Before we offer up some nuggets in our guide to account based marketing (ABM,) we thought we would firstly explain exactly what it is for those who may not be familiar with the concept.
Essentially, ABM is a focused marketing strategy which sees marketing teams treat the individuals associated with one account as a complete market segment. This will see them dedicate an entire campaign including events, emails and social targeting to one such segment, rather than to the entirety of a mailing list or industry. Traditionally, this was an approach only used by large corporates, where marketing teams were able to go after a large lead worth a significant amount of money. However, with a CRM you are able to work out where your money is coming from – and once you determine that your money is coming from a certain type of industry or company, you can develop a strategy to target only those companies.
By focusing and targeting your efforts, you are able to create a far more effective marketing campaign, shorten your sales cycle and gain a quicker return on sales – spending far less time on marketing campaigns that simply don’t work whilst deepening relationships with and adding real value to the right prospects for your business.
ABM has seen something of a boost since the introduction of GDPR in May 2019. Marketing has moved away from “the spray and pray” approach which saw companies target whole mailing lists in the hope that maybe one or two businesses out of hundreds would convert. Coupled with relentless competition, companies must now have a far more targeted and more intelligent strategy as they look to win business and continue to grow.
It is for these reasons that ABM has seen such an incredible surge over the past few years. In fact, according to this survey 71% of B2B organisations are using ABM with 83% claiming ABM improves engagement with target accounts. A clear signal of the efficacy of ABM.
Now, whilst ABM can be an incredibly impactful way to market, it requires planning and a good handle on data. This includes a clear and nuanced understanding of your targeted accounts and the different people within those accounts, and how they engage with you – knowledge that can be gained through desk research and a number of technologies including CRM, Marketing Automation, web tracking etc. Requiring serious behind the scenes work, what it’s important to consider when creating an ABM strategy is that you need focus, good quality data, a clear understanding of your value proposition and a method of tracking the ROI. One of the main ways of accomplishing this is through having an effective and functioning CRM that allows you to segment your data down to a granular level so you can gain an understanding into precisely what is working, what is converting and how to tailor a campaign to the precise needs of this demographic.
Not only that, but Marketing Automation and CRM combined can make any campaign far more effective by enabling automation, personalised, relevant and timely communication with your prospects within a particular account as well as executing complex and tailored workflows/nurture programmes.
Not forgetting, of course, that a CRM helps keep every staff member in the loop, allowing for your sales and marketing team to work closely together as they aim to achieve a common goal. Working in unison, you are able to help ensure that your content is engaging and targeted towards your chosen demographic.
What’s important in any ABM marketing strategy is the tracking of progress and monitoring of results across all engagement points, for example:
- Tracking how people within an account are engaging with your business
- What messages they respond to
- What action they have taken (e.g. – downloaded content, registered for or attended an event etc.)
Only by tracking the outcome of every interaction can both sales and marketing have up to date information and decide upon the best next course of action.
Assuming you have all of this in place, you still need to ensure some other factors are in place to help guarantee your ABM is successful and worthwhile.
Before you undertake an ABM you need to write down and understand your key objectives. Having these in mind will help you gain a firm understanding into running your campaign as well making sure it is working.
It is important when carrying out ABM to go beyond the obvious. Do some detailed desk research that will feed your targeting strategy. Look into your sales and marketing history with this account or this segment– if there is any, the product interest as well as engagement with your previous campaigns. Your CRM should be able to help you with this, allowing you to dive deep into your sales funnel and gain a full understanding into customer acquisition and interaction.
There are so many different ways to interact with your customers – from video to podcasts to blogs to whitepapers to events to… Think carefully about which medium you want to use as well as the best way to target them– whether that be email, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram or a more conventional newsletter. Understanding your target audience should help you define the best channel / medium to use to positively engage with them.
There is no question that the rise of affordable, superior and intelligent CRM systems has allowed even smaller companies to carry out far more complex and nuanced marketing practices. However, what has really forced companies to look to alternatives is the rise of GDPR – which has caused unprecedented tidal waves in marketing, and more specifically, email marketing. It is really no surprise that ABM has seen such an incredible increase as companies look to experiment with newer and, more intelligent ways of targeting their clients. After reading this blog you should be ready to experiment with this form of marketing, although we urge you all to take a step back first to plan, organise, analyse your data and make sure your entire team is on board.