From the conversations I’ve had with businesses, existing customers and people within my network, they all understand what ABM is and the benefits it can offer them from a B2B sales perspective but they all struggle as to where they should start, with the main stumbling block being identifying those key accounts.
This prompted me to try to address this problem by offering some insight into how you can get your ABM strategy off to a successful start by following these simple steps.
Let’s examine how the ABM and sales process works in more detail.
1. Analyze and Identify
Your B2B marketing and sales teams collaborate on a list of target accounts. For that to be done, you need to create buyer personas by examining your existing customer base to determine the industry and size of the companies that have been most successful with your product.
So how would you do this? your best accounts by looking at revenue, retention and profitability for example. Then look at what are the key characteristics that separate these from the rest. You can use marketing and sales intelligence tools to help you do this.
2. Expand and Insight
Now at this stage, you could have a huge list of accounts and contacts to target, which is not a bad place to be. But remember ABM is about targeted, focused and personalized marketing that is manageable so it may be useful for you to segment or tier your list. To do this it’s time to expand your insight into the data. What additional information can you find out about the accounts and contacts? For example
- Has the business just merged?
- Has the business just appointed a new director?
- What is their responsibility
- What communication channels are they most active on?
From this insight, you should be able to create a detailed buyer persona which you can use in this and future ABM campaigns. Again, there are various marketing and sales intelligence tools to help you do this.
This approach will help you segment or tier your data and tell you who is more likely to buy or engage with you based on your findings.
Align your team around the targeted accounts and the engagement plays you wish to use. Execute your sales plays and touch points through such tactics as content like white papers or ebooks, webinars, events and connecting on social media. Engage with them!
Even after you’ve successfully closed your accounts, you can do more. Creating customer advocates is one of the most organic types of marketing, as your clients are touting the success they’ve had with your company.
5. Test, refine and go again
The more ABM campaigns you do the more you can learn and refine. This will allow you to understand your targeted audience better but also to allow your marketing to be far more linear which is why I like to refer to account-based marketing as ‘Zero Waste Marketing’.
ABM In Action
It’s one thing to talk about the theory and best practices, but how about we see it in action right? Well, let me give you a text book account-based marketing example using our client Zyme. We helped Zyme choose an account-based marketing (ABM approach) as it allowed us to split out personas within a target organization; to really engage with them based on their specific pain. After all, a Channel Sales Directors pain is very different to a Chief Financial Officer. Instead of broad-reaching marketing campaigns that touch the largest possible number of prospective customers, an ABM strategy focuses resources for the book of business on a defined set of named accounts.
It’s fundamental that you get steps 1 and 2 correct before you start to engage. It doesn’t matter how good your engagement if you haven’t done the ground work first to truly understand your targeted accounts and the contacts within them then your ABM campaign won’t be successful.