B2B sales cycles tend to be much longer and complex than B2C cycles. Pushing leads down your funnel and converting them into buying customers is difficult and takes time and company resources. There are ways to make the process less painful!
What is Account-Based Marketing?
A consistent trend in effective B2B marketing has been to target ever-more-specific audiences. Companies create entire customer profiles to tailor appropriate messaging and content to their needs and wants.
Account-based marketing (ABM) is a variation on this theme. ABM addresses a common difficulty for B2B companies: that there are multiple stakeholders in the decision-making process. Your marketing campaign is designed to engage multiple decision-makers and influencers at each account, rather than a specific target customer at those accounts.
ABM doesn’t fit neatly into the Inbound vs. Outbound framework. It’s sort of at a 90-degree angle to that construct. Successful ABM campaigns utilize techniques from both inbound and outbound marketing.
ABM encourages upselling and cross selling, helping you generate the most value from the larger accounts you target. Done well, it will also shorten your sales cycle.
Getting Started With ABM
You begin by concentrating on a set of target accounts within a market. We’d like to think that using Klarity is the easiest way to do this!
Simply enter the name of your best customer into our search box. We scour our database of millions of companies, looking for businesses that are most similar to your best customer, across a whole range of criteria.
You can browse for specific contacts at each of the companies we return, and bookmark those contacts that look particularly interesting.
From there, you can download those contacts for a cold calling or email campaign, or reach out to them on LinkedIn. We can even help you build cold email sequences or run paid advertising campaigns to those contacts — just email [email protected] for more details.
Interested in incorporating ABM into your marketing strategy? Here are a set of best practices to help you maximize its value:
Implementing an ABM Program
Identify and define your target high-value accounts:
It’s helpful to examine firmographic data to select and rank your accounts. Some factors to keep in mind include revenue potential, market influence, retention, and potential for growth in profit margins.
Identify key decision makers and outline account structure:
It’s important to understand how your accounts work. Look at how decisions are made, who does the decision ultimately trickle down to, and who are key influencers within that account.
Focus marketing efforts on engaging key influencers:
The most successful ABM initiatives keep these individuals in mind when developing their messaging and content. Clearly state how your company meets your target accounts needs and the pain points of the key decision makers. This will make these individuals more inclined to hear you.
Select optimal communication channels:
Once your target account has been established take note of the channels they frequent. Look at email, web, and social media for example and consider which ones will be more effective.
Coordinate marketing campaigns:
After selecting which channels you’ll use to disseminate your message make sure your team is on board. Your marketing and sales teams should be on the same page when it comes to your marketing campaign to maximize efficacy.
Test, Test, Test:
Testing your ABM initiative is vital to success. Without it your work could be a waste of resources. Track items like your ROI and analyze your results at an individual account level as well as aggregate data.
Taking ABM to the Next Level: Custom Offers and Invite-Only Events
Once you’ve constructed the framework for your ABM campaign, consider the hook or hooks you might use to capture your prospects’ interest or to move them closer to a buying decision. Here are two common methods that our customers have seen success with:
Offering an additional benefit to your desired accounts or customers is a great way to draw their attention. By offering extra capabilities or expertise you signal to your prospects that their business is important to your company.
When designing these offers, keep your audience in mind. What have they shown interest for in the past? What will enable them to have the most success with your product or service? What is a product or service “lever” that you can pull which involves very little hard cost to you?
Your offer can be as simple as offering a trial of exclusive features, free or discounted onboarding, discounted feature bundles, or high-usage discounts.
Hosting events broadly has been used as a technique to establish personal relationships with prospects. This humanizes your brand and builds communication with your target prospect that will allow you to understand their motivations better as well.
Creating these more exclusive events for high-level prospects creates an atmosphere of importance. Your prospects may feel even special to have received an invitation only offered to the upper echelon of your market.
Whether it’s a simple lunch-in (or lunch-out), a hosted networking event, or a full on user/customer conference with expert speakers and panel discussions, the focus of the event should be on nurturing prospects and identifying potential brand ambassadors inside each account.
Account-based marketing can be a complicated process and can feel overwhelming. If you’re looking to take your ABM knowledge to the next level, check out Hubspot’s more comprehensive guide that goes in depth on exactly how to implement ABM and the process behind it.