Account-based marketing (ABM) involves identifying, obtaining, and marketing to targeted, high-value accounts and communicating directly with executives and business leaders who have authority in large purchasing or contractual decisions. This strategy is especially beneficial for B2B companies because it targets specific decision-makers right from the start, filtering out unqualified prospects and aligning marketing and sales on strategy, content, and engagement for each account.
ABM results in a faster turnaround of more qualified sales leads, allows for highly personalized and targeted campaigns, builds trust with B2B decision-makers, and offers additional support for the sales process. What that means for you is that your marketing efforts and hard work go directly toward selling to your most qualified leads, ultimately resulting in shorter sales cycles, more personalized approaches to lead nurturing, and better goal alignment between sales and marketing.
At Sagefrog, we specialize in ABM in the B2B space and can help your business get started with a plan using our account-based marketing tips. Here are our four steps to get started on your ABM journey.
- Clearly Define Your Target Account List
- Identify & Prioritize Best-Fit Accounts
- Determine Strategy & Next Steps
- Execute Multi-Channel Campaigns
To hear from ABM experts at RollWorks and Sagefrog discuss these 4 steps in more detail and share their proven tips for success, check out our recorded webinar below.
1. Clearly Define Your Target Account List
If you’re investing in ABM, you’ll want to make sure you have a solid target account list (TAL). To build your ideal TAL, start by looking at your current customers and analyzing data about their spending with you. See where your customers are spending, what they’re spending most on, and what your retention rate is. This information will help you paint an accurate picture of your ideal customers plus your strengths and weaknesses, which will not only help you narrow your target but also help you bolster your business.
This is one place where having clearly defined buyer personas will help. Having your ideal customer clearly mapped out in your account-based marketing plan will help you decide how to reach out to your potential customers, who exactly to reach out to, and when you should make your move. Ultimately, you’ll want a TAL compromised of the best-fit companies and organizations for you to turn into customers.
2. Identify & Prioritize Best-Fit Accounts
Next, use your TAL to prioritize the best-fit accounts that you already have as customers or that you’d like to acquire. Ideally, your TAL will include customers—your top 20%, approximately—that are providing the majority of your company’s revenue. Those clients are the people your campaign should prioritize for account expansion opportunities like cross-selling and upselling; additionally, add to your list any new leads that align with those existing customers in terms of their needs and budgets.
B2B companies especially benefit from targeting and selling to fewer, bigger clients as opposed to many smaller clients. Finding and keeping those top, high-value customers is the way to solidify your ABM efforts. Once you’ve identified those accounts, prioritize them in your marketing.
3. Determine Strategy & Next Steps
Once you have your target account list and you’ve selected the best options from that list, it’s time to create your account-based marketing plan. Consider investing in the experts to get the most out of ABM—their efficiency and expertise will optimize your chance of success, and they know all the account-based marketing tips that you might not. An agency will be able to provide you with digital ABM strategy, content, creative, and project management to ensure your ABM efforts result in results and ROI.
Whether you move forward with ABM using an agency or your internal team, you’ll need the following to execute your plan:
- Different forms of content based on your industry and buyer personas
- Personalized messaging to use in your communications
- A lead nurturing strategy for the contacts on your TAL
- Support (whether from an external agency or your internal team)
- Tracking and reporting software, or some method of organizing your data
Also, make sure your marketing and sales teams are both looped in on your strategy session. While marketing is responsible for defining targets and developing messaging and content, your sales team should focus on outreach, executing tactics, and obtaining feedback.
4. Execute Multi-Channel Campaigns
Now that you have your teams aligned on strategy, you’re ready to put your ABM campaign into action. The best way to do that is to utilize multiple ABM channels for your content. The best channels for your B2B ABM efforts are:
- Digital Advertising
Make sure your customers and leads are seeing your company with targeted digital ads and relevant offers. You’ll also reach unknown contacts in your account.
- Content Marketing
Nurture your TAL by presenting them with content—like blog posts, guides, or reports—that is useful for their industry and positions your company as a subject-matter authority.
- Social Media
Everyone you’re trying to connect with is on social media, so you need to be using your ABM strategy to interact with your audience there, too—especially on LinkedIn.
- Email Marketing
There’s a reason your inbox has dozens of promotional messages a day—emails work. Segment your lists and use personalized messaging, subject lines, and CTAs.
- Direct Mail
It’s tangible and more memorable, even in our digital world, which gives your company a better chance at getting to the sale, offering 10x more opportunities from a single campaign.
- Sales Outreach
Engage your prospects and customers with cohesive messaging throughout your campaign; this will be an area where that alignment between your sales and marketing teams is crucial.
Using multiple channels to disseminate your content is the best way to increase customer engagement and loyalty for your business. It also lets you get better data on which channel(s) your customer likes best, and when you keep your message consistent, it starts to create strong associations between your brand and the message you’re touting.
The key to a successful ABM campaign is focusing on fewer high-value accounts rather than more low-value accounts. Following these four account-based marketing steps will set you up for a successful ABM journey.
Sagefrog can help you launch your account-based marketing strategy. Our team provides the support you need to get started with ABM, so let’s start securing your dream clients today!