach a very limited number of target customer accounts worth more than seven figures annually.

With a focus on customisation, this approach can involve dedicated high-end experiences, executive briefings, and content that resolves the specific pain points of target accounts. However, because of the level of personalisation needed, this approach comes at no small sum. It’s not unusual to expect investments of £25,000–£45,000 or more per target account on ad-spend, content creation, social media boosts, and more.

Scale (one-to-few)

A scale ABM program is ideal for targeting high-value six-figure prospects, usually divided into clusters of 20 or so.

Research is the key to success for this strategy. You’ll need to thoroughly tailor content to cluster-specific challenges and values. Businesses that choose a scale ABM approach invest an estimated £43,000 in each cluster – an average of £2,200 per target account.

Programmatic (one to many)

This approach is ideal for targeting many five-figure prospects, with some level of personalisation. The main goals here are usually to reach new markets and achieve steady growth.

Your target accounts should be worth around £100,000 per year and can be segmented into clusters of up to 100 – with an estimated budget of £1,000 per account.

For programmatic ABM, the most effective mediums are e-mail, account advertising, tailored social media content and direct mail.

Once you’ve identified the strategy that best suits you, it’s time to get stuck in to some heavy research.

Learn more: Why your business needs an account-based marketing strategy.

Stage 2: Identify your highest value prospective clients

Research is the name of the game when it comes to any account-based marketing activity. The goal of this stage is to optimise your marketing and sales processes by focusing your energy on the target accounts most likely to close.

Finding target accounts can stem from both external research and trawling your current prospect list in search of suitable candidates.

Once you’ve found the right people, your research should then fall into two categories:

  1. Understanding their unique pain points and challenges
  2. Expanding your list of contacts

Coloured by genuine insight into your audience, your content will more effectively cut through the noise and start to filter targets into the sales funnel.

What do your target accounts care about? What are they struggling with, and how can you help?

Contacts also play a pivotal role in ABM. The more verified contacts you have, the more potential touchpoints there are for you to target. If you’re unsure about how to find these, some great ways to start are:

  • Finding existing data in your CRM
  • Manually researching sources such as LinkedIn and other relevant social media channels, event websites, and even industry forums
  • Using Sales Development Reps to call the account and build out contacts
  • Estimating email conventions, although riskier, may allow you to uncover email addresses if you know a company uses conventions such as ‘first.last@company.com’

Stage 3: Engage targets with value-led content

Personalised content is key in ABM strategies – and is perhaps your one chance to demonstrate your value to prospects.

Once your messaging has been defined, you need to decide how you’ll present it. There is no quick trick to creating content that easily engages, attracts and then delights. The only way to do this is to really rely on the research you’ve done and let this shape your content.

  • Does your audience prefer short videos or longer formats?
  • Are they interested in academic whitepapers, or at-a-glance infographics?
  • Do they use social media, or will a purely direct email approach be more effective?

B2B industries are only becoming more fast-paced and competitive. Generic and sales-driven content just won’t cut it – these factors are often met with high bounce rates. Customised content will be your best route to engaging your personas.

Stage 4: Monitor, nurture and measure results

Once content has been sent out to relevant contacts, the next step is clear: monitor, nurture, and adapt as needed.

While B2B ABM methods are often seen as more efficient than traditional lead generation techniques – with 100% of efforts, budget, and time focused on prospective accounts – the nurture process can still be fairly time intensive.

This is because ABM strategies should always emphasise quality over quantity. Persistence pays off here, and although target accounts may not be ready to convert right away, they may well be in 3 months.

As a result, it’s often best to keep accounts for longer than what would be expected in traditional activity. Instead of generating ‘hot leads,’ ABM marketing influences people who matter. This is a new mindset about how marketing is measured, and the metrics used to gauge progress won’t always be so clear.

Instead of only relying on metric-based results to measure performance, ask yourself:

  • Am I deepening my relationships with target prospects?
  • Where are my target accounts currently in their buyer journeys?
  • What is my current ROI from ABM marketing efforts?

Once you’ve answered these questions, it’s time to reflect again on your campaigns. By reacting to results and adapting campaigns, you can continually (and incrementally) improve your marketing efforts to more strategically reach your audience.

Ready to make an impact?

As a B2B marketing agency, our team is built on decades of technology marketing expertise and passionately skilled people.

Our EVOLVE approach means we can act with unparalleled agility and a collaborative culture. Instead of working with a faceless company, you’ll have a dedicated team of individuals who communicate regularly, are more responsive than any other agency, and feel like your in-house team.

Learn more about our account-based marketing services.