As consumers, many of the marketing messages we see and hear are tailored to our tastes and needs. Lately, more and more B2B companies are following that approach, customizing their marketing to target specific segments of prospects they want to convert into customers.
This is called Account-based Marketing (ABM) and it centers around creating highly-personalized campaigns featuring content and events that speak directly to specific clients or potential clients.
Per research by HubSpot, 67% of brands leverage account-based marketing. According to another research by TOPO, 57% of marketers say that their organizations have implemented ABM for more than one year.
The results: Many companies find that they enjoy a higher ROI on ABM marketing. Per a Forrester report, marketing and sales teams that leverage an ABM approach together are 6% more likely to exceed their revenue-based goals when compared to teams that are less AMB-savvy. Here’s how your company can kick off a B2B ABM campaign, and how to measure the results once the campaign is complete.
Align Your Sales and Marketing Teams
The first step in kicking off a B2B ABM campaign is to make sure your sales and marketing teams are working together to identify segments and individual targets as well as tailor messaging specific to those targets’ interests and needs. This alignment will benefit your organization overall; in organizations where the sales and marketing teams work in concert, the chance of closing marketing-generated leads is significantly higher.
Understand the Need for Quality Data
Are you wondering what data has to do with ABM? Well, you’ll need data at every step of your ABM program. If your data is incomplete, unorganized, or unreliable, you will not have the right information you need to ensure the success of your ABM initiatives.
Therefore, you need to perform thorough research and identify ideal customer profiles to derive maximum value from your ABM efforts.
Research and Identify Targets
Next, you need to identify the high-value accounts you’d like to prioritize for the campaign. Good targets include companies that have the potential to generate large amounts of revenue for your business — ones that are likely to make repeat purchases or offer a higher-than-average profit margin. Make sure you familiarize yourself with the structure of each company and the responsibilities of each position to ensure you select the right contacts for your campaigns.
Ensure you cover all critical data points, such as:
- Organization size
- Average purchase size
- Technologies used by the organization
Ideally, use a business intelligence tool (e.g., UpLead.com or Hoovers.com) in conjunction with industry-specific directories to research and identify targets. At a minimum, start with LinkedIn Premium. You can also make the most of social intelligence tools (e.g., Hootsuite and Mention) to identify what matters the most to your prospects. Social data is invaluable to ABM teams.
Use Prospect-Specific Offers
The two most critical aspects of ABM are personalization and relevance. Since ABM programs target a limited number of accounts, you need to use campaigns and offers that deliver higher conversion rates. Most prospects feel compelled to open offers created specifically for them.
Develop and Execute Your B2B ABM Content
With information about your targets, their pain points, and how you can offer relief and provide value firmly in hand, it’s time to create and deploy your content. This might come in the form of blog posts, events, mailed messages, and more. Here are examples of ideas that a B2B company might use for an ABM marketing campaign:
An excellent B2B ABM method of building stronger relationships with specific segments of your current client base (or to develop a deeper connection with certain prospects) is inviting them to live events. This might include in-person events such as workshops and VIP dinners or online events such as webinars. These activities offer valuable opportunities to educate and interact with key decision-makers for accounts you’d like to maximize or move forward with.
When you cast a wide net with traditional marketing, part of that strategy is large-volume, automated email campaigns. B2B ABM email marketing involves targeting the most relevant segments of your audience with highly tailored email marketing campaigns that deliver real value to the recipients. By offering valuable information, you’ll boost engagement with the targeted segment in order to achieve your desired results.
Paid Social Media Ads
Paid advertising on social media is an excellent way to put your message in front of the individuals who can help develop or drive an account forward. Facebook and LinkedIn allow you to carefully customize your ads to target specific types of buyers, ensuring that you only reach the people who will find your message relevant and meaningful.
Website personalization enables you to design unique experiences for visitors to your company’s website. This might include displaying specific promotions or information about new services or products, or videos that relate to the visitor’s specific goals and interests. No matter what kind of personalized content you offer, keep in mind your goal is to create compelling website experiences designed to drive specific actions.
Don’t discount direct mail as a B2B ABM marketing strategy for putting the right content in front of your targeted audience. With snail mail increasingly falling by the wayside in favor of digital communication, direct mail — including campaigns featuring relevant branded merchandise — is an excellent way to stand out from your competitors.
Prepare to Track and Measure the Results
Before you kick off your B2B ABM strategy, spell out specific goals and objectives you’d like to achieve. Assign a fixed cost to each piece of your campaign in order to accurately calculate the final ROI.
Next, identify meaningful metrics such as engagement levels, impressions, and conversions. At the end of your ABM campaign, you should be able to identify the accounts that are most responsive to this kind of marketing.
Keep in mind that a customer often needs to engage with a brand 7 to 13 times for the engagement to turn into a sale, so make sure your expectations are realistic. If necessary, make adjustments along the way. And as you monitor results, know this: In-house marketers who are able to measure the results of their efforts have seen an average sales boost of 19 percent.
Automate Your B2B ABM Campaign
Manual efforts can take a toll on your ability to scale your AMB programs. This is where B2B marketing automation can help by playing an important role in driving the success of your ABM initiatives. With marketing automation, you can target prospects based on their actions and interests. Not only this but by automating each step of your ABM campaign you'll save time and ensure that it stays on track.
For B2B companies and their clients, ABM can offer an effective and refreshing change from traditional blanket marketing strategies. Like any new marketing activity, however, a B2B ABM strategy may take a bit of trial and error to master so be patient.
Want to know more about Account-Based Marketing? Read our blog post: Should Your Company be Using Account-Based Marketing?
Need help with your B2B ABM strategy? Contact us today!
This post was originally published in January 2020 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.