3 Steps to Starting Account-Based Marketing (ABM)
ABM is exactly what it sounds like: an approach to B2B marketing which targets a smaller segment of your audience with personalized messaging. It can be a great complement to broader marketing tactics and an effective way to give your sales team additional support when tackling key prospects. Here are three key steps to getting started with ABM tactics:
1) Identify Key Prospects
Depending on how large a set of prospects you’re trying to identify, you may be able to do this with all your own information. Your sales team likely has a set of prospective accounts in mind already that they would like to land. Remember, though: it’s not just the size of the opportunity that should be considered, but also how likely they are to convert. Compare them with your current customers as well as companies who have passed on your services in the past and evaluate accordingly.
If you’re looking at a larger group of prospects or are having trouble identifying or connecting with the right person in the organization, third party data can help. Depending on your industry, there may be a trade organization who can help you or there are data companies you can try as well.
Once you’ve identified the companies, make sure you know the right people to reach—including influencers as well as decision makers—to help smooth the sales process even further.
2) Personalize Your Marketing
Based on your time, resources, budget and sales cycle, you can establish a set of reasonable goals. Then you’ll proceed like any other marketing plan—just with a narrower, more focused audience that allows you to get more personalized with your content and messaging.
For example, your content marketing can be adapted not just to the stages of the buyer’s journey and your broader buyer personas, but to the specific organization or even person you’re reaching out to.
Before you get too personalized and spend too much time customizing, make sure the lifetime value of the customer will justify the resources you’re investing.
3) Choose Your Tactics
ABM focuses heavily in the digital space with tactics like email marketing, social media and programmatic campaigns leading the pack. Tangible marketing tactics like direct mail or even out-of-home could have their place as well and should be considered in the light of how big an opportunity you’re going after. Digital tactics will often provide the most cost-effective approach.
Email marketing is typically the core of an ABM campaign as it is the most controllable, customize-able tactic. Setting prospects up in a sequence of targeted emails can help guide them through the buyer’s journey until they’re ready to meet or receive another personal contact.
Social media and programmatic ads are typically more effective on a larger scale, such as if you’re targeting a niche industry rather than a set of companies or individuals. There are opportunities in both, however, to get a little more granular.
With social media, you can target specific companies if they’re large enough. There will be some wasted impressions and the CPM will likely be much higher, but again this should be evaluated based on the potential value of the customer. Use retargeting efforts to serve up new ads to anyone who has visited your landing pages with tailored content can also provide an opportunity to get granular in programmatic campaigns.
ABM is overall just a more focused approach to marketing that can help prime your key prospects for sales to reach out. Alignment on goals and tactics between the sales and marketing teams will be key to ensuring success. Make sure to take the time to get buy in before you begin.