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Account-Based Marketing Overview

Account Based Marketing: The Complete Guide to ABM Tactics

Do you ever feel like your business is trying to market to the entire world using a single campaign?
Attempting to target as many leads as possible can be overwhelming when you’re focused on writing compelling copy, developing quality content, and hosting community events. Even if you get some takers from a wide-sweeping marketing approach, the leads you do get are likely to be unqualified.

What if there was a way to flip the funnel and focus on the biggest whales? Rather than attempting to attract as many leads as possible, account based marketing focuses on catering to the highest value accounts first. In this article, we will define account based marketing, share the benefits to implementing this strategy, and discuss some of our best tactics for ABM success.

What is account-based marketing?

Account based marketing is commonly defined as a growth strategy that personalizes marketing to high-value accounts. Unlike traditional marketing, account based marketing requires close collaboration between sales and marketing teams. Both teams work together to compile a list of potential clients that the marketing team attempts to attract.

Once the marketing team has won the attention of high-value prospects, sales teams can follow up with another very specific sales approach. When combined with inbound marketing (social media content generation, improved SEO, and community events), account based marketing can produce even more powerful results.

The benefits of account based marketing

Businesses that leverage account based marketing realize much higher ROI from customers that convert. Many of those customers become loyal fans who continue to purchase goods and services. Other benefits of account based marketing include:

  • A shorter sales cycle: Traditional sales cycles are slow because they typically start by pitching to lower-level employees and work their way up to higher level stakeholders. Until a salesperson can meet with and convince primary decision makers to buy, companies are somewhat spinning their wheels. In account based marketing, decision makers are catered to from the beginning, automatically shortening the sales cycle.
  • Sales and marketing alignment: Inbound marketing teams work to capture the attention of high-value accounts, and then serve them up to sales teams. This two-pronged method leads to a leaner list of accounts that are far more likely to close. Besides encouraging the sales and marketing teams to work together, account based marketing frees up time for both teams to work on other projects or spend more time optimizing the company’s account based marketing strategy.
  • Greater personalization: Account based marketing relies heavily on personalized messaging. This means that sales and marketing teams must work together to understand a prospect’s problems and specific ecosystem. Matching a campaign to those aspects of the prospect’s business will make their campaign stand out amongst the competition. There are many ways to do this online, but sending direct mail (perhaps with a freebie) keeps your brand top of mind and is a fantastic way to set your business apart.
  • Assessing: With less accounts to track, account based marketing performance becomes much easier to evaluate. The Information Technology Services Marketing Association discovered that 85% of marketers who measure ROI describe account-based marketing as delivering higher returns than any other marketing approach.

How to implement ABM in your business

ABM has a whole slew of advantages, but how do you start? We break down how to implement account based marketing in six steps.

1. Identify high-value accounts

Creating your first account list can be challenging, but LinkedIn is a logical place to start. Depending on the LinkedIn plan you have, you can set up search criteria and filter prospects based on industry, keyword, and size. Most CRMs will even allow you to link your LinkedIn so that qualified leads directly feed into sales lead lists.

2. Create account/customer profiles

Some of the research you did in step 1 will be useful when creating account and customer profiles. When reviewing past deals, you might notice that there are a handful of businesses or types of stakeholders that turn out to be the best kinds of customers. These lend themselves to “personas” that sales and marketing teams can use to start developing more personalized content.

Some characteristics to consider when developing personas might be:

  • Size
  • Industry
  • Role
  • Business problem
  • Ideal marketing channel
  • Projected budget

3. Create personalized marketing campaigns

ABM revolves around personalization. Steps 1 and 2 will give you a good idea of who to target and what their basic characteristics are. However, an outstanding account based marketing approach demands that you find the exact reasons why each stakeholder can’t live without your product or service.

Zeroing in on a prospect’s needs informs the angle that both marketing and sales teams can take when catering to each account. Not only does this very personal touch impress a prospect, it also establishes a level of trust that will be reflected in your ABM ROI.

4. Identify best sales channels

What you present to prospects matters, but how you engage with prospects might matter even more. Understanding how your ideal customers like to communicate, whether that be on social media, through sending direct mail and gifts, via LinkedIn, or in person at events should impact the way you interact with them.

Consider contributing to conversations your prospects are initiating, sharing useful content, and inviting leaders to speak at your conferences or webinars. By genuinely meeting your prospects where they are and being helpful, you show how well you understand your prospects’ specific goals.

5. Launch and track your campaign

When you get to step 5, you have a handle on who to approach, how to approach them, and what information to provide in marketing and sales material. Although you are going in prepared, there is always room for improvement. When you launch your ABM campaign, be sure to monitor what’s working and what’s not. Continually update your list, refine customer profiles, and keep track of new methods of personalizing content.

6. Analyze campaign results

Measuring progress and identifying gaps only strengthens your ABM strategy. Think about the measures that will mean the most to your organization. These measures are often called “key performance indicators” or KPIs. For reference, some traditional account based marketing KPIs are: time to close, percent of deals closed, number of net new contacts added to an account, and net new revenue.

The best ABM tactics

Aside from the six steps above, there are a few tactics that can dramatically increase your ABM efficacy. Some include: constructing a stellar ABM team, growing interpersonal relationships, ensuring organizational alignment, and setting up different account plans.

Put together an ABM team

A superb ABM team requires your best sales and marketing resources. These individuals will utilize their prior knowledge and experience to decipher: who the decision makers are at each account, what sales channels and content will attract each persona, and what they can do to support marketing and sales team members at each stage of the ABM life cycle.

Your ABM team should constantly be reevaluating how to frame your company’s value proposition in relation to prospects’ problems. Additionally, you should be able to rely on your ABM team to allocate the right resources and the right budget to each account. Different accounts require different sales personality types and marketing investments.

Create organizational alignment

Organizational alignment between sales and marketing is crucial for account based marketing success. ABM inherently encourages sales and marketing departments to work together一whether that be researching leads, perfecting the campaign material, or figuring out what delights high-value account stakeholders. Periodically reviewing ABM successes and areas for opportunity make your sales and marketing teams a very dynamic duo.

Establish multifaceted account plans

ABM necessitates a multi-pronged plan for catering to prospects’ needs. Sending one email or LinkedIn message is not enough to entice a potential customer to speak with a sales rep, let alone buy a product or service. Think of ways to combine marketing and sales channels given what you know about each account’s profile. Each form of outreach should have a personalized touch to convince the prospect to keep reading useful content or to continue talking to a sales rep. Mapping out different customer profile journeys can help define multifaceted account plans.

Create strong interpersonal relationships with the accounts

Personalization is a core tenant of account based marketing, and there is no better way to personalize a prospect’s experience than by getting to know them on a personal level. Discovering what their struggles are can shape your ABM strategy and continue cultivating that relationship. This could happen organically at a conference, event, or meetup. Alternatively, your sales teams could attempt to direct message a stakeholder, take them to lunch, or even send them a “work from home” care package that prompts them to connect.

Optimize your ABM strategy

ABM campaigns are designed specifically for high-value accounts, and sales pitches are, too. This ensures that the product or service you are selling is impossible for the high-value prospects to pass up, resulting in higher sales ROI and efficiency. Growing your ABM team, fostering organizational alignment, and nurturing personal relationships with prospects will only enhance your ABM strategy.

Now that in-person account based marketing strategies have screeched to a halt, thinking of new and exciting ways to personalize engagement with ABM prospects is paramount. This is where Sendoso comes in—Sendoso is a platform for sending direct mail, personal gifts, and corporate swag. Not only is sending mail with Sendoso a seamless process, it also distinguishes your brand from digital noise. Besides knowing that all customers (no matter their location) will receive your personalized mail or packages on time, Sendoso has integrated analytics and reporting capabilities that allow you to track your ABM strategies more effectively.

In fact, Sendoso customers have reported a 5x increase in close rates on opportunities and a 60% response rate from packages sent. Start personalizing your ABM strategy with a free Sendoso demo today.

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Peter Tarrant, Account Based Marketer, Tipalti

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