• Emily Malone

A guide to Account-Based Marketing (ABM)

Account-Based Marketing is a relatively new form of strategic b2b marketing where you take an individual company and treat it as your very own target market. This way, instead of casting a giant net out far and wide, you can spearhead your marketing by finding your perfect customer account and personalising your content, just for them.

Research from the Altera Group found that 97% of b2b business respondents said ABM had somewhat higher or much higher ROI than other marketing initiatives. Plus, according to Aberdeen, 75% of customers say they prefer personalised offers.

There are loads of benefits of ABM:

  1. When used effectively, there’s a clearer ROI compared to other marketing tactics.

  2. It’s personal and optimised towards specific organisations, meaning your campaigns resonate with your target accounts more relevantly.

  3. Sales and marketing alignment becomes easier than ever, because marketers running the ABM programme operate with a mindset which is very similar to salesfolk.

  4. There’s a reduced resource waste, because it allows marketers to focus their resources more efficiently and run campaigns which are specifically created and optimised for target accounts.

  5. You can measure goals and results in a clearer way, because you’re tracking a smaller set of target accounts instead of a vast set of metrics.

Like Inbound marketing, it’s important to make sure your customers feel like they’re being helped. That’s why it’s crucial that your content provides true value. Emails, websites, and calls-to-actions all need to be personalised and tailored to each target.

So, how do we achieve Account-Based Marketing success?

1. Find your high-value target audience

This is a fundamental piece of successful marketing in any situation. But this isn’t about developing personas, as you might be used to. Remember, ABM is for targeting whole organisations, not individual people.

Finding your target audience for ABM will require a collaborative effort between both marketing and sales teams. You’ll need to find out all the firmographic information and business intelligence you can about the account — like industry, company size, location and annual revenue. Strategic factors like influence in the market, likelihood to purchase repeatedly from you, or potential for higher-than-average profit margins will be incredibly useful as well.

2. Research your accounts

Once you’ve identified the organisation you’re going to be targeting, you need to dig pretty deep into their business structure. Who are the decision makers? Who has the most influence? Being familiar with the critical players will help you figure out how best to convey your product or service to these target accounts.

3. Create your content

Now that you’ve got the names of the key players within your account, it’s time to write new content just for them. This content needs to address clearly the significant challenges the unique target account frequently faces. You need to consider exactly how to resonate with them, even right down to the tone and messaging.

4. Choose your channels

You’ve now got your tailored content, so it’s time to determine the optimal channels of distribution. Communicate with your audience on the channels they use, considering which would be most effective for your target’s specific role or industry. Is it Facebook? LinkedIn? Instagram? Pinterest? Or maybe there’s a more specific, industry-related social source.

5. Run your campaign

You’ll need to apply some extra care when running your campaigns for ABM, because you’ll have a limited number of potential buyers. You don’t, for example, want to send different signals to the same person within a target account, as it’ll ruin that personalised feel. Coordinating your messaging across the various channels is key to making sure your tailored messaging isn’t repetitive or conflicting.

6. And finally, measure your results

Are you growing your list of known individuals within the target account? Have there been any changes with the way these accounts are engaging with your brand and content? How much revenue have you generated from these accounts?

As always, you’ll need to test, measure, and optimise your ABM efforts to make sure they’re effective, especially as this is a relatively new methodology. This also helps you improve results over time, so you can finely tune your ABM formula.