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Account-Based Marketing

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What Is Account-Based Marketing?

Account-Based Marketing, or ABM, is a marketing strategy which involves treating every account or prospect as a unique market, and heavily personalizing the content and messaging they receive. ABM is often used when the majority of a company’s revenue comes from closing a small number of high-value accounts.

The process for account based marketing is simple:

  1. Identify Marketing Qualified Leads
  2. Build trust with these contacts through content
  3. Establish relationships that lead to brand advocacy

Why Should You Use ABM?

ABM serves as an inversion of the typical sales funnel, and is often used in scenarios where waiting for potential customers comes with significant opportunity cost. Instead of trying to create general brand awareness and draw people into the sales process with Top of Funnel Content, select accounts or prospects are directly targeted with content specific to their needs.

As opposed to finding out a potential customer’s pain points through an exploratory process, AMB requires that you go on the offensive and perform substantial research about what issues their organization may be facing. Having a thorough understanding of their key problems before you start trying to get their attention demonstrates that you value their time, and better positions you for success.

Due to the specific context in which it is effective, ABM is not a general marketing strategy. Companies engaging in ABM don’t create more general content, thus avoiding leads that are unlikely to convert, but they sacrifice greater awareness.

While ABM focuses on being proactive, don’t mistake it for being aggressive. As with a typical sales funnel, the real value of the process is in building relationships with your prospects.

How To Implement Account-Based Marketing

While there might be variation amongst different companies, an ABM campaign generally follows these 4 steps:

1. Figure out which market you’d like to target

Your sales team provides an invaluable resource in this stage, as they can qualify companies for product need. Additionally, they may have previously spoken to employees of these companies and learned who has decision-making power. If there is no previous relationship, LinkedIn allows you to identify key personnel and start to learn more about them.

2. Perform research to plan and ideate your content

As organizations generally don’t divulge any problems they’re facing in public, you’ll have to get a bit crafty to figure out what those pain points are. Consider keeping an eye on the social media accounts of the personnel you identified to see what type of material they share, and use this information to make your content more appealing to them.

3. Create something that gets attention

An increasingly popular tactic in ABM is to completely negate the chance to get lost in a sea of emails by sending direct mail. B2B software Bizible spent $750 putting together 37 mailers and was able to directly attribute over $30,000 of business.

While there is opportunity to do something fun, remember that messaging across all of your channels needs to remain consistent and focused. A potential customer being served messaging that isn’t aligned with their needs is too much of a risk.

4. Track your results and conversions

If social media targeting is how you distributed your messaging, how effective was it across channels? How much traffic did your ABM efforts generate for your website? Have you implemented ways to track the success of non-digital communication, like direct mail or phone calls? All marketing is iterative, and learning what worked and what didn’t for a specific campaign can help you better plan your next one.

Despite not being efficient in every scenario, ABM can result in big wins in highly-competitive situations. Trying a new strategy is always a risk, but taking risks are the only way business practices and companies can evolve and adapt.

Remember the old proverb: “nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

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