Account-based Marketing: An Introduction

Account-based marketing (ABM) is an alternative B2B strategy that concentrates sales and marketing resources on a clearly defined set of target accounts within a market and employs personalized campaigns designed to resonate with the individuals within each account.

*ABM Sales Training is a part of our internal training sessions*

Key Steps of Buying Process:

The buying process includes three main stages: Need/Awareness - Evaluation of product - Buying decision.

With inbound and outbound marketing, the buyer will go through one, or two stages, and you as the marketer will be the one affecting their final stage: deciding whether to buy or not.

Account based marketing (ABM) VS Inbound marketing

What do these two have in common, you may wonder. ABM and inbound marketing all require a deep understanding of your buyer persona to create content that is relevant to them. If so, what differentiates them?

With inbound marketing, you create valuable and SEO-friendly content to attract customers, providing them with information that they need. ABM takes it to a higher level, when you take the basis of inbound marketing, and personalize the content even more to reach your customer in a customized manner, giving them a feeling of delight that you care for them, and thus can attract customers in a way more focused approach.

Key Steps of ABM:

1. Discover and Define Your High Value Accounts

Dig into your available data to draft a clear demographic of your highest performing accounts. Key characteristics you should consider for evaluation include:

- Industry data: Target sizes, locations, and industries of your ideal accounts

- Digital behaviors: Your ideal high value accounts’ journey on the digital sphere, from attention phase to product interest phase to desire phase. Identifying their behaviors and targeting personalized messages are imperative, but can be a real challenge sometimes.

2. Map Accounts and Identify Key, Reachable Contacts

Your sales team may have a list of their target customers called “leads” to nurture and convert. Your job as a marketer doing ABM should be using this leads list as a starting point, and cater to them using your techniques.

The leads list may consist of these categories:

- P1: User/Beneficiary of the solution

- P2: Supervisor of P1

- P3: Executive

3. Define Content and Personalized Messaging

In other words, this step can be called “Run a Content Audit”. Analyze what type of content you have done so far, and how each of them performs. Be attentive to analytics such as impressions, reaches, click-through-rate, etc. but try to go beyond it by incorporating advanced segmentation to your content audit.

Once you have the result, you will see what type of content is most effective at each stage of the customer journey, and hence draft your content plan accordingly to your dream accounts. Remember, be customer-centric, meaning to offer your solution in the way your customers are benefiting from, and in the way they are navigating up and down the customer journey.

4. Determine Optimal Channels

Each of your leads may respond through a different channel. It’s important to identify the optimal touch points for each segmentation of your dream accounts, which means to cater to different channels using different techniques, but at the same time, maintain a consistent brand voice and messaging across multi-channels.

In the world of digitalization, digital channels like LinkedIn, Emails, Websites may be more effective. However, consider the traditional channels as well, including phone calls, offline workshops.

5. Cultivate with Targeted and Coordinated Campaigns

It would be of no use if you have incredible content personalized to your audience, but the audience in question is not able to discover it. It’s time to draft a campaign to promote the right content to the right audience at the right time.

It is important that you work with the Sales Department in this stage to have feedback from them and to ensure that their messaging is brilliantly aligned in the campaign.

6. Measure, Learn, and Optimize Conversion

Track your analytics regularly. When calculating the result, make sure to track both sales and marketing channels. Then ask these questions: Do the targeted accounts notice you? Are they following the direction you have mapped out? Do they get to the decision stage? Answer all these, and what you get is the performance of your ABM effort.

Source: Telem, M. (2016, September 6). Be an account-based marketing champ in 5 easy steps. Marketo Marketing Blog - Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

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