Account Based Marketing or ABM has a simple premise: market to your most valuable prospects with messaging and content personalized for them. Used along with your other inbound strategies like content marketing, ABM can help deliver the information your high-value prospects are looking for when they need it. For B2B marketers, ABM can be especially attractive because of the non-linear nature of a typical B2B buyer’s journey.
"62% of marketers say they can measure a positive impact since adopting ABM” — Hubspot
A successful ABM strategy will require marketing and sales teams to work closely together to identify targets and understand their needs. The insights your sales team can provide will help you develop content and messaging that will connect with prospects and help them convert.
Identify your key targets
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know we talk a lot about creating detailed buyer personas and journey maps as a first step in your marketing strategy. That’s because the time and effort you put into building them will pay off in just about everything you do. When it comes to your ABM strategy, these pieces are absolutely essential.
When we work with clients to develop buyer personas, ideal client profiles, and journey maps for their ABM efforts, the first thing we do is get their sales and marketing leaders in a room and have a conversation. It’s crucial for everyone involved to be aligned on:
- The overall goal of our efforts
- What is the target industry
- Who is involved in the purchase decision
- What are the prospects’ pain points
- How prospects like to receive information
- How our client’s product/service solves their problem or alleviates their pain point
Whenever we can, we also talk to existing customers to get their perspectives on their industry. Our marketing strategists use the information to develop personas that represent the buying team’s key players. Then, we place them in a buyer’s journey and call out what they’re looking for at any given stage, what their role is in the buying process, and note any messaging or content that should be created to help them move from one stage to the next.
Here’s a shortened version of how that info could look using a hypothetical client in the food service manufacturing industry:
- The overall goal of our efforts - Increase sales of new commercial air fryers
- What is the target industry - Fast food restaurants in the Midwest
- Who is involved in the purchase decision - Operations leaders, equipment purchasers, CFOs, regional managers
- What are the prospects’ pain points - Installing new equipment across locations is time-consuming and disruptive
- How prospects like to receive information - Web search, email
- How our client’s product/service solves their problem or alleviates their pain point - Our new air fryers are installed by our service techs at a time that fits your schedule
Develop and share relevant content
With this information, we can develop email campaigns, social posts, case studies, blog posts, or other content just around this one pain point and we can tailor the content’s message to speak to the concerns each persona has around it.
Applied across multiple pain points, you can see how this approach gives a sales team a deep library of content to share with an identified prospect. Bonus: It can also double as content for your content marketing efforts, so people in the information-gathering phase of their buyer’s journey will be served content that speaks to their needs.
"Marketing and sales teams that take an ABM approach together can be up to six percent more likely to exceed their revenue goals than teams less ABM-advanced."
Along with more typical distribution channels, sales reps using the ABM strategy can use tactics like LinkedIn’s InMail to connect with prospects one-on-one, send personal email messages to contacts already on their lists, connect with them at events - whatever best fits your bandwidth and your prospect’s needs - all using the personal messaging and content pieces that have been created.
That’s the beauty of ABM. Sales reps can use it to reach out to individuals that fit their identified targets and be armed with the tools they need to really connect in a meaningful way. And, because you did your homework and created content and messages that are tailored to specific profiles and needs, marketers can run lead gen campaigns that cast a net that’s wider yet still highly targeted and relevant.
Take the time to do it well
We’ve really only scratched the surface of what account-based marketing is and how it can benefit B2B organizations here. But, if you’re anything like us, you’re already thinking of ways you can add ABM strategies to your marketing mix.
Since the research phase is vital to your ABM strategy’s success, make sure to give yourself plenty of time to meet with sales, identify your prospects, and do all the foundational work the effort requires.
The bottom line: when you add an ABM strategy to your overall marketing plan, you’re giving your sales team a powerful tool and your customers a positive experience with your brand.
Our marketing strategists love digging into personas, journey maps, and content creation. Contact CID to put them to work for you.