Market With a Mission

Malinda Wilkinson on Jun 27, 2016 in Marketing Strategy

Start Targeting the Right Accounts for your Business

A little over a decade ago companies realized the need for more personalized marketing. Consumers of all types started craving a more personalized buying experience and the ways of marketing had to change so those expectations could be met. Creating a personalized buying experience required marketers to figure out how to take a more strategic approach in defining and going after key accounts. This is where Account Based Marketing (ABM) came into play.

So we understand that this personalized buying strategy has been around for quite some time. In 2004, Information Technology Services Marketing Association (ITSMA) coined the official term we’ve been hearing a lot of, Account Based Marketing. ITSMA defines ABM as “focusing explicitly on individual client accounts … it is a collaborative approach that engages sales, marketing, delivery, and key account executives toward achieving the client’s business goals.”

3 Steps to a Successful ABM Strategy

This year SiriusDecisions released its State of the Account-Based Marketing survey, stating that over 90% of marketers recognize the value in ABM. So the question is, is ABM just the new hype or the next big thing? Although it’s been around for a while, a lot of focus is being put on this trend in today’s marketing efforts. And why wouldn’t it be? By targeting a defined list of accounts, ABM provides several benefits including putting time and effort into accounts that will give you business. Your list of accounts should be companies that you’ve vetted and determined will not only be a good fit for your business, but will also more likely buy from you. If they have no intention of ever becoming a customer of yours (for any number of reasons), why waste your time? A good ABM strategy starts with 3 steps: identify, market, measure.

Identify

Determine your target accounts and build a targeted account list by clearly identifying who can generate true revenue for your business. ABM is all about targeting specific accounts so research and know your target audience, inside and out. Here are a few questions you should be able to answer about your target audience:

  • What’s happening in their industry?
  • Who are their top competitors?
  • What have they done in your space to date?
  • Who will be key people within their company with whom you need to interact?

Market

DemandBase held a summit revealing the results from the SiriusDecisions survey that indicated more than 70% of B2B companies have staff dedicated to driving ABM specific programs. So once you know your target audience like the back of your hand, it’s time to get to work. Build behavior-based campaigns and approach your contacts in a very direct, personalized manner. Your campaigns should include personalized content and other messaging that targets each account’s needs, history, challenges, etc. A seamless experience should happen for your accounts regardless of who they speak to within your business. You must also align sales and marketing and ensure everyone is on the same page. Your ABM action plan needs to be understood across the board.

Measure

Whether you’re in sales, marketing or some other aspect of the business, you already understand there are always going to be successes and failures to any plan. After your ABM plan is up and running, it’s important to get your sales and marketing teams back together and review what worked and what didn’t. Your ABM strategy can only go up from there. Some conversation starters post ABM campaign may include:

  • Major points (strong and weak) that occurred during the process
  • How many accounts did you acquire?
  • What are the shared characteristics of each acquired account?
  • What were you great at?
  • What were you not so great at?
  • How will you improve next time?

As we move deeper into the digital age and continue to uncover the power of personalization, the ABM approach will undoubtedly become increasingly valuable in how marketing and sales teams operate. We’re already hearing that 84% of B2B marketers say that ABM delivers a higher ROI than any other approach (ITSMA).

A Marketing Tool that Fits your Goals

Now that you have an ABM strategy in place, what about the tools needed to help? You may not necessarily need an Account Based Marketing specific tool but rather a marketing solution that assists with your ABM strategy and encompasses your overall marketing goal. As a marketer, proving the value of your efforts can be hard enough so the last thing you want is to be stuck with inadequate technology. Almost half (47%) of companies say they don’t feel their ABM teams have the necessary skills for ABM and their marketing teams need more support to succeed in ABM (SiriusDecisions). The best practice for implementing this strategy is to be open and honest with your vendor and ensure there are ways within your marketing tools to perform tasks that support your ABM goals.

Old News, New Buzz or Something in Between?

Account Based Marketing may not be an old soul, but it’s definitely not the new kid on the block either. It’s a well seasoned strategy that with newer and more innovative technology, is now getting a lot of hype … as it should. There are new ways to target specific accounts and directly reach out to them. With the B2B marketing industry continuously evolving, marketers must get hyper-focused on creating ideal customer profiles and identifying the best-fit customers and prospects for their business. It’s time to invest in sophisticated marketing automation technologies that can enhance your strategy.

Malinda Wilkinson
Malinda Wilkinson
Malinda Wilkinson is the CMO of Salesfusion, the provider of a complete and easy-to-use marketing automation solution that enables marketing teams to deliver effective programs. Appropriate for companies new to marketing technology and those with advanced requirements, Salesfusion is affordably priced and scales to support growing businesses. For more information, please visit www.salesfusion.com.
Showing 2 comments
  • Matt Benati

    Nice summary of ABM history and strategic value. Alignment of sales and marketing provides a better experience for customers and a productivity boost – definitely a nice benefits.

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