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Account-Based Marketing Tactics

10 Must-Know Account Based Marketing Tactics to Boost Your ABM Campaigns

Account-based marketing, once considered a tool used mostly by enterprise organizations, has enjoyed a rapid rise in popularity with businesses of every size and sector. In a departure from the “pray and spray” tactics of broad, lead-based marketing, this laser-focused approach can generate better sales outcomes and deliver better ROI by directing budgets and effort toward a small, select group of high-value prospects.

Tipping the traditional marketing plan on its head, ABM is effective because its programs aren’t designed for mass appeal. Instead, it addresses each target account with highly personalized, curated content and offers that deliver high conversion rates and build strong customer relationships.

Within a successful ABM program, there are strategies and tactics which can further improve your outcomes. Below, we explore some of the best ABM tactics, and how sales and marketing teams can use them to succeed in the noisy digital landscape . These tips and strategies will help you align your teams, create a winning environment for your ABM program, harness the power of customer data and personalization, and build a program that allows your sales team to achieve their goals.

1. Set Your Sales Team Up for Success

The first step is organizing the accounts each rep will target into a territory. While divide and conquer is still the approach, territory division in ABM isn’t as simple as assigning geographic regions. Because the account list should be highly targeted, managers might consider dividing territories by:

  • Target account priority
  • Sales potential
  • Industry or sector
  • Vertical

When developing a territory, managers may address other list considerations:

Relationship: Also called “social proximity.” Does a certain rep have access to the stakeholders in an account?

Account-Stage Balance: Does each territory have a good ratio of existing accounts and new?

Sales Potential: Does each rep have a similar level of earning opportunities within their account list?

Travel: For those reps that conduct site visits or events, are the accounts they service accessible?

Align Sales, Marketing, and Content Teams

Once your territories are established and aligned with individual reps, consider how you will engage with the target accounts on each list. With a well-developed target account list and well-designed territories in hand, the focus turns to alignment with your marketing and content teams. ABM is a team effort, requiring input and cooperation between teams.

While alignment may take time and effort for teams previously accustomed to a siloed marketing approach, cooperation is vital to ABM’s success because the two teams must each provide valuable information and input to execute the program. The ROI on these efforts is well worth the effort, with the alignment of sales and marketing, leads become 67% more likely to convert into clients.

Getting started on an aligned approach requires the teams to collaborate early and often:

  • Sales and marketing must work together to define and refine personas and ICPs, and develop a targeted account list. 
  • Once the list is complete, teams can determine desired outcomes and develop multi-channel campaigns based on individual accounts and/or territories.
  • Marketing can then develop highly targeted content and sales offers that will enable the Sales Team to build relationships and convert. 
  • Both teams can benefit from input from other departments, as well. For instance, the Customer Service team may surface valuable insights about customer experiences and areas of potential improvement. 

2. Look for Leads Outside of Sales

Although the target account list is the primary means through which sales are made in an ABM program, it’s still important to generate leads through various marketing methods.

Inbound Marketing Channels

An omnichannel marketing approach can find prospects where they live and serve them valuable information and education early in the sales cycle. Some channels to consider when creating inbound marketing programs as a complement to your ABM program include:

  • Blogging
  • Email marketing
  • Thought leadership
  • Social media marketing
  • Events and keynotes

Lead Generation Tools

In addition to these channels, tools and platforms are available to help businesses generate leads.

Sales Marketing Automation Software: Platforms like Hubspot, SalesForce, Marketo, and Pardot enable automated workflows, lead scoring, and customer relationship management functions for capturing and nurturing leads.

Social Selling Platforms: Tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Buffer, Hootsuite, and ZoomInfo utilize social data to connect with the decision-makers in target accounts.

Conversational Selling Tools: Tools such as Drift, Intercom, and others use AI and automation to help engage leads and direct them to information and assistance.

Opt-In and Landing Page Tools: Platforms such as ConvertKit, Unbounce, and Kajabi bring leads into the funnel through personalized landing pages and gated offer content.

Through a robust technical stack of lead generation and lead-capturing tools, marketers can ensure that their content and social efforts garner new leads and ensure a healthy pipeline and revenue.

3. Develop Sales initiatives and Demos That Land You Meetings

Once the sales and marketing teams have laid the groundwork with quality content and generated interest from a target account, it’s up to your demo and presentation to demonstrate your product’s viability and further strengthen the sales relationship. A demo that excites your prospect and motivates them toward action in the decision-making process is essential.

Here are five tips for creating a splash with your demo:

  1. Create your product demo with the future client in mind: be sure to deliver a custom presentation that details how it can solve a problem for the prospect and their particular use case.
  2. Be sure your presentation and delivery are polished and professional. Work out any potential technical issues in a dry run beforehand. Your presentation should also demonstrate that you’ve done your homework on the prospect and their particular needs.
  3. Personalize the client’s experience as much as possible so that they can visualize how the product or service will work specifically for them. For instance, personalizing your demo with your recipient’s branding can make a powerful statement.
  4. Make the demo enjoyable and show you appreciate their time by adding to the experience during or after the presentation. For instance, a food delivery eGift card can turn a demo into a lunch-and-learn. A follow-up gift with a personal note can thank them after the demo and keep the meeting fresh in their mind.
  5. Go for the close. Once you’ve demonstrated the product or service, be sure to answer any questions, work through objections, and lay the groundwork for the closing process.

4. Don’t Underestimate the Power of Personalization

Whether in your demo or elsewhere through the marketing or sales process, ABM strategies are all about creating individual experiences for a relatively small, carefully curated group of accounts. The targeting in your messaging, and the bespoke quality of these campaigns is its source ABM’s power, so be sure it’s reflected in all your communications.

Personalization is effective at touchpoints throughout the sales cycle:

  • Creating sales offers and experiences tailored to the individual account, as illustrated above with product demos.
  • Email campaigns that go beyond “the name” to address the concerns specific to the account, and communicate with them at the right time.
  • Website content and visitor experiences that speak directly to the account, or instance, personalization in downloadable content or in banners on the site.
  • Using retargeting and customer data to serve targeted advertisements based on previous search or preferences.
  • Engaging current clients or customers at meaningful points in the lifecycle, such as at renewals, milestones, after referral activity, or when they change/expand their service contracts.

5. Know Your Audience

Audience data is one of the most powerful tools for strengthening connections and moving toward a meeting or demo. Much can be inferred from the data already contained within your marketing or CRM platforms, and that insight can be applied to the behaviors of other, similar audiences. By understanding your best customers, you can craft marketing that feels personal, even at scale.

What is Look-alike Modeling

Depending on your product or service, your best customers may be defined by annual revenue, industry niche, job role, geographic location, or other important characteristics. Look-alike modeling takes your “seed audience” and uses their key traits and behaviors to identify new audiences. From there, you can serve ads or create other custom experiences for them, knowing that they’re likely to engage with your content.

Many platforms, including Facebook and LinkedIn, offer marketing options for defining and reaching look-alike audiences. Marketers can define characteristics, audience size, and ad-spend to tailor the campaign to their needs and budgets.

6. Take Advantage of Retargeting

Not every prospect is ready to buy at first contact. Therefore, automated touchpoints are vital to keeping you top-of-mind. Advertising using retargeting is one such way to maintain this contact between the initial offer and the conversion.

Retargeting begins when a prospective customer visits your website. The Google Display Network captures that site visit, and the user behavior is then used to serve ads as the prospect continues their journey on the web. This automated means of getting back in touch, when used as part of your overall marketing program, can help you sell up to 50% more than without this valuable touchpoint.

7. Create Unforgettable Content

Before you can engage in personal, relationship-building conversations with your prospects, your content must enlighten and entertain your audience. These communications should be well-tailored and specific to the needs of each account:

  1. Great thought leadership is a must in each content offering. It defines your company as a trustworthy and credible source of information before the first contact or call.
  2. As with other touchpoints in the sales cycle, your content should be personalized to the prospect. This applies to both their position in the buyer’s journey, but also their brand specifically.
  3. Your content offering must be diverse. Video, email, podcasts, webinars, blogs, and virtual and in-person events deliver quality content on channels your stakeholders find valuable.
  4. Unforgettable content can be about the experience as much as the substance, so aim to surprise your current and prospective customers. For instance, a targeted ad that directly addresses a new or renewing client is an eye-catching way to welcome (or welcome back) a valued contact. Or, check out how Terminus created unique “ABM Cookbooks” that explained ABM strategies through food and cooking metaphors, and sent packages through Sendoso with the book, oven mitts, and kitchen tools to top prospects.

8. Leverage the Potential of Social Media

Social media is one of the most effective means of communicating with account stakeholders in a personal way. Platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook have created opportunities to communicate one-to-one, answer questions, build relationships through content and conversation, and build brand recognition and affinity.

Social media helps marketers reach their intended audiences in two distinct ways: Social engagement—This is the personalized, bespoke communication between brand and individual that takes place on platforms: Q&A, sharing content, social proof, and referrals, troubleshooting, or establishing credibility through genuine conversations and interactions.

Social ads—Use social platforms to host the personalized ad content mentioned elsewhere in this guide.

To get started with social media engagement, it’s important to take a similar approach to your initial ABM account list.

  1. Identify the accounts and stakeholders you want to engage through your social media efforts. You may also include industry thought leaders and recognized figures within your sphere that can add value to your social media efforts.
  2. Follow this list on social media channels, share content with them, engage with their content, and share it in order to establish rapport and strengthen recognition.
  3. Share your own thought leadership content and insight, answer questions for other customers and prospects, and consistently engage with your wider audience.
  4. Create ad campaigns that target these accounts where they “hang out” online and use them to personalize the experience.

By creating an effective and consistent social media program in this way, you’ll make valuable contacts and gain visibility, and realize good ROI on relatively low investment.

9. Organize Creative, Engaging Events

If social media gives your prospects and customers the opportunity to easily interface with you and your brand, events provide them with the chance to get to know you even better (and, consequently, signal stronger intent toward your product or service). These events (whether in person or virtual) also give you the chance to strengthen relationships.

The steps to creating a successful event are simple but important:

  1. Research your event, and select your topics and presenters carefully. Understanding the most pressing industry trends and topics—and pairing your message with the right personality—will ensure your event will land effectively with your audience.
  2. Get the word out. Advertise well in advance with a multi-channel campaign that will create the best possible turnout for your event.
  3. Create an experience around your event, and develop sufficient content around the event to support it. Understand that for virtual events, as many as 75% of viewers will catch the on-demand version.
  4. Remember to follow up on your presentation with personalized offers and post-show content repurposing that gets the most mileage out of your investment.

10. Embrace the Effectiveness of Sending Direct Mail and Gifts

In an era where digital noise is at an all-time high, building a personal relationship with target accounts means going the extra mile to make a lasting impression. That means getting out from behind the screen and offering something of real-world value to surprise and delight your prospect. Sending direct mail and gifts is one of the most effective ways of creating this personalized impression.

Gifts for the Individual: These gifts, whether small gestures or high-value items, make a personal impression upon the recipient. Gifts can range from a coffee eGift card as a token of appreciation for a meeting, a personalized item to reinforce the relationship after a productive demo or discovery meeting, or a gesture of thanks for a decision-maker or champion after the sale closes.

Gifts for Teams: Building rapport with a team is important for accounts where many stakeholders and champions make the deal come together. In this case, group gifts such as sweets and treats can keep the whole team invested in your message, or express thanks for the support of the departments utilizing your service.

A few tips for gifting—

  1. Be sure to personalize gifts. For individuals, sending a gift that reflects their role or interest conveys the sentiment that they’re a valuable contact as an individual.
  2. Personalize the experience for teams, too; for instance, branded cupcakes are a sharable treat that still offers a strong reminder of the professional connection.
  3. Be sure to check up on the gifting policy for your recipient(s). Some industries have gifting customs or regulations, and many companies have guidelines for the value and timing of gifts.
  4. Track the ROI and effectiveness of your gifting program, and incorporate those insights to make the most of your budget and efforts. Also, consider a Sending Platform to automate the sending and tracking process.

Make Direct Mail Part of Your Account-Based Marketing Strategy Today

Account-based marketing has the power to improve your sales outcomes, stabilize revenue, strengthen customer and prospect relationships, and create growth opportunities for the long run. When paired with the signal-boosting potential of direct mail, it becomes an even more potent strategy for meeting and exceeding goals.

If your marketing program could benefit from the power of Sending with Sendoso, request a demo to learn more about our #1-ranked Sending Platform, and how we’re making account-based marketing easier than ever before.

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Peter Tarrant, Account Based Marketer, Tipalti

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