What a Stat. These are the kind of punchlines that as a marketer, force you to at least review your marketing strategy; they make you err, stutter and possibly change your approach. ABM or ‘Account Based Marketing’ is the idea that you should be marketing to certain prospects like they were your one and only potential customer.
Whilst not revolutionary, as old mass marketing tactics are becoming tired, this approach seems to be picking up speed – particularly in the B2B market where just one closed deal could have massive implications for a company. Gone are the days of casting your fishing net out and hoping for some keepers! These days marketers are grabbing their fishing rods and targeting the big tuna directly.
What exactly is Account Based Marketing and how does it work?
The below graph put together by Sangram Vajre, from his podcast and book #flipthefunnel, explains the approach best. It depicts the standard or traditional marketing funnel on the left; one markets to generate awareness, whilst further marketing efforts push the interested party down the funnel until finally, they purchase or drop out. Budget here is spent arbitrarily throughout with high ‘waste’, making it difficult to attribute to final sale.
On the right, you can see how the new direction originates with identifying a small set of companies or even just one. Following this, you would expand out this company’s profile; on average there are 17 people involved in the decision making process in an SMB, so the aim is to target all of these. You’d then engage with these prospects in a highly targeted and personalised manor. Finally, they’d go out and become advocates for your company raising awareness. Simple, right?
Figure 1 https://flipmyfunnel.com/agile-abm-manifesto-accelerating-abm-success-agile-marketing/
So how do I get in on this lucrative ABM bandwagon?
- Identify your target
Maybe you already have a good grasp of the top 10 or 20 accounts that you want to get into, although it’s important at this stage to be realistic in your approach (especially if you are trying to move to this methodology for the first time). Make sure you are identifying companies that are already a good fit and will have a clear need for you service. This needs collaboration from both sales and marketing with a singular vison on who you are targeting.
- Research your accounts
In 2007 Tony Blair stood up and said the famous words ‘Education Education Education’ as the crux of his Labour campaign. If he were talking about ABM, he would likely have said ‘Research Research Research’. This point cannot be stressed enough; your campaign will either be made or doomed from this point. All of your outreach needs to be personalised and this simply cannot be done without adequate research.
You should be looking to build out who the key decision makers are, who might be able to influence them, any key pain points that they have with their current set up that you could fix and when their budgets are assigned etc. If you don’t have this information at hand you could look at a tool like EngageIQ or alternatively build it out manually looking at Linkedin and Companies House etc. Below is how we might build out a company and what is displayed through the EngageIQ platform – here, you can see the level of detail that we would use to target them through Account Based Marketing.
Now you have identified several contacts at each company it’s necessary to produce specific contact to target these. Without sounding like a broken record, it is important to create content focused on single deals that you would like to be making with each organisation. Whilst time consuming, this effort should pay dividends at the end.
- Let it Run
You have identified your accounts, researched and generated specific content; now is your time to push it out through your chosen channels. Sit back and let the deals come in, eh? Not exactly. Here, you must be careful to ensure that there is a unified approach. As you are targeting multiple people at the same time within a company, you need to ensure continuity of the messaging whilst ensuring you are personalising to each. On average, a B2B customer will need six different interactions before reaching out, so keeping track of the campaign across an organisation will require consideration.
- Track your Results!
One of the reasons you undertook this journey was to glean better insights into how your precious marketing budget could be spent more wisely! 67% of CMOS have trouble proving the ROI of their marketing efforts and you can make sure you aren’t one of them.
Some take key aways…
ABM isn’t exactly the DaVinci Code, but it does require significant time to get it right. Hopefully, this time will be paid back in full with an uplift in revenue off the back of your efforts. Remember, for this to work you need complete sales and marketing alignment: 91% of those with successful ABM programs in place said the were ‘tightly aligned with sales. Lastly, your campaign is going to largely hinge on the depth of your research. If you need a hand with this, then please get in contact and we can show you our AI platform that can alleviate a lot of this hassle.