If you’re a B2B marketer, it means that your target customer is another business rather than an individual consumer. So, by definition, B2B marketing should be focused on acquiring accounts, rather than individual contacts. Because of this, B2B marketing is linked to Account-Based Marketing (ABM) and Account-Based Selling (ABS) strategies. These terms mean that B2B marketing should be focused on acquiring accounts, rather than individual contacts. To successfully implement and manage ABM and ABS programs, marketers need to focus on their target market and have a clear understanding of their sales goals.
What is Account-Based Marketing?
ABM is a growth strategy where Marketing and Sales work together to create personalized buying experiences for a group of high-value accounts that have been identified by both parties.
We’re going to look at the extra benefits of account-based marketing and some of the things you can do to make it work at your company. But first, let’s review how it relates to another important strategy: inbound marketing.
Account-Based Marketing Framework
An effective account-based marketing framework needs to include the following key components: -A clear target audience -The right mix of marketing and sales activities -Customized messages and offers -Engagement at multiple levels within the target account -Alignment between marketing and sales
The importance of the working relationship between sales and marketing organizations can’t be overstated. To have a comprehensive approach to ABM, and to ensure target accounts receive an engaging buying experience, marketing and sales have to be on the same page.
Sales and marketing organizations need to agree on how to allocate resources for each target account, assign roles and responsibilities to make sure customers have a smooth transition between marketing and sales activities, and figure out how to measure the success of their efforts.
Creating a profile of the ideal customer for the accounts your company wants to target is a key part of answering this question and developing an ABM strategy. It’s also worth noting that both marketing and sales should be involved in these conversations.
As you determine what qualifies a potential account, consider these factors:
- Financials: With your company’s sales goals in mind, consider how much revenue can be generated from an account.
- Scalability: Based on what you know about the potential account’s business performance, is there potential to grow the account in the future? Consider additional offerings your company could provide to retain and grow the account.
- Competitive Landscape: Who are your competitors selling to? Understanding who is currently in the market for products and offerings like yours can help you identify future account opportunities.
When marketing and sales are in agreement about the approach and which accounts to target, it is time to develop a go-to-market plan.
Before you launch a new product, it’s important to understand how your potential customers will move through the sales process. An ABM approach can help you identify areas of friction that need to be addressed or areas of poor communication that can be improved.
Additionally, because a personalized experience is so important in account-based marketing, your team will want to be on the lookout for additional ways to add value and deliver a premium experience to your chosen accounts.
Account-Based Marketing and Inbound Marketing
Batman and Robin is a strong partnership. LeBron and D-Wade is a strong partnership. Peanut butter and jelly is a strong partnership. These partnerships are forces to be reckoned with.
Pairing account-based marketing with inbound marketing can have some great benefits for your business.
How does this partnership work?
As you learned, ABM is a highly-targeted strategy.
While inbound marketing is more basic, this way of growing your customer base lets you bring in potential customers by providing them with useful content, utilizing SEO techniques, and offering a great experience overall.
Inbound marketing allows you to provide your audience with information more organically, rather than interrupting them as you would with outbound marketing.
Inbound lays the foundation for a strong ABM strategy by allowing for highly-targeted and efficient resource allocation of high-value accounts. Here are a few more reasons to implement both ABM and inbound marketing strategies at your company:
When using inbound marketing in combination with account-based marketing, you are able to more effectively target potential customers and provide them with a positive experience that will make them want to continue doing business with you.
ABM builds on inbound marketing by allowing for targeted and efficient resource allocation to high-value accounts.
When you use a combination of methods, you will reach a wider range of potential customers than if you just used one method.
Your content can have two different values depending on how you use it. For example, you could create a personalized case study for a target account that could also be shared on your website as part of an inbound strategy.
There are software programs that make it easy to implement both an inbound marketing strategy and an account-based marketing strategy at the same time.
What is Account-Based Selling?
ABS involves targeting your most valuable accounts and pursuing them with a personalized, one-to-one approach that links your company’s value proposition to the customer’s needs.
The illustration above shows that the most valuable accounts are in the center of the concentric circles of the TAM.
The Principles of Successful Account-Based Campaigns
We have determined that there are four principles that predict a successful outcome for an account-based campaign.
Know your Audience
Make sure your sales team is only talking to people who work at companies that fit your ideal client profile. These are the companies that have the potential to make the most money or are most likely to close, and the employees who are most likely to be involved in a buying decision.
In an enterprise sale, the buying decision is largely based on trust. Whether you’re trying to sell to a new customer or maintain a good relationship with an existing one, it’s important to share relevant information early on in the sales process. This will help build trust with new prospects and maintain trust with existing customers.
Nurture Past, Present & Future Clients
Developing a systematic outreach plan for all clients is the best way to educate buyers, keep your offering top of mind, expand revenue, and create fans who will return to your company or refer you to others.
Manage your Data
Looking at both quantitative metrics and qualitative information will help identify any trends, which can then be used to confirm that what you’re doing is working or that you need to make some changes. Programs that are most successful are those that are able to adapt to the changing demands of the market.
How Does it Work to Do ABM and ABS Together?
If you want the best possible outcome, you should use Account Based Marketing and Account Based Selling programs in unison. This is because having your teams work together will help ensure that the strategy is carried out effectively and efficiently. Also, everyone will be clear about who is responsible for which accounts, leads, and why.
A key component of your account-based marketing strategy is generating awareness among your target audience. This will help make your sales efforts more effective.
Successful marketing tactics include:
- Creating incredible content that resonates with your target audience at each stage of their buying journey (such as blog posts, thought leadership, and educational ebooks and case studies)
- Creating promotional ads that feature your content and provide a positive association with the brand or product offering
Successful sales tactics include:
- Building contact lists that are verified and meet the criteria of the TAM
- Outbound, personalized email campaigns to generate interest
- Outbound, personalized sales call to engage, collect intel on needs and interests, and book appointments with prequalified prospects
- Cross-referencing other intent signals in the marketplace to identify the hottest prospects more likely to buy
An effective, integrated campaign ensures that leads are successfully handed off from marketing to sales, and that meetings with the best prospects are secured for your sales team at a high velocity.
What Tools Do You Need for ABM and ABS?
The good news is that you don’t have to invest in a lot of expensive tools to execute ABM and ABS strategies — despite what many platform companies may make you think. There are, however, a few necessary components that we find critical:
LinkedIn is a social media platform that can be beneficial for targeting accounts, especially for B2B companies, according to the 2021 Not Another State of Marketing Report. Over 70% of marketers said their company uses social media to target accounts.
LinkedIn’s Company Targeting feature allows you to use LinkedIn’s directory of over 13 million company pages for your account-based marketing efforts. With this tool, you can upload a list of companies you’d like to reach and create ad campaigns that can specifically target individuals at these companies.
Additionally, LinkedIn can help you create a more personalized experience for your target accounts by connecting with key decision-makers within those organizations.
If you want to find and engage with decision makers at companies you’d like to work with, using LinkedIn may be a better option than using data from a third party.
LinkedIn is a great platform for targeted ads because you can target people based on their company associations and the demographic details of their companies. LinkedIn Sales Navigator can be helpful for your sales team to research and track their assigned accounts, and to find personalized information for more effective one-to-one communication.
A database that gives you information about the people who make decisions and have the money to spend within your market, as well as their contact information, is very important to being successful. If you use an agency, they may already do research to find this information for you, but make sure you know who will have access to the information when it is all done. Some companies may only give you the contact information for the people they are able to set a meeting with, rather than everyone they identify in your market.
Email Marketing Automation Platform
If you want to be successful in email marketing, you need to understand who within your target audience is engaging with your content and showing interest. We recommend using HubSpot because it’s easy to use, quick to implement, and integrates with HubSpot CRM or Salesforce CRM.
In order to carry out an Account Based campaign strategy, you need a customer relationship management platform (CRM) to keep track of your progress. Our clients usually use Salesforce or HubSpot CRM, but there are other options like ZOHO CRM or Microsoft Dynamics. If you’re just starting out with company or product marketing, you might not have a CRM yet. In that case, there are companies like MarketLauncher and Beacon Digital that can help you set up a CRM and make sure it’s effective for an Account Based campaign.
More Account-Based Marketing Tools
As you’re moving target accounts through the sales process, automation can help streamline your ABM efforts.
ABM automation allows your business to target key customers with a customized approach to seamlessly move them through the sales process. When looking for account-based marketing software, you’ll want to make sure your platform has the following functionalities:
- Identification: The ability to accurately identify potential customers and accounts.
- Engagement: Cross-platform functionality to help your company keep the conversation with potential customers going.
- Analytics: You’ll need access to relevant data to understand how well your approach is performing.
A product like RollWorks offer a few key features, such as being an all-in-one account-based platform that integrates seamlessly with your CRM.
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