What is Account-Based Marketing, or ABM?
Account-based marketing is an approach to B2B marketing that focuses on targeting specific accounts and works to convert them into customers. Your target accounts may be selected for a number of reasons: they could be high-value accounts, or maybe you’re looking to achieve penetration in a given industry vertical, or maybe there are key logos you want to win.
However you decide on your target list, an ABM approach can generate better outcomes than blasting out your messages to prospects. You need to focus on specific targets and engage in an active dialogue to be successful. By treating each prospect as a unique candidate, you can tailor your messaging to their specific needs and build an enduring relationship with them.
According to ITSMA, 87% of B2B marketers said that ABM provides the highest ROI out of all marketing techniques. Sounds great! But how do you get started?
Personalization Is Critical
Your campaign success is entirely dependent on personalizing your efforts for your specific buyer. It isn’t enough to have an ideal customer profile (ICP) – you need to be thinking more granularly. Focus on their specific customer journey and engage them with content that’s relevant to their unique goals and pain points:
- Messaging must be hyper-personalized to contacts at a specific account
- Focus on their specific pain points
- Provide value and make sure they can take action
- Deliver a consistent experience across their customer journey
With that in mind, here are our recommended ABM tactics to implement for successful campaigns.
Six Successful ABM Tactics
Micro-target as much as possible
Have an existing ABM account list? Split it up into very small groups, then work to identify the pain points of your specific audiences. This micro-segmentation approach ensures you’re correctly identifying the right benefits for the right audiences and that you’re delivering the most impactful message to each audience segment. For example, if your audience is just starting to identify their problem, your messaging should be different from what you’d send to an audience that’s deep in the consideration phase of their buying journey.
Create dedicated content for specific verticals
Ensure your messaging is tightly aligned from ad to landing page to any follow-up conversations. Do you already have personalized landing pages on your website for your target verticals? If not, this is a great technique to help personalize offerings to each audience. Think about which case studies would be most impactful to each audience and make sure they’re included on the page. If you’re using a chat tool like HubSpot’s Chatflows, you can also trigger different conversation flows based on which page they’re viewing. This is a great way to pull in prospects since you’re starting with a focused offering right off the bat. This messaging consistency is key to improving your conversions.
Leverage VIP events
Whether in-person or remote, VIP events are a great ABM technique to engage your prospects with an exclusive gathering. To make your event successful for both you and your invitees, make sure there’s room for guests to have unconstrained conversations. This works naturally for in-person meetings, but if you’re using a tool like Zoom to host a virtual event, make sure your guests can use breakout rooms to connect with others who share their same goals. And don’t record the event. Seriously. This ensures guests feel they can talk openly in a trusted environment and adds an incentive for them to actually attend and not just watch the recording later!
Don’t limit your prospecting to the C-suite
When you’re identifying the folks in your target accounts, don’t neglect the company’s lower-level employees. They may not be the decision maker now, but they often influence the purchase. And given the long purchase cycles of some B2B solutions, they could be a manager when the deal finally goes through!
Remember also that gatekeepers can be extremely valuable during long sales cycles. C-suite execs are unlikely to be the ones scheduling and following up on meetings, so valuing these gatekeepers and making sure they understand the problem your product solves can go a long way in creating urgency and pipeline velocity. Courting these folks early is a great way to build rapport with the larger team and build your brand awareness.
Make your BDR appear everywhere
This is critical, especially in the early stages of your process. All communication between your prospects and your company should be routed through a dedicated business development rep (BDR). There are likely to be several folks all working on your marketing team to engage with your prospects, but having a unified front and single point of contact will make your prospect’s life easier. A unified front will make their interactions more personalized and provide a single point of contact at your company. So make sure any chat threads, emails, direct mail pieces, etc., all appear to come from one individual.
Don’t forget to follow up!
Didn’t your mom tell you to always send a thank you note? It’s just as important here. A personalized follow-up note sent after a meeting is a great way to stay top-of-mind and leave a lasting impression. But don’t send a generic note. Show them that you were listening to what they said by having the note address it. Ah, but there’s a twist. Use your follow-up note to help push them along the buying process and encourage them to take the next step. If you have an upcoming webinar or similar event, make sure to incorporate that into your follow-up message.
Developing an effective ABM strategy will be a worthwhile challenge. Remember that tactics for one company might not work for others, so you’ll have to experiment a bit to see what works where. Start with these approaches, tune and adjust as needed. And if you put your buyers first by addressing their needs and pain points, you’ll be in great shape.
If you need additional advice on setting up your ABM campaigns, we’d love to help! Get in touch with VSSL today.