Industrial marketers are embracing Account Based Marketing (ABM) to supplement other demand generation strategies. With ABM, marketing and sales teams work together to target best-fit accounts, personalize the buying experience, and turn those prospects into customers.
ABM can be as simple as one-to-one marketing and selling or as sophisticated as one-to-many with multiple prospects being targeted at a single account. Companies seeking high-value customers might find an ABM strategy serves them better than casting a wide net.
Purchasing at larger organizations is a collaborative effort, with influence from engineers, management, operations, purchasing, and more. Budget authority resides throughout the organization—not just with senior managers. The more stakeholders you can engage at a targeted account, the higher likelihood of success with ABM.
The Benefits of ABM
- Sales and marketing alignment, which can save resources and increase efficiency and morale. Selling and marketing expertise both are needed and the two teams must work together to identify accounts, devise targeting and personalization strategies, create customized content, and close deals.
- ROI is easier to demonstrate. When you are going after specific accounts, eventually you either penetrate, gain a foothold, and expand the relationship—or you don’t. Your efforts targeting a specific account are easier to measure and track. Common metrics might be the number of ad views/email clicks/site visits by target organization, new prospects identified, leads generated, and wins.
- Better content engagement. When content is personalized and customized for specific people, industries, job functions, and responsibilities, you have a much greater chance of engaging and satisfying your audience. Continue to personalize and customize your most popular pieces of content.
How to Pick the Right Accounts
Not every customer is an ideal target for ABM. Customers with sporadic ordering history, low-revenue customers, and outlier customers in fringe industries are likely not your ideal candidates.
You’re looking for customers who could potentially order a lot of your product and services and would stay loyal to a supplier that provides excellent products and responsive service. Here are some ways to identify the right accounts:
- Create an ideal customer profile for ABM. Include industry, company size, titles and job functions, pain points, and how your offerings fit for that type of organization.
- Talk with the sales team to get their input on potential accounts to target with ABM.
- Examine your own customer database for repeat customers or large accounts that make potential ABM prospects.
- Look for other companies both within your database and beyond that have similar profiles to your best customers.
- Zero in on companies that are of strategic importance to your organization.
Prioritize ABM Tactics
How you actually market to these accounts depends on whether you’re marketing one to one, one to a few, or one to many. Here are some tactics to consider, starting with one-to-one outreach and extending to one-to-many marketing.
- Make a connection on LinkedIn or other social media with a professional from a target account. Respond to their posts and participate in discussions. Share your ideas.
- Send one-to-one emails to establish a personal relationship.
- Ask if you can send them a relevant piece of content.
- Once acquainted, ask for other contacts in the company who might be interested in engaging with you.
- Begin mapping target account’s organization to understand hierarchy, team members, roles, and the appropriate content for each.
- Follow the prospect’s organization on social media and participate as you do with individual accounts.
- Sponsor or exhibit at a live or virtual event that the prospect organization is participating in or hosting.
- Invite individuals from a targeted account to attend one of your events or be a guest speaker/presenter.
- Place ads on industry and professional sites where your prospects will see them.
- Set up a prospect-specific email newsletter and ask your contacts to opt-in.
- Build custom landing pages for each targeted account.
About Custom Content
ABM requires content customized to the needs and interests of your target organization and its stakeholders.
Although it’s not always apparent what buy cycle state each individual is in at any given moment, you want to have top-of-funnel educational content such as white papers, technical articles, and eBooks, as well as content for latter stages, such as case studies, comparisons, data sheets, and product configurators.
Decision-makers and influencers can be segmented according to their area of responsibility: economic buyers, technical buyers, and analytic buyers.
Economic buyers are concerned with the balance sheet and ROI. Technical buyers want to make sure whatever is purchased fits within the existing technical environment of an organization. Analytic buyers must be assured that a product works as advertised and will solve the problem. Address each of these needs in your custom content for targeted accounts.