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Account-Based Marketing Definition and Implementation Guidelines

You may have heard of account-based marketing (ABM), which has recently become popular in some B2B marketing circles. Here are a few stats worth noting:

  • 62% of marketers say they can measure a positive impact since adopting ABM. (Forrester)

  • 80% of marketers say ABM improves customer lifetime values, while 86% say it improves win rates. (TOPO)

  • In 2019, 55% of marketers rated their ABM strategy as “established” compared to just 43% in 2018. (Forrester)

  • In 2019, 40% of the average marketing team was dedicated to ABM. (Engagio)

What Is Account-Based Marketing?

ABM is a targeted marketing strategy where sales and marketing teams collaborate to create personalized campaigns for certain high-value accounts. By concentrating marketing efforts on certain identified accounts, marketing and sales can create a customized buying experience which results in improved ROI.

Is ABM the Right Fit for You?

ABM is B2B marketing strategy for companies targeting enterprise level clients normally with more than 1,000 employees. In such bigger organizations, there are usually multiple stake holders involved in the buying decision, which sales and marketing teams can effectively target to enhance awareness and encourage purchase. For companies that do not fit the criteria, based on your business model and marketing efforts you can determine if ABM is the right fit for you.

With ABM, sales team can get in front of the key stakeholders earlier in the sales cycle can potentially increase the ROI and reduce the time to close a sale. Another benefit of ABM is that, with the correct strategy, tools and identified KPI’s, the whole process can be automated using a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and a Marketing Automation System.

So what does it take to implement Account Based Marketing (ABM)?

ABM can be implemented in a five-step process:

1. Identify your high-value accounts

In ABM, high-value accounts are treated as individual markets so that their buying experience can be customized. Hence, the first step in implementing ABM is finding out which of these are key accounts for your business. For accounts that add to your bottom line, you may want to segment them based on several factors, such as: annual revenue, number of employees, location, industry etc. In this step, it’s important to gather the full team’s feedback and make sure that you’re not working in silo to create this information – in other words, gather as much information as possible from several departments of your organization to narrow down your list.

2. Identify stakeholders and process

Now that you have identified your accounts, dig deeper: Who are the key stakeholders? What is the team structure like? How are buying decisions made? Having a deeper knowledge about the company will help create customized campaigns for a better ROI.

3. Create personalized campaigns

ABM is all about personalization. With the knowledge gained from the previous steps, you should now be ready to create marketing content and collateral targeted toward these accounts. Create content specifically which hits the pain points of the key decision makes and teams at the organization. Work with the sales and design teams to ensure that the content is engaging and conveying the right message to the stakeholders.

4. Targeting the right channels

What good is great content if you cannot get it in front of the audience? At this stage, you need to identify the channels where your stakeholders are spending the most time and where they are consuming the content. Some examples might include utilizing marketing channels such as:

  • SEO & Paid Search: Identify keywords that the stakeholders are most likely to search on the web. Create content specifically targeting these keywords and those specific audiences. If the keywords are competitive and chances to organically rank for them in the short run proves difficult, invest in a paid search campaign.

  • Email: Within your marketing automation create customized drip campaigns and user journeys targeting contacts and key accounts.

  • Social Media: Let assume you are targeting HR professionals at a certain organization and you discover they are active on social media channel (Linkedin, Facebook) and or within groups at these channels. You can create ad campaigns and implement it on those channels.

Here is an example of audience summary targeting HR Professional at Walmart.

5. Implementation & Measurement

Once you created the campaign and identified the channel, it the time to implement. First, make sure you don’t overwhelm your target audience with email messages, ads and remarketing. The goal is to provide them valuable content on a regular basis and keep them moving forward in the buying process.

After your campaigns have been running for a while, make sure to measure the results of those efforts. Example: For email how are the open rates? What is the cost-per acquisition for a lead generation campaign? How many opportunities were created in the CRM from marketing efforts? What has been the return on investment (ROI)?

If the results are on track, great. The next question is: How do you scale it and continue to improve it? If the results are not where you want them to be, no worries. Where can you make adjustments to the campaigns to set it in the right direction? This is the great thing about digital marketing and ABM – that the campaigns are measurable and adjustable instantly.

I hope this article provided you some insight into account-based marketing. If you have any questions about ABM, marketing strategy and execution, feel free to reach out to our team at Bon Digital. We have experts who can help you with the planning and execution of your campaigns.

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