What Is Account-Based Marketing? [Guide]

We know you’ve heard of this trending term. Account-based marketing (ABM) is making its way through the marketing community, pushing past inbound methodologies and throwing traditional marketing into a tailspin. But is it a strategy that your B2B company should adopt? If you’re looking to align your sales and marketing teams, ABM is a highly targeted and advantageous approach.

But as with all things, integration is the key to success, so don’t ditch your other marketing methods. ABM can help you achieve maximum ROI by supplementing a well-rounded suite of marketing tactics. Take a closer look at account-based marketing – also known as key account marketing – to see if it could help you satisfy your current marketing and sales goals.

The short definition

Account-based marketing (ABM) is a modern marketing method that dismisses elements of both inbound and outbound marketing techniques. An account-based marketing technique casts a much smaller net by directly targeting key business stakeholders who influence purchasing decisions with the intent of securing select accounts.

The long definition

modern buyer and seller funnelAccount-based marketing is a business-to-business (B2B) marketing approach that can be executed in conjunction with traditional marketing, content marketing, “smarketing” and other methods to identify, communicate with and eventually secure desired business accounts. Because it can help achieve goals at each stage of the customer journey and sales process, ABM can be applied at any point during the customer relationship through a great number of tactics.

Below are the basic components of account-based marketing and a few popular ways that business leaders and their teams apply this strategy to acquire high-quality accounts.

ABM Aims

  • Engage only businesses that fit a detailed ideal customer profile
  • Deliver personalized messages that meet prospective buyers on their level
  • Directly address the challenges and needs of decision makers
  • Create an ideal buying experience for prospective and current customers
  • Create valuable long-term relationships with customers
  • Increase ROI by avoiding the use of tactics that bring in unqualified leads
  • Unite sales and marketing teams under the goals of attaining qualified customers
  • Eliminate unnecessary internal competition that prevents efficiency and success

ABM Procedure

  1. Research your target audience and make a list of all prospective businesses that fit your ideal buyer profile, gathering contact information for key stakeholders
  2. Rank this list by account achievement priority, depending on your marketing and sales goals, and start by focusing your attention on the top 15-20% of the list
  3. Predict how your products and services fit into the unique challenges of each business stakeholder
  4. Plan on the tactics and channels that would best reach stakeholders at top priority businesses and decide who will execute tactics at each level of interaction
  5. Execute your ABM strategy by utilizing personnel from both your sales and marketing teams
  6. Evaluate all ABM efforts with clear KPIs and continually optimize by closing the loop on successful and unsuccessful tactics

ABM Tactics

Social media paid promotion

Sponsored ads and other paid promotion techniques on social media can broadcast your best resources for select audiences. Invest in tools like LinkedIn Matched Audiences to specifically target companies and individuals to share informative articles, case studies and other content assets.

Social media outreach

Initiate manual one-on-one engagement with prospects through professional channels such as Facebook and LinkedIn. LinkedIn’s InMail feature is the best way to get in direct contact with business professionals. Be sure to pay attention to the delivery of your messages, maintaining a good balance between formal and conversational language.

Email marketing

Personalized ABM email campaigns – a form of lead nurturing – can also make use of existing material from past or current content marketing campaigns. Send over relevant new content pieces, recent blog posts and thought leadership articles to ask for their own opinion and initiate a discussion.

Influencer marketing

Make use of your high-profile team members and factor their voices into the personalization of messages. Encourage employee engagement to build up their credibility and enthusiasm for crafting close client relationships. Utilize connections within the target buyer’s community and tap into referral marketing to increase your reach.

Staying up-to-date on new programs, tools and tactics will help you better manage your account-based marketing strategy and start securing new clients with this effective, hands-on approach.

If you’d like to expand your team’s marketing capabilities, download the free eBook Executive Summary: State of Inbound 2017. This eBook serves as a digest of the most important facts and figures from inbound champion HubSpot’s recent 90-page report and offers key inbound marketing insights through a B2B lens. Download this eBook to strengthen your current marketing efforts with a modern methodology.

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Are you interested in B2B marketing services? Contact Sagefrog Marketing Group today.