Account Based Marketing. It’s a term that gets thrown around the industry just as much as AI these days and can be pretty intimidating especially when trying to figure out how to get going. It seems like a beast that’s difficult to get your hands around. But guess what…it’s not. Especially if you start small! An ABM strategy can be an essential tool for all companies (whether you’re a beginner or not) and is one of the most unique forms of marketing out there. Let’s get started with the basics.
1. Identify 20 or fewer Accounts to target.
If you try to implement ABM across all of your accounts when you’re just getting started, you’ll likely never get ABM off the ground. You need to figure out your approach and process (and be nimble enough to measure and optimize along the way), so focusing on a small group of accounts is best. This will allow you to experiment without fear and find what works best for your team.
2. Focus on one or two segments.
At least in the beginning. Your company might serve a variety of segments but when you’re just getting started with ABM, focus on a specific segment so you can get laser focused with your targeting and messaging. Having a distinction between the type of companies that fit your ABM strategy creates clarity across marketing and sales.
Example segments: industry, geography, company size, the technology used, product lines, etc.
3. Divide Accounts fairly.
This is a team effort. Your sales team and marketing team are both going to need to have an equal hand in this strategy in order to be successful. This is a subtle step that underscores the desire for each sales rep to be given a fair shot at success. A sales rep needs to envision success for their owned accounts.
Divide the Target Accounts among your account development team (whether they sit in marketing or sales) fairly by specific account attributes. Examples include opportunity $ amount, number of Accounts, pre-existing history or warmth of the Accounts and Leads/Contacts, and other factors that affect the success of closing the Target Accounts.
4. Set up your CRM and map the engagement process.
Now that you’re ready to start your account based marketing, make sure your CRM is ready for engagement. Start by creating lists (or even org charts) of target recipients in these Accounts that you want to receive your content. Segment these recipients in your CRM and prepare it to handle downloads by Target Accounts through modifications to lead scoring and customized lead assignment to sales reps based on Accounts.
A CMO will want different takeaways from your content than a Marketing Operations Manager. Create unique messaging and content for each of these roles by trying to understand their unique pain-points and role in the buying process (are they a decision maker, influencer, end user, etc.).
Target these individuals within the account separately but in a complementary way. Maybe the CMO receives a direct mail piece that focuses on their pain-points with the CEO and board reporting. Simultaneously the Head of Marketing Operations could be targeted with messaging that addresses how they can solve the challenges their team faces on a day-to-day basis.
5. Measure and learn.
The most important step. Once you’ve targeted the individual members in your Accounts and engaged with them along the sales cycle you’ve probably gathered enough data to generate insights.
Run a report on these Target Accounts to view the funnel health of those accounts, evaluate your efforts, and compare your ABM with non-ABM results. Generate funnel metrics, especially conversion and velocity, with a view of stage-by-stage progression.
How’d you do? I’m assuming it was more efficient than before. If it wasn’t, try to diagnose the problem and see where your Accounts are getting stuck in the funnel.
6. Optimize and Scale.
After drawing conclusions on what worked and what didn’t, increment your ABM strategy by expanding your target list and iterate these six steps using your key findings.
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Previously as Digital Marketing Specialist at Full Circle Insights, Daniel oversaw SEO and SEM strategies as well as social media operations.