4 things to consider before starting Account Based Marketing
In today’s increasingly competitive and disrupted market, more and more businesses are turning to one of the most successful B2B marketing strategies: Account-Based Marketing (ABM).
ABM is a collaborative growth strategy that gets marketing and sales teams working together to deliver tailored buying experiences to a list of high-value accounts.
ABM is the perfect way to flip the funnel: instead of relying on traditional marketing funnel techniques that bring in high volumes of semi-qualified leads, ABM allows sales and marketing to focus on activities that satisfy customers and achieve profitability for your business.
In a marketing-oriented business, building long-term relationships and loyal customers is key – and an ABM programme supported by a marketer’s social selling skills does just that. ABM is not just an approach but a mindset: it challenges key functions in your organization to shift their thinking from seeing buyers as untethered individuals to individuals part of a bigger organization with whom you can not just close the deal but form a meaningful and lasting business union.
We’re not the only ones that swear by ABM, according to research:
Companies using an ABM approach generate 208% more revenue.
Over 87% of account-based marketers say ABM initiatives outperform other marketing activities.
ABM can bring great value to your business, but when is the right time to start an ABM campaign and how do you prepare for one?
With shrinking marketing and sales budgets, it’s crucial that your business sets the right foundations in place before launching your first ABM campaign. So, we’ve put together this checklist of everything you should consider before kickstarting your ABM journey.
1) Examine your pool of prospects to identify high-value accounts you will target with your ABM programme
Your sales reps may know instantly who your biggest accounts are, but ABM is about more than just catching the biggest fish; it’s about thinking critically about your existing accounts, evaluating how working with them will impact your and their business, and committing to a defined list of companies you definitely want to work with now and in the long-term.
Sales teams know how to get the products and services over the line, but do they have the analytics, data, and client-shared insight that will help the organization see value in accounts that may have otherwise been overlooked? That’s where marketing teams can help.
This isn’t Battleship where sales and marketing sit on opposite sides of the board and guess which accounts fit the bill or worse, try to sink each others’ efforts by not sharing insights.
To implement a truly successful ABM model, sales and marketing teams need to understand organizational objectives and be in complete alignment about who their top-priority customers are so that both feel ready to commit to the project and get them over the finish line. This way, your customers feel heard and you can deliver what they need, when they need it, and in a way that fits their organization.
It’s important to remember that enterprise organizations have a clear vision in mind—like digital transformation, innovation, expansion into new markets, etc—and strategic objectives outlining how they plan to achieve that ambition. As a vendor or service provider, if you target accounts likely to generate revenue but are not aligned with their strategy, you’re unlikely to make progress.
In B2B, your product or service should support your target organization’s strategic approach and present their customers with an offer impossible to refuse.
2) Get buy-in from senior decision-makers
The best way to start your ABM programme — and ensure that sales and marketing are in harmony — is to get your leadership team backing the cause and happy to give the green light to get things moving.
The C-suite expects marketers to win: win more of the market share, more sales, more conversions and nurture sales-ready prospects down the funnel.
When putting a proposition forward to leaders, ensure that you focus on the top-line: the growth of the organization and showcasing how a successful ABM campaign will profit the business.
3) Make sure that your teams have the time and resources needed to commit to the programme
Once senior decision-makers in your organization are on board, it’s time to secure buy-in from every member of the sales and marketing teams.
An ABM campaign really flourishes when teams work together collaboratively to create highly-tailored messages that are based on insights and will resonate with the target audience – so effective leadership and support are key.
To lead an effective ABM campaign, you need to be the leader that has a structured gameplan in place that will keep teams focused, motivated, and excited, and the leader that understands core buyer personas, considers market trends, and monitors analytics, ready to report on findings and reframe the campaign for the best chance of success.
To get started, we recommend positioning the ABM programme as a priority: teams need to feel as though the project is important and to know that they will be supported to completion, with minimal disruption. So make sure to create a stream of open communication and transparency around the amount of time and effort the project requires.
It’s also important to have regular meetings between teams to communicate KPIs and performance clearly. This helps everyone stay on track and maintains synergy between teams.
Finally, allocate a realistic budget for the programme: focus on achievable activities in your strategic plan and budget them as you go, and keep your team supported with all the necessary tools and resources as the campaign progresses.
4) Plan ahead: set out clear steps in your nurture journey post lead capture
Implementing an effective nurture journey can impact customer retention and loyalty, revenue and more. The process of nurturing is all about delighting the customer: offer entertaining and actually helpful information and support them in any way they need.
It’s not enough to capture a lead and immediately pellet them with hard-sell offers; you need to warm them up, showing them that you’re a reputable and trustworthy business that deserves their investment. The nurture journey is make or break because it is these tactics that impact a customer’s decision about whether they convert into a paying customer and more importantly, become a regular, loyal customer in the future.
Don’t wait until you’ve captured leads to decide what to do with them: whether it be an automated email journey, a messenger campaign on LinkedIn, or a paid advertising campaign, map out a step by step plan of action for each audience segment, ready to deploy when needed.