If you work in marketing or sales, you’ve undoubtedly heard the hype around account-based marketing (ABM)—and for good reason. According to ITSMA, businesses executing effective ABM strategies are experiencing seriously impactful results, including 84% pipeline growth and 77% revenue growth.
Key word: effective. Despite the increasing number of companies adopting ABM as part of their lead-gen strategy, about one-third (32%) do not believe their efforts have been successful. That means companies are spending time, money, and other resources on highly targeted outreach without seeing results in return.
In this guide, we’ll explore the driving factors behind the rise of ABM, how they can inform the design of your ABM tactics, and tactics to close existing gaps in your ABM strategy.
- Nearly three-quarters of businesses are increasing their investment in ABM this year.
- Effective SDRs and an optimized tech stack can significantly improve the early-stage ABM buyer experience and increase the efficiency of your strategy.
- Social media engagement in ABM should be about building relationships rather than direct-message selling.
- Every ABM strategy should be supported by high-value, dynamically shared content.
- Effective lead nurturing throughout your ABM strategy can increase your sales-ready lead volume.
ABM on the Rise: Key Driving Factors
The financial benefits of a strong account-based marketing strategy are clear, but what drove organizations to shift toward this approach in the first place? And why is it becoming increasingly essential for businesses today?
Over the past decade or so, the landscape of B2B buying has radically changed. Technology has put buyers in the driver’s seat when it comes to provider research and engagement—they evaluate options online and don’t reach out to sales teams until they’ve already narrowed down their list. They depend mostly on content, not sales reps, to learn about solutions.
Without a leveled-up effort, B2B organizations were left waiting (and hoping) that leads would come to them, even if they were doing everything right to make themselves visible on top digital platforms.
Trends emerged driving home the need for a new approach, including:
- B2B buyers now seek personalized outreach attuned to their unique business needs and stage of the buyer journey
- The growing influence of buying teams and committees has made purchase decisions more complex and required sales reps to engage multiple contacts on a single account
- Buyers are now savvy enough to recognize batch-and-blast marketing, and they often ignore it
ABM — not new, but once reserved largely for extremely high-revenue accounts and specialized sales teams — is now used by every kind of organization, from boutique consulting firms to new and growing SaaS companies to large corporations (and many in between).
And in 2023, companies are increasing their investment in ABM success — 71% plan to increase ABM spending this year and 50% plan to increase ABM staff.
If your company is planning to increase their investment in ABM, it’s essential to ensure it’s earning the results you need and expect. In the next section, we’ll walk through 6 proven tactics for identifying gaps in your account-based marketing strategy to maximize ROI.
6 Ways to Optimize Your Account-Based Marketing Strategy
Utilize Your Sales Development Reps
Sales development reps (SDRs) lay the foundation for your ABM success — they’re the boots on the ground conducting initial prospect outreach, scheduling meetings, and executing critical first engagements with lead contacts.
Level up your ABM strategy by training SDRS to identify the prospects with highest conversion and deal size potential (i.e. those that warrant ABM outreach), and facilitate a strong connection between SDRs and the account executives who close deals.
Optimize Your Tech Stack for Connection
The human connection is what makes the difference between lasting relationships and one-time sales. But without the foundation of a solid ABM tech stack, you won’t get the opportunity to be in front of the prospects you need.
There is a growing list of targeted solutions available to help companies address the marketing, sales, and sales development functions of an account-based strategy. Start out by utilizing your core systems like CRM and marketing automation platforms, then look for advanced tools that offer capabilities like intent data, predictive analytics, and AI-powered chat.
You’ll have no shortage of vendors to choose from, but keep in mind that any solution you adopt should integrate well with your existing tools to maintain seamless processes and insights.
Design Your Social Strategy to Build Rapport
Your account execs are probably already leveraging social platforms, but are they using them to their full capacity in a way that gets into target accounts? A thought-out, documented social strategy is necessary when executing your account-based marketing strategy. Know the platforms your prospects prefer and use, and connect with them in genuine ways (outside of sales pitch messages) to show you’re interested in helping them solve problems.
The goal is to use social media not just as an outreach channel, but a way to glean insight that will help you build rapport with the contacts inside your target accounts.
Before you reach out through direct message, establish a relationship first in simple ways like replying thoughtfully to their posts, sharing and retweeting their content, and joining groups they’re a part of.
Pro tip: Think outside the box with the TeamLink feature of LinkedIn Sales Navigator. TeamLink shows you connections from all of your employees, not just those in sales, giving you extra leverage into target accounts where you haven’t thought to look before. These tools help SDRs target the right contacts and then engage with more personalized outreach that builds on shared connections or common areas of interest.
Maximize The Power of In-Person Connections
Conversations are more memorable and powerful than direct messages and email. Maximize opportunities to meet with your targets. Nothing beats connecting in-person to further develop relationships with your target accounts.
Take the time to research events you know a large amount of your target accounts will be attending. The more intel you can gather pre-event, the better. Prior to the event, up your social activity and email sends to tap into the contacts of your target accounts.
Take advantage of current customers that will also be in attendance. It’s much more compelling and effective to have a customer singing your praises instead of giving a generic sales pitch.
Create Customized, High-Value Content
Every effective account-based marketing strategy needs great content to back it up. Even when you’re nailing your ABM outreach and your prospect is engaged with your account exec, they’ll still likely seek out content and use it to learn about your business.
In fact, buyers on average now interact with 13+ content assets throughout their buyer journey.
You can boost the impact of your content on sales conversions by making your content sharing dynamic. Align shared assets with the unique paint points and challenges of each individual prospect. By doing so, you show them you’re interested in more than making a quick sale and truly care about helping them address their needs
Pro tip: Make dynamic content sharing more efficient by building templated content that can be re-versioned for specific industries, roles, or even branded for specific accounts. Another popular tactic for ABM programs is using direct mail and video platforms — which can be easily personalized — while still utilizing existing messaging.
Focus on Conversions Over Leads
Drumming up interest and generating leads isn’t enough for your ABM strategy to work — you also need to master the art of conversion. Focus heavily on the experience your prospects have between the time they show initial interest and the moment they make a purchase decision.
Yes, much of this lands on your sales reps, but ABM lead nurturing during earlier stages of the buyer journey helps to ensure every lead turns into a real opportunity, and that they enter into sales conversations having already had a great experience with your business.
Going the extra mile during the lead nurturing stage increases the likelihood that leads will have high purchase readiness by the time they’re passed on to sales. In fact, companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at a 33% lower cost.
Make a plan for effective follow up with new leads in your pipeline through multiple channels, including landing pages, email drip campaigns, phone calls, and video follow-up (among others), and personalize interactions whenever possible.
Over to You
To be effective in today’s fast-paced and tech-driven B2B business landscape, you need to be able to execute your account-based marketing strategy at scale without sacrificing the quality of engagement. This requires time and resources you may not have in house.
The good news: You’re not alone. Many organizations (large and small) choose to outsource parts of their ABM efforts to ensure they’re well-executed as well as supported by expert teams and cutting-edge technologies.
Televerde provides outsourced marketing, sales, and customer experience services aligned with industry best practices and customized to the unique needs of individual organizations. If you’re looking for support for your ABM strategy or other marketing and sales initiatives, we can help.
Contact us today to learn more about our solutions.