Account-Based Marketing is all the rage. You’ll hear about it in webinars and at marketing conference key notes. Your boss will ask what you’re doing about it. Your peers will look at you expectantly, waiting for you to give them your answer. So, what are you doing about ABM?
First, you have to decide if Account-Based Marketing is right for your business. A resounding 90% of marketers found it important or very important in a recent SiriusDecisions Survey. If you’re one of those marketers who knows ABM is important but who doesn’t have a mature program in place, you’re in good company. Many survey respondents reported not having a program yet or stated their program was less than a year old. When much of the market still seems to be in its infancy, it can be difficult to know where to start.
Types of ABM
The first thing to understand in jump-starting your program is that there are several different types of Account-Based Marketing. While all include speaking to the audience in a targeted manner, the focus on the messaging changes related to the type of segmentation you are doing. In some cases, you’ll target large or named accounts and the relationships and special needs of those specific accounts would drive your message. In other cases, you will drill down by role or industry. So while this allows you to widen the focus a bit, the messaging is still highly relevant to the audience.
So, you’re convinced ABM is right for your company and you’re ready jump-start a program. What’s first? Align with sales on your overall goals and the methods you will employ to get there. Does targeting named accounts make the most sense at the moment, or will you drill down to specific roles or industries to make the most inroads? This is one instance where quality really does beat quantity. Put some time into your list to ensure that you’re approaching the right audience and that you have enough correct contact information for your message to reach them. Once you’ve decided where to start, think about the specific pains of that audience versus your talking points. Relating your solution to an actual problem they are having goes so much further than overall features and benefits.
From custom whitepapers to focused direct mail and digital campaigns, ABM allows you to use almost any marketing tool in your toolkit to further deepen relationships with your identified accounts. Perhaps you chose to create a microsite with content that branches based on role, or a microsite with different versions based on vertical. You could even go a bit more granular and create custom portals for each of your individual accounts. Whichever tactics you choose to employ in your program, make sure they truly resonate with the chosen audience. As ABM becomes more common among marketers, generic content will continue to become less and less effective.
Gone are the days when a solid click-through rate spelled success for your marketing program. Sales operates off of and expects relationships within identified accounts to deepen and broaden through each additional outreach. Find a way to tie your efforts to your audience so you can create a baseline and continue to prove your campaign’s value to refine the account relationship. Many CRMs now allow you to link your audience with the campaigns they’ve seen which provides you with solid numbers to show how your campaigns continue to contribute to conversion.
Wash, Rinse, Repeat
Like anything worth doing, ABM can only show results if it’s applied in a consistent manner. Evaluate, tweak, and refine as needed, but keep going.
At VLG, we’ve been doing ABM since before ABM was cool. Want to see it in action? This campaign branches into four unique environments based on function/role. The client was able to track and measure interest in each and provide appropriate follow-up.