6 Practical Account-Based Marketing (ABM) Strategies for Small Businesses


Account-based marketing strategies for small businesses

Headshot Niraj Ranjan Rout


Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Niraj Ranjan Rout. Niraj is the founder of Hiver, simple customer support software that turns your email into a powerful collaboration tool. Follow him on Twitter at @nirajr.

Why Use Account-Based Marketing (ABM) for Small Businesses?

The idea behind account-based marketing is to build a completely aligned sales and marketing process that focuses on building relationships with a very targeted set of accounts. When you narrow down your focus to a small set of customers, the experience you can offer them can be highly personalized and incredibly customized.

This is what makes ABM such a perfect strategy for small B2B companies. SMBs can’t afford to scatter their money across various marketing tactics and a huge pool of prospects and just hope to generate enough qualified leads to make a profit.

Account-based marketing is a much more reliable strategy for SMBs than traditional lead-based marketing. That’s because they simply have to identify a few key, high potential target companies and unleash all their effort and marketing talent to convert these folks into opportunities and eventually into customers.

The benefits of account-based marketing for small businesses include:

  • The ROI of account-based marketing is clear and easy to measure.
  • There is much less wasted effort and a significantly lower risk factor with ABM.
  • Prospects and clients appreciate account-based efforts because of how personal they are.
  • Sales and marketing alignment becomes much easier.

All these advantages make ABM a clear favorite for small businesses. Here are some useful account-based marketing strategies your SMB sales and marketing teams can start using now.

1. Use Relevance and Personalization to Provide Value

In a typical ABM program for a small B2B business, there are a limited number of target accounts, so the campaigns need to be highly personalized. When you focus your efforts on a small number of companies, it’s crucial that they’re strong enough to deliver high conversion rates.

That is why staying relevant and contextual is the key to making ABM work.

One way you can do this is by creating customized marketing content. For example, if your small business is a web design company, you can analyze each target account’s website and create a brief report about flaws in the website that could be affecting their conversion rates.

Anyone would be tempted to read content titled “Here’s what we think is affecting your conversion rate – a special report.” You’re not only keeping it personalized far beyond anything automation could accomplish, but you’re also providing genuine value to the target account.

2. Focus on Getting Sales Meetings

As a small business, establishing trust is your first big step. Content is not always enough to do that. In fact, when creating content, focusing too much, too early on getting a paying customer may not be very smart.

Instead, use your B2B content — such as free analyses, reports, evaluations, etc. — to initiate a personal meeting with key decision-makers at the accounts.

This way, you can start building offline relationships with your target accounts. Once you get a foot in the door with content, you and your sales team can use one-on-one interactions to establish strong trust and eventually make the sales pitch.

We used this strategy to get more conversions for my startup, Hiver. Interestingly enough, when we broke the process down into getting a sales meeting first and then making the sales pitch, our conversion rate doubled.

3. Don’t Be Forgotten — Use Retargeting and Account-Based Digital Ads

Using retargeting is a smart way to repeatedly engage with your target accounts as the employees from the accounts browse the web and consume content online.

Many social media platforms now support retargeting based on a previous action that the user has taken on your website, such as clicking on a certain link, filling out a form, and so on.

By using retargeting as an ABM tactic, small businesses are able to provide the exact type of content or information that will move the account further through the buyer’s journey.

For instance, if someone from the account clicked on an e-book download on your website, then you can offer them an ad featuring a case study focusing on a similar topic. When they click on that ad, you can then show them a product demo ad next, and so on.

Account-based marketing tools that focus on digital ads, like Terminus, take this a step further. Rather than simply retargeting people who have visited your website, they use proprietary and cookie data to identify key stakeholders at your target accounts even if they’ve never visited your website before.

Then, you can serve ads to those individuals at target accounts as they surf the internet. With ABM technology, you can also automate the flow of advertisements your prospects see, automatically giving them different content at different stages of the buyer’s journey.

4. Personalize Your Website Experience for Target Accounts

Again, given that account-based marketing is very targeted in nature, the conversion rates must be relatively high in order for it to drive a positive ROI. Here’s another important strategy that can help increase conversions: personalize the website experience for the account.

You can do this by creating account-specific landing pages with images, reports, offers, and so on that are unique to the individual and/or the account that is visiting the page.

You can go as deep as you want here. For example, some companies display the name of the person visiting the site. This can be extremely effective, but some people may find it too intrusive.

You have to walk a tightrope here. Use enough personalization to demonstrate how much you understand your target accounts, their pain points, and what you can do for them, but not enough to creep them out. This is a great tactic to use A/B testing with so you can see what level of personalization your targets respond to the most.

5. Build a List of Role-Based Contacts

There is only so much you can learn from a contact’s job title. Information about their role, on the other hand, will give you a much deeper insight.

Vendors such as Reachforce, for example, can create lists in Salesforce based on individuals’ roles or responsibilities, and they also make sure that these contacts are still active. This way you will be filling your database with only the right contacts. As a result, the quality of these lists will be extremely high.

But unfortunately, many small businesses’ marketing teams are focused more on quantity than quality. What they don’t realize though, is that this forces the sales team to waste a lot of time hunting for the right contacts within each company.

6. Have a Founder Reach Out to a Founder, a Marketer Reach Out to a Marketer, Etc.

Organizations should utilize their employees to cultivate strong relationships with the specific personas at their target accounts. When your founder reaches out to the founder of a target account, there is a higher chance of engaging with them and forming a deeper relationship.

Similarly, if you have to reach out to the infrastructure head of your target company to make the sale, then let your own infrastructure head do the reaching out.

You can encourage them to first send a direct email and then follow it up with a phone call. Also, it is important that the marketing team support them through these activities since the typical non-marketing employee often doesn’t have a firm grasp on the tact of marketing outreach.

The point is to match the relevant employees to the target’s relevant employees. Remember that because B2B buying decisions are made by more than one individual, you’ll likely need multiple employees at your company to reach out to their counterparts at target accounts.

Wrapping Up

Given the limited resources most small businesses have, it is important to make the most of everything you have and do. For example, make sure to utilize the contacts and the networks of your employees to find a connection to your target account. You never know—there could be some mutual connections.

With some creativity, analytics, smart strategy, and right tools, account-based marketing can change the game altogether for small businesses!

To learn more about how your small business can use ABM, click the banner below to download the Blueprint to Account-Based Marketing e-book now.

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