Lead generation, Sales x Min read

Build an effective account-based marketing (ABM) strategy in 5 steps

Summary

Do you have a list of companies you wish to do business with? Make it happen by using account-based marketing. Discover how to set up this strategy in five steps.

As marketers, we’ve all been guilty of sending mass marketing messages to prospects and customers. And yet, we know that the more personalised and targeted our campaigns are, the better they perform.

One way to be more targeted is to adopt an account-based marketing (ABM) strategy. An approach that generates revenue by targeting a carefully vetted list of target accounts rather than waiting for leads to come to you.

So let’s talk about how you can create your very own strategy.

What is ABM?

Before jumping straight into strategy, let’s quickly review what ABM actually entails. Account-based marketing turns the sales funnel upside down.

So instead of creating a strategy for a broad demographic and moving interested parties through each step of your sales pipeline, ABM is about creating content and campaigns that only speak to specific accounts which you are targeting.

If you’d like to know more about this, the benefits of ABM and when to use such a strategy, check out our blog which covers all the basics of account-based marketing.

So how can you set this up in-house?

Step 1: Align sales and marketing

You’ve probably heard this phrase many times before. However, sales and marketing must work together to deliver a coordinated approach for your ABM efforts to succeed. Teams that do generate higher revenue, improve their brand’s awareness and increase average deal size.

Marketers know how to get people’s attention, create quality content, and push it across various channels. Sales has a deep understanding of your ideal customer and the type of content needed to facilitate positive conversations with prospects. Work in unison to create sophisticated and personalised campaigns across multiple channels.

Step 2: Identify target accounts

An essential question to ask yourself at the start of your ABM strategy is: whom do you want to work with? Your sales team can provide names of accounts worth pursuing. However, not every company worth targeting will be on their radar.

If you want to broaden your scope, create an “ideal company profile” which describes an organisation that’s a perfect fit for your solution. By looking at your website visitors, your current customer base, and companies on your target wishlist, it’s possible to identify commonalities such as:

  • Industry of operation
  • Organisation type
  • Organisation size
  • Annual revenue
  • Location
  • Project volume

This information shapes your ideal company profile and translates into a checklist which you can repeatedly use to identify new accounts.

From there, a bit of research using Google or LinkedIn allows you to identify individual key decision-makers within your targeted accounts.

Step 3: Pick relevant channels

Armed with a list of target companies, it’s time to understand where key decision-makers spend their time online. And their state of mind when they’re browsing through platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

For example, suppose you’re targeting someone within a design organisation. Your initial research may show that these individuals spend a lot of time on Pinterest. However, if you’re targeting executives who work in the financial sector, Google Display ads on Harvard Business Review or Bloomberg will be more successful.

Don’t limit yourself to one channel per target account. Set yourself up for success by taking a multichannel approach to remain top of mind. Because executives reading Bloomberg are most likely also active on social platforms like LinkedIn. In fact, LinkedIn is a powerful platform to target stakeholders because you can reach out to them directly and run campaigns to appeal to specific organisations and job titles within organisations.

Step 4: Create personalised content

Once you know whom to reach out to and how you’ll do so, it’s time to start writing content for them. Your content, which includes anything from a whitepaper to a LinkedIn post, needs to speak directly to these organisations pain points and illustrate how you can solve their current challenge.

A big challenge when putting together content is covering the multiple personas involved in the buying process. Putting together content that matches multiple unique personalities is a cumbersome task and can weigh down your team. So begin by narrowing your focus onto the most important stakeholders and personas. As you develop your ABM strategy, you can create more assets that speak to more key decision-makers.

Step 5: Measure success

With the above in place, you’re ready to launch your campaign! Once it’s been running for more than 30 days, time to evaluate the effectiveness of your account-based marketing efforts. Here are a few metrics you can analyse:

  • Site visits from target accounts.
  • Content engagement rate.
  • The number of marketing qualified accounts.
  • Sales cycle length.
  • Return on investment.
  • Deal closed rate.
  • Average deal size.

A lead generation software can help measure your success by displaying if target companies have visited your website, time spent browsing, which pages they visited and their source. And if initial results aren’t promising, don’t be discouraged. The above metrics show you exactly where you need to evolve and improve.

Five steps to success

Hit your targets by making ABM work for you. Connect and charm high-value companies by creating content that speaks to their current challenge. Ensure it also illustrates how you can help them and is broadcasted across the proper channels for decision-makers to see. With this in place, ABM has the potential to land you incredible results.

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