Account-based Marketing (ABM) has been around since 2004 and after 17 years, it’s become an invaluable part of marketing strategy. Today, 67% of brands are currently executing ABM strategies, and this number is rising with increased competition and the need for personalization. ABM isn’t a new concept, yet some organizations are behind the curve and not deploying it or doing it correctly. Not following an ABM strategy is a missed opportunity. Buyers expect personalization at every turn of the buyer’s journey. They’re exhausted with generic “fishing with a net” tactics that are go-tos for many marketers. If you want to grab their valuable attention, you must meet their expectations of personalized, relevant messaging. It needsto address where they’re at in the buyer’s journey, as well as the specific pain points and challenges they are experiencing.
If you haven’t implemented ABM yet, this is the strategy you need to focus on to close more deals in your target accounts and deliver results for your organization. ABM is best paired with marketing technology and an account-focused Sales Development Rep (SDR) layer. It treats highly targeted accounts as their own market and offers a fresh and often profitable set of techniques for demand generation.
It’s possible you’ve already been using ABM tactics without calling it account-based marketing and without a true strategy guiding them. Ask yourself if any of these practices sound familiar:
- Identifying the traits of “ideal” accounts or prospects
- Studying their key business challenges, mapping them to individuals, and tailoring pitches, conversations and campaigns to address those issues
- Using personalized approaches to reduce churn and expand your footprint within an existing account
Maybe you said “yes;” maybe you said, “no, not yet.” Either way, ABM is a direction you’ll likely move in order to help you grow enduring relationships and gain a share of wallet. Here’s six ways you can turn ABM tactics into a collective and considerable revenue driver:
Identify your most profitable accounts
Study your data for patterns exhibited by your ideal prospects—the ones who turn out to buy the most and are the most loyal to your brand. Also, take a look at those accounts to understand which ones are the most profitable to serve effectively. You’ll definitely want more of those.
There may be some minor discrepancies, but you should be able to utilize your SDRs to build a profile that maps out their key attributes. You’ll want to look at challenges, digital behavior, firmographic data and other traits.
Make a list of individual customers that fit the broad or “average” target market. Then select the customers that provide the most value for your company. Those people are your new “accounts”—the people most worth the marketing investment.
These days, retention is the new acquisition. In 2021, most ABM programs focus on existing accounts with more share of wallet opportunity and 75% of organizations are using ABM for customer marketing. Have your SDRs start targeting a small number of 25 or fewer high potential targets to see the biggest benefit.
Target ideal accounts with customized messaging
Now that you’ve uncovered your target accounts, focus on them and analyze the experiences they’ve already had with your brand. Include both existing accounts and the ones that got away. Look at click- throughs, impressions and content consumption, and trace their path through the funnel when possible. Then, draft a content strategy for each step of your ideal customer’s journey through the funnel.
Create Personalized, High-value Content
Combining inbound marketing with ABM is powerful. On its own, quality content generates three times more leads than paid advertising and costs 62% less, making it worth the investment.
High-quality content has:
- A clear goal, topic, and strategy
- A powerful headline and hook
- Keyword optimization
- Consistent frequency
When you begin with the customer in mind, you create personalized content. Every blog, sales page, webinar, or newsletter will be highly relevant and valuable to the customer, creating a more positive experience and greater loyalty to you.
Use Personalized Emails
Email is still a powerful tool. They generate 40 times more customers than social media, and ROI is an astounding 4,400%. The key to that ROI is writing emails that customers will actually want to open.
To leave an impression and make the connection, personalize the email for your customer. Try the following:
- Create powerful subject lines
- Greet the customer by name
- Close with your name
- Include relevant and appealing offers
- Be timely—don’t spam!
- Use images
- Offer tips for how to use your product
Deepen your existing account relationships
ABM can help you prevent churn and develop an expanded presence with current buyers. The first step is to dig deeper into the account and find out who else you should be talking to. What other departments or geographies might have new revenue opportunities? How are decisions and budgeting done throughout the year at this company? Which leaders are influential in the buying decision? When your SDRs are closely aligned with two or three Account Executives, planning a targeted approach for accounts will result in 2x chance of success.
Next step: utilize your web management platform to develop a personalized account experience on your website. Creating landing pages with customized copy, visuals, recommendations and forms is a great place to start.
Mobilize Sales to cross-sell and upsell
Cross-selling and up-selling can increase your profits by up to 30%. One-size-fits-all offers have no place in ABM. Using the same personalization research, leverage your SDRs to assist your sales team to craft intelligent and relevant cross-sell and upsell offers. They understand the needs of the current account best and can suggest which of your products or solutions will align with their needs.
The idea is to design deals specific to each ABM customer and prospect that offer real value for their customer journey, challenges, and personas. Timing plays an important role here as does sales and marketing alignment. Make sure you align tightly with the sales team so they can be prompt, responsive and informed when it matters most. That alignment should include a feedback loop to help you understand your accounts even better.
Use ABM to beat sales goals for specific products
To intensify product adoption, build a list of companies and executives who’ve been vetted as ideal ABM targets. Collecting leads from webinars and white paper downloads can be useful for top of funnel efforts. SDRs are crucial in this stage of the nurturing process. They can help boost specific product sales by targeting the right prospects and designing a tailored engagement map. The map connects their favorite channels (such as social media, blogs, PPC, email, direct mail) with personalized tactics that speak to their challenges and needs. A smaller number of clever outreach strategies will drive more adoption than a scattershot campaign.
Fuel regional growth with ABM
If you’re expanding into a new geographic area or trying to revive a struggling one, ABM can be the best approach for you to meet those KPIs. One key weapon here: using social intelligence to understand what motivates your regional prospects. For example, social data might reveal that buyers in the new area are engaged with an upcoming local conference. This gives you an opportunity to have a presence at that event. Or you might find out that the leaders in this region have a different business culture that requires you to adapt your approach. Instead of repeating practices that worked elsewhere, you’ll create content and touchpoints that mesh with their expectations.
Diligent ABM can help you realize ROI on your marketing efforts, align your sales and marketing teams, retain customers, and generate revenue into your most coveted accounts. Sales and marketing teams have always known that relevance is the key to successful outreach. A strong ABM strategy ensures that you remain relevant to your most profitable clients and prospects.
ABM can maximize your business opportunities by reducing your cost per lead and expanding your footprint where it’s most likely to bear fruit. With SDR support combined with smarter targeting and rich personalization, your team can make every account a profitable one—and take your results to a new level.