Account-Based Marketing Best Practices
In our last blog post, we discussed the advantages of adopting an account-based marketing (ABM) strategy, which centers around delivering highly targeted, one-to-one engagements instead of the traditional one-to-many approach. Now let’s take a look at some of the best practices that can help make your ABM campaigns a success.
- Identify your target accounts
Spend some time looking at your existing customers, identifying what your target customers should look like, and determining where to focus your efforts to have the greatest chance for success. Here are a few factors to consider in determining your ideal target accounts and opportunities:
- High value: Identify your top profit-yielding customers and their characteristics. These characteristics will help you find look-alike accounts that are more likely to bring in higher revenues. Consider attributes such as industries, company size, location, etc.
- Need: Determine the types of companies that have business needs that clearly align to your solution, or who have a particular pain point that your solution can solve.
- Competitors: It can be challenging to sway a happy customer away from their existing provider, but you never know who is unhappy or looking to make a change. Targeting customers using a competitor’s product or service by demonstrating how yours is superior or offering a free “test drive” to compare your product can be a great way to uncover new opportunities.
- Identify your target personas
Determining your ideal target companies is only part of the ABM equation. In order to deliver highly relevant, individualized engagements you need to also identify the personas and stakeholders that will be looking for your solution or involved in the buying process. In most cases there will likely be more than one individual per account. Take some time to consider the key roles that you’ll be addressing and identify what their individual concerns and needs are.
- Create targeted, personalized content
ABM requires moving beyond generic, one-size-fits-all communications and content to deliver personalized, highly relevant engagement. This not only means tailoring your content to individual target segments (like industries or company size), but also to your individual personas within those accounts. For instance, a network administrator might be interested in hearing how your solution can deliver technical improvements, while the CIO might be more interested in how your solution can help them realize cost savings. The key here is to craft your content around addressing specific pain points or needs, not just delivering a generic sales pitch. Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Leverage what already exists – Creating original content and campaigns takes both time and resources. It can be helpful to start with content that you already have. There is almost certainly some existing content that can be repurposed and reworked to speak to your individual target audiences to get you going.
- Incorporate sales’ input – While content and campaign creation typically falls under marketing’s responsibilities, you may want to also get input from your sales teams as well. Your sales associates will likely have a better feel for customers’ needs, what messages resonate best, and so on, and can provide valuable input when creating tailored content.
- Develop a content roadmap – After you have a feel for what existing content can be repurposed, you’ll need to determine where the gaps are and what content you still need to create to address certain target segments. Create a plan that details what content is needed for each segment and persona, for every point in the customer journey, and across all applicable channels. Then set a schedule for how you will tackle new content creation, identifying who will be responsible for what pieces and when they need to be completed. The key is to keep a constant flow of content being generated so you always have something ready, not scrambling to create content once it’s already needed.
- Targeted landing pages – Consider creating individual landing pages for the industries or specific areas of need that your targeted accounts care about. This not only gives you a proper place to drive prospects to from your other content and engagement efforts, but will continue that highly relevant feel and help demonstrate to the customer that you really understand their industry and needs.
- Leverage automation and technology
Leveraging automation, analytics, and other technology-based tools can not only help you streamline your campaign execution and take some of the manual burden off your marketing team, but can provide valuable insights that enable ongoing refinement. The more you understand about your prospects—how they make decisions, what are their pain points, what they care about—the easier it is to break through the noise and get their attention. Here are some useful technology assets to consider that can help propel your ABM efforts:
- Marketing automation – Automation tools like Hubspot or Marketo can help you scale up your marketing distribution while reducing the actual effort that it takes. They can help you schedule, optimize, and track the performance of your campaigns across various channels, while delivering engagements automatically based on specified customer actions (e.g., sending an auto-generated welcome email when a customer signs up for a demo).
- Analytics – While data continues to reign as the top business asset, it is no surprise that marketing analytics tools can provide a significant advantage. With real-time insights, marketing analytics tools can give you valuable information on how customers are responding to various campaigns or messages, about purchasing intent, and other behaviors that can help you refine and adjust your approach.
- Customer relationship management – A CRM not only helps you keep track of your accounts and contacts, but enables detailed tracking of each customer’s status through the buying journey to enable more efficient and relevant engagement.
- Website pixel tracking – By placing tracking pixels in your website code, you can gain valuable information through services like Google Analytics on what your customers are doing on your website. See what pages are getting the most traction, what calls to action are performing best, what pages have the greatest drop-off and need improvement, and so on.
- Test for the best and assess
Understanding which campaigns and content are the most effective is crucial to developing a successful ABM strategy in the long run. It takes a little trial and error until you find your groove and fine tune a strategy that resonates with your target customers. One of the fastest ways to do this is to build in A/B testing from the start. Test a variety of messages, channels, content types, etc.—refining as you go until you find the right combinations. Once your campaign has been running for some time (30 to 60 days), it is essential to step back and evaluate the overall effectiveness and ROI of your ABM efforts. Ask some critical questions like:
- Did your personalized content generate interest? If so, how? (e.g., click-throughs, boost in website traffic, email opens/responses)
- Are these accounts or personas becoming more engaged with your brand? How so?
- Did your targeted engagements help move any leads down the sales funnel?
- Was any revenue generated that can be directly attributed to your ABM campaigns?
- Were there any new learnings that came out of these efforts? (e.g., did one industry show significantly more interest over another?)
- What could you do better or add to the process going forward?
In an economy now driven by hyper-personalization, the B2B world is no exception—embracing ABM may just mean the difference between surviving the next decade and extinction. While implementing an ABM strategy may seem like a daunting task, with a little effort and time the payoff will be worth it.
Want help getting started or taking your ABM strategy to the next level? Connect with our marketing experts at Cadence Preferred today!