Table of contents:
- What is account-based marketing?
- How does account-based marketing help your business?
- Benefits of ABM
- How do I create an ABM strategy?
- How do I build ABM personas?
- How does ABM integrate sales and marketing teams?
- How to build data for account-based marketing success
Account-based marketing is a strategic digital marketing method which directly targets your most high-value accounts and best-fit prospects. This works particularly well for lead generation with B2B clients.
The aim of ABM is to engage these specific accounts in a more direct, personal and rapid manner. To do this, ABM focuses on sales and marketing alignment. Communication is integrated in early stages and workflows are tailored to target individual organisations.
Within this approach, an organisation is represented as an entire market, with its own sales cycles and buyer journeys. This framework nurtures each buyer type and generates leads from both ends of the buyer cycle.
ABM can dramatically improve your return on marketing plan investment and serves to build solid relationships with bigger, more valuable clients.
Inbound marketing may place resource on building awareness in wider markets and sectors and nurturing expansive buyer cycles. In contrast, ABM focuses marketing and sales resource on specific organisations, helping you accelerate engagement and see return sooner.
With more strategic goals centred around targeted growth, ABM will help you reach those goals more quickly.
ABM campaigns use personalised content targeting the needs, challenges, and desires of the decision makers within this organisation. By taking this personalised approach, ABM helps to build more trusting and lasting relationships with your high-value clients.
- Marketing and sales communication are more aligned
- Marketing ROI is improved
- Retention and acquisition of clients is improved
- Results and performance can be accurately measured
- Targeting large organisations becomes more achievable
- Prospects receive more personalised attention and communication
- Decision makers and influencers are engaged with directly
- The sales cycle and buyer journey is streamlined
ABM is about creating consistent customer experiences. This means any ABM strategy needs to be planned out on a long-term basis and incorporate integrated activity.
Creating templated workflows and automating sequential tasks is essential for maintaining your client nurturing activity. It ensures prospects receive timely responses, targeted messages based on their activity, and overall won’t slip through the cracks.
As we mentioned, ABM strategies represent an organisation as an entire market. This involves breaking an individual organisation down into different buyers and decision makers. It’s also worth considering their positions within the various buyer stages, such as attracting or qualifying.
Some examples of different B2B buyer types include the financial decision maker, the user decision maker, and the strategic decision maker.
Building B2B buyer personas helps you understand the characteristics of these different decision makers. Everything including their interests, challenges, needs, values and communication styles are relevant to your activity.
Outlining this information in detail takes in-depth research – both qualitative and quantitative. However, it’s worth it as it allows you to better resonate with the needs of every buyer.
Some primary areas to include in your persona:
- Job title
- What they care about
- What digital channels they use
- What media they read
- Main work challenges
- Main work desires
Another key element of ABM is that it deeply integrates your marketing and sales workflows. By joining up these activities you are guaranteeing end-to-end communication and support. Each buyer will be clearly guided through their buyer journey, from beginning to end and beyond. This not only strengthens your chances of converting that lead, but it helps build trust with this client.
5 tactics for integrating sales and marketing for ABM:
Define your shared goals
First things first, to truly align your departments they have to be working towards the same objective. Set a few SMART goals, backed by tangible metrics which you can both centre your activities around.
Use the same workflow
Work against an integrated workflow for prospect engagement and lead nurturing; clearly outlining your dependencies and what happens during handover stages.
Agree on a budget
Decide on a mutual budget and which activities it will be allocated within each campaign. Some paid opportunities include pay-per-click, paid ads or social post promotion.
Create a campaign cheat sheet
Summarise the brief, key messages, targets, and audience for every campaign for both teams to refer to during all communications.
Integrate your CRM
Use a CRM or client management tool which both teams have access to. This way all your client communication is recorded in one space, where both teams can easily collaborate on shared material.
Data is key to the effectiveness of targeted inbound marketing campaigns like ABM. Perform research on your target audience (the organisation), the market, the buyers and their buyer cycles, and your competitors. Your findings will help you personalise your messaging in the way an ABM campaign requires.
Delve into online market research, social media analysis, and talk to people in the industry to prepare to build your strategy.
It’s also important to look back at your performance data and analyse your results. ABM is often a case of trial and error so this information will be invaluable to inform your future activity. In addition, the market is always changing, so keep updating your research data to stay relevant.
Read our ABM client success story for more insight. Or get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org to see what your strategy could look like.