Thinking about making the move to account-based marketing (ABM)? Before taking the leap, you’re going to have to do a ton of research, planning, and work. Here’s the thing, only 18% of adopters have two years of ABM experience.
Making a slow, smart, and smooth transition to ABM is the only way to create a lasting program that maximizes your resources and keeps your team working more efficiently.
To help you get up to speed with ABM, here’s what you need to know:
What is Account-Based Marketing?
An account-based marketing strategy targets a group of business accounts and markets to them directly as a batch. Instead of bringing in leads through inbound marketing, ABM takes a group of high-value accounts and creates hyper-personalized marketing campaigns and sales outreach to directly connect with decision-makers. Let’s say you have 10-20 accounts, but there are hundreds on a single list. Your account-based marketing strategy will then be more labor-intensive and costly to execute.
Why is Account-Based Marketing Important?
Account-based marketing can drive higher revenue when your marketing is focused on high-value accounts, instead of wasting time, money, and talent on every prospect. An account-based marketing strategy also allows your marketing and sales teams to collaborate better. When marketing collateral reaches several decision-makers at once, it speeds up the sales cycle by nurturing multiple leads and cuts down the wait to get decision-makers’ approval.
Is Account-Based Marketing Right for You?
Before implementing an account-based marketing strategy, consider the following:
- Do you have accounts with sizable deals?
- Do you have enough accounts to support dropping other marketing programs?
- Do you have a long sales cycle?
- Do you have the resources in place (or will in the future) to train your marketing and sales team in ABM?
- Do you have the technology and resources available to deliver highly-targeted content and a personalized customer experience to each account?
If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, you’re ready to roll with ABM. Don’t worry about your other marketing initiatives right now – ABM can be used in conjunction with them. Now, let’s drill down to the juicy part – the must-have strategies to develop a sustainable ABM program for ROI.
5 Account-Based Marketing Must-Have Strategies for Sales
1. Create your ideal account profile and target list
What makes an account “high-value” for your organization? Build a list of target accounts to market to. Consider whether your lead is willing and ready to buy and if they’ll bring in consistent revenue over time. Instead of using an ideal customer profile (ICP), you’ll need to create an ideal account profile (IAP). You’ll need to take a deep dive and analyze your marketing, sales, and customer service data in order to determine what your most valuable accounts currently have in common. If your ideal accounts are New York-based insurance companies, then the location will be a priority.
Common data search fields:
Your marketing team can gather this data from their research and sales reps can dig deep into their database with Lusha for Salesforce. It allows you to automatically bulk enrich multiple leads in your CRM. This streamlines the whole scoring and routing process and allows you to isolate common attributes that make an account high-value for your organization and choose new accounts that fit your IAP.
These new accounts will form the core of your transition to ABM. With this information, your marketing and sales teams will also know exactly how to create targeted campaigns and perform personalized outreach.
Once you have your target account list, it’s time to start grouping them. Although each account is qualified and has the possibility to be profitable, you should have a scoring system in place to rank and prioritize accounts.
- Low intent buyers
- Marketing qualified leads
- Sales qualified: high intent buyers
When accounts are in ranked groups, it guides your account-based marketing strategy even further. It becomes immediately clear which accounts to reach out to first, and where to prioritize budget spending to maximize ROI.
2. Learn who the big kahuna is amongst the stakeholders
As mentioned earlier, ABM requires a more focused and personalized strategy. With other marketing methods, you are learning how a lead thinks, behaves, and operates at a time. With ABM you are looking at several key leads within an organization, plus, how they work with each other, how the company is structured, and what role they each play in the decision process. To find key people in an organization, you could sift through dozens of profiles, often fruitlessly – or you could use Lusha Extension. As soon as you plug in, you’ll instantly get access to your target contact’s details.
The promoter: this is someone who is a fan of your product or service and shares it with the team
The influencer: they are usually experts and will sway the opinions of others
The buyer: this person signs off on the final purchase or project
Identifying the internal hierarchy can help your marketing team create the right content. Marketing collateral that proves your company’s expertise to the influencer gets other key players on board. Also, make note of how their individual timeline looks when making a decision.
3. Connect smarter at every stage
Here comes the fun part – speaking to your prospects! With an account-based marketing strategy, creating collateral and campaigns becomes easier than ever before. You will need the budget to go all out, get creative, and write more personal messages. The top five ABM tactics are sales development outreach, digital advertising, direct mail, email marketing, and events.
Here’s how both your marketing and sales teams can personalize each tactic:
Two places you can post digital advertisements are on LinkedIn and Facebook.
LinkedIn is the first place B2B professionals go to connect with their peers and exchange information. It’s the prime spot to post an advertisement for your case study and have it seen by the right people. Dynamic ads is a LinkedIn feature that allows your target list to receive personalized ads that display their name, profile pic, and job title. This is an efficient tool to create and send hundreds of advertisements that are unique.
Next, you can place ads on Facebook. The platform allows your ads to be seen in the format your target prefers (i.e. banner, carousel, collection, etc) with their personalization features. It automatically adjusts the format, description, and placement on the site based on what they’re most likely to respond to.
Sales development outreach
Reps can write a LinkedIn cold outreach message that is customized by mentioning something specific to them in the message. If you’re using Sales Navigator, you will receive notifications when your contacts post, and you can reference the topic they mentioned, or simply read their profile thoroughly to get to know them. Sales reps can also craft their cold calls around the same information. Make sure to add personal info to the first 30 seconds of the call to grab the attention of the contact.
In an account-based marketing strategy, direct mail is the perfect way to get noticed. Some ideas include sending wine, tech gadgets, chocolates, a handwritten note, VIP access to online conferences, or a gift card. You can create tiered packages depending on which stage in the buyer’s journey your account is in. Once the direct mail has been sent, follow up with a phone call or meeting.
Once your target group is fixed, you can send email campaigns that are relevant to each decision-maker. Personalized emails have a higher click-through rate, so it is crucial to customize a template by making the subject line relevant, mentioning something they have posted on social media, and sending behavior-based emails that automatically get sent whenever a prospect interacts with your content.
Online events and one-to-one Zoom meetings are an intimate way to execute an account-based marketing strategy. There is nothing like forming a humane digital connection. You can educate, nurture, and build a meaningful relationship with your prospects in person, online, and make an impact. Personally inviting them to an online event your team is attending, or hosting your own online event are major steps towards a great business relationship.
4. Market to a small portion of your list
Since ABM takes more talent, money, time, and technology to get right, marketing to all your accounts at once may overburden your team. Most organizations intentionally pursue only 38% of their target accounts at one time. This strategy benefits teams who have hundreds of accounts and need to create personalized campaigns at scale.
It digs to the analytics to identify triggers of response from decision-makers, and monitor their behaviors, motives, and personality traits to help build out your IAP and optimize your next campaign.
5. Measure IAP and account engagement in every account
You should be able to measure the results of your account-based marketing strategy to identify weak spots and opportunities to increase revenue.
IAP: A complete ideal account profile is something that develops and evolves over time, especially as you interact with key decision-makers. You should measure the accuracy of your data points, the depth of knowledge you have about each contact, and how complete the profile is.
Account engagement: Here you can calculate how many hours are spent on a call and how many content assets are downloaded to determine the level of interest your prospect has shown over the course of their journey. Knowing which accounts have high engagement allows you to prioritize the account you need to engage with first.
The Main Takeaway
The most crucial step in implementing your account-based marketing strategy is creating an ideal account profile. Without the insights, you won’t be able to invest your resources in pursuing the most high-value accounts. To avoid accidentally adding the wrong accounts to your target list, use Lusha API to bulk enrich your entire CRM. Get the data points you need and a list of the key decision-makers at the company. Once the profiles are complete, create and send hyper-personalized content and sales outreach messages to target the right people, at the right time, to purchase.
Get the jump on ABM with Contacts API