Account-based marketing (ABM) can deliver exciting results for businesses, but to get the best out of it you need to be sure you're following the right steps to implement and manage your strategy and measure your results.
It's crucial to research and plan the various stages of your ABM program in advance, so you're well prepared to seize any opportunities that arise and also overcome any challenges.
Here are the key steps that can lead you to ultimate success with this form of marketing:
1. Find suitable accounts
ABM only works if you're using it with the right accounts. Get the process underway by identifying targets that are well-suited to this approach and offer the highest chances of strong ROI.
Since ABM is most beneficial in the B2B space, one of the first steps you'll want to take when you're working to identify relevant targets is analyzing firmographic data. This encompasses attributes like:
- Company size
- Annual revenue
- Technologies used
As well as specifying the firmographic characteristics that define your target accounts, you should consider other profile aspects such as their customer journey, product interests and the pain points you can help them address.
It's vital that sales and marketing work together on this process, since data from both departments will be needed to build detailed, accurate pictures of the accounts best-suited to ABM.
2. Refine your understanding of target accounts
Once you have a clear picture of the ideal targets for ABM, you can start to look at particular leads and customers to improve your understanding of what makes them unique and how you can help them.
It's always useful to be familiar with certain features of your ABM targets, such as the structure of their organization and who has responsibility for making buying decisions.
You might already have some of this information available in your CRM, but make sure your data is accurate and up-to-date before acting on it.
If you want to find out more about a lead or customer, there are various ways to go about it, one of the easiest of which is doing a bit of research on LinkedIn.
3. Plan and create content
Armed with a detailed picture of your ABM targets and their various attributes, challenges and ambitions, you can begin the process of planning the marketing content that’s most likely to connect and resonate with them.
One of the most important ingredients for success in this area of marketing is personalization. Therefore, it's vital that all your content is carefully researched and tailored to have maximum relevance for your customers.
Everything you create should have a clear and definable reason for existing, in the context of why it's of interest or helpful to your ABM targets, and how it supports their customer journey.
4. Channel selection
Once you've planned and created your content, you need to think carefully about the channels where you’ll distribute and promote it.
This is an essential part of the planning phase for your ABM program, since you can't hope to get the best results from your content and maximize engagement with leads and customers if you're using the wrong channels.
The central consideration at this stage of the process is which channels offer the best chance of connection with your target audience and make the most sense for your brand.
Once again, there‘ll be some research and data gathering required to boost your knowledge of your customers' favored channels and where they spend the most time online.
5. Launch your campaign
Only once you've identified and researched your target accounts, built a content pipeline and come up with a channel strategy can you commit to a full launch of your ABM campaign.
This is where you put all your research, knowledge gathering and planning into practice. However thoroughly you've prepared, there’s still a lot to bear in mind at this stage, such as the timing and coordination of your messaging.
It's imperative that your content distribution is devised to have maximum impact on potential buyers at the times they’re most engaged. You should also be sure that you're not sending different signals or confused messages to one person within a target account.
6. Measure and adjust
Research has shown that 60% of marketers face pressure to prove that their activities deliver ROI.
To demonstrate how your investment in ABM is generating results for the company, you need a clear plan for measuring outcomes that can be directly attributed to the program. Fortunately, this is likely to be easier when you're concentrating on a relatively small group of target accounts.
Your collection of data to show results could be informed by questions like:
- What changes have occurred in how target accounts are engaging with your brand and its content?
- How much revenue have you gained from target accounts?
- Has there been a reduction in the sales cycle, and can this be linked to ABM?
Regular measurement and assessment of your ABM program will provide insights into where it's succeeding and where you can make adjustments to yield better results in the future.