In the dynamic digital landscape that businesses are operating today, creating awareness about your product or service offering is not sufficient to meet a company’s marketing goals. B2B brands should engage their target audience continuously. But conventional marketing mediums cannot deliver marketing campaigns the customers expect. Engagement between customers and marketers tends to fade off when marketers are focused too much on the product, price and promotion, leaving out the aspect of people.
Account-based marketing (ABM) helps in bridging this gap by placing people at the heart of marketing. Unlike the traditional marketing approach where companies use advertising to capture people’s attention before identifying those that are likely to buy, the ABM approach starts by identifying high value targets that are likely to buy and focuses its marketing efforts on those targets in a more personalized way.
Instead of chasing every other lead with their content, B2B marketers that adopt the ABM approach use customized content to nurture high quality leads. They gather customer insights and customize their marketing messages in a manner that speaks to the specific pain points their prospects have. This approach is extremely effective in converting leads to customers. Available statistics show that 97% of B2B marketers reported higher returns on investment as a result of applying the ABM approach in their marketing. This is not the only benefit ABM has to offer. Implementing the ABM approach reduces resource wastage by vetting targets prior to rolling out sales strategies and monitoring marketing campaigns becomes much easier and more accurate since the focus is on a limited number of accounts.
But implementing the ABM approach is not as simple as it may sound. A good practice in running ABM campaigns is to use multiple channels. Since running this is rarely a one-person job, B2B companies should set up multi-departmental teams to successfully launch such campaigns. If your company is not in a position to create a dedicated team to run your ABM campaign, you can hire an Account Based Marketing Agency to do this for you.
In this article, we explore five ways that an account-based marketing agency can help you drive your dream campaign.
1. Clarify ABM Campaign Goal With The Help ABM Agency
Every marketing campaign starts with a goal, and your ABM campaign is not an exception. Upon hiring an ABM marketing agency, the first thing the agency will do is to help you clarify what you want to achieve through the ABM campaign. ABM campaign goals can vary widely – from launching a new service or product, targeting a new customer segment, to getting new business or having current customers to spend more on current product or service offerings.
An ABM marketing agency will spend time with the B2B sales and marketing teams to deliberate on the most suitable goal for the ABM campaign. Often, this process involves reviewing the current sales cycle to understand:
- The phases involved
- The challenges experienced
- The buying journey and what it looks like
- The duration it takes to convert clients
This information is critical in shaping the ABM campaign goal and the key performance indicators for the campaign. Once settled, the ABM marketing agency will align the next stages of the campaign to that goal.\
2. Leverage the Experience of Account-based Marketing Agency to Determine Campaign KPIs
ABM is not an activity that yields quick wins for B2B companies. It’s a process that takes time to generate results. When you work with an ABM marketing agency to launch an ABM campaign, you’ll need to generate evidence that the campaign is worth investing in – that’s why you need to track ABM KPIs. Though performance metrics may vary from one ABM campaign to another, there are cross-cutting metrics that are critical to track on throughout the sales process: These include:
- Accuracy of Accounts: This metric enables you to determine whether your company has the right accounts in its database and whether the account data available is complete
- Account Awareness: With this metric, you’re able to gauge whether your target account is aware of your company and it’s offerings. A good way to track this metric is to keep an eye on web traffic and participation in events.
- Account Engagement: This metric enables you to measure how interested your prospects are in your brand. For instance, you can track their social engagements, how long they spend on your site, whether they open or even respond to your emails among others.
- Account Reach: Here, you’re checking whether your campaign is reaching the accounts you want. You can track this by measuring the success of the different communication channels you use. For instance attendance of a webinar event and program successes that flow from key target accounts.
- Impact on Accounts: This metric enables you to determine whether your ABM campaign is influencing your target audience and generating sales. Some important aspects to focus on are sales outcomes such as shorter sales cycles and sales conversion rates.
3. Work with an Account-based Marketing Agency to Generate a List of Target Accounts
A report by Sirius Decisions shows that 89% of B2B marketers register an increase in the deals they close using ABM than those that don’t use ABM. Also, one in every four marketers say the increase in the number of deals closed exceeded 50%.
These statistics are a clear indication of how effective ABM campaigns are in boosting deal closure. But, it takes investment – both money and time, to realize these kinds of results. This is why any B2B company that opts to use ABM should put in place a solid plan prior to rolling out an ABM campaign. Part of this plan involves generating a list of accounts to be targeted in an ABM campaign. An ABM marketing agency comes in handy in providing B2B companies with the support they need to get this done. Here’s how such an agency helps you in getting this done:
- Developing the Ideal Customer Profile: If your company does not have this in place already, an ABM marketing agency can work with your sales and marketing teams to create profiles of customers that your ABM campaign will target. Often, this process will yield a limited number of high-value accounts that will be targeted during the campaign.
- Tracking First-Party Intent: Also referred to as first-party engagement, ABM agencies support B2B companies in gathering end-user engagement data. Often, this data is drawn from event attendance, content downloads or viewership, or filled out online data capture forms. The agencies help with studying the data to determine which prospects have signaled an intention to buy and which ones are in the buying window. Any prospects that show an intention to buy is added to the target list.
- Tracking Third-Party Intent: Here, an ABM agency helps B2B companies to study intent data to find out which prospects are interested with their companies but are not aware of it. Often, the agencies focus on people who are already engaging and showing interest in your sector or industry either by visiting competitor sites or searching the internet using specific terms or phrases. Prospects that have shown interest in your industry and are already searching for information are added to your ABM target list.
- Ordering the Target Account List: Once the target account list has been generated, an ABM agency assists B2B companies in ordering the list. The focus in the ordering process is identification the accounts that fit a company’s offerings best. Often, priority is given to accounts that show the strongest intention to buy
4. Enlist an Account-based Marketing Agency to Generate Personalized Content
With a clear ABM campaign goal, KPIs and a properly constituted target account list, it’s time to generate content. In the ABM approach, the content that you develop for your target account should resonate with their needs. The more personalized the content is, the better the results.
Here are some useful tips that ABM agencies use to help B2B companies in creating personalized content for their target accounts:
- Identification of Decision-Making Units (DMUs): These are groups of people in the target accounts that influence buying decisions. Since ABM is highly personalized in its engagement, ABM agencies help B2B companies in gathering granular intelligence about each member of the DMU in every target account. This means finding information about them through online research and even connecting with them via LinkedIn. The process also involves determining the kind of messages that would impress them and how that message can be passed to them.
- Defining their Pain Points: This involves determining the pain points that each DMU member has. These could be struggles to save time, increase sales, reduce costs, or streamline existing processes. ABM agencies help B2B companies to nail this by talking to sales reps who interact with DMU members to find out what information they pick about them during discovery and qualifications. These insights become invaluable in defining the pain points that DMUs have – and are used to inform the kind of content a company develops.
- Determining Content Format: In a B2B setting, business decisions are made by 7 to 8 decision makers. Each of these decision makers responds to a different content format. ABM agencies help B2B companies to determine formats that suit different decision makers. These range from blogs, case studies, videos, guides, whitepapers, webinars, letters, surveys, checklists, reports, and podcasts.
- Selecting Appropriate Communication Channels: Like content format, knowing which channels to use to promote personalized content matters. ABM agencies help B2B companies to review ideal customer profiles to determine which online spaces their target audiences spend their time and the social channels they engage with most. They study company data and make content distribution decisions based on the findings. ABM agencies also help B2B marketers in determining content length. Ideally, the more senior decision makers are, the shorter the content should be.
5. Use Account-based Marketing Agency to Distribute ABM Campaign Content
Upon completing the preparatory phase, it’s time to launch the ABM campaign. This involves initiating distribution of the marketing content that the ABM agency has created for your company to your target account. Once the campaign is launched, B2B companies should have their sales teams begin to engage the target accounts through calls, meetings and demos. Based on the agreed distribution strategy, ABM content can be delivered to target audiences using channels such as:
- Social Media
An ABM agency can help you leverage technology to improve the effectiveness of your campaign.
6. Get an Account-Based Marketing Agency to Track ABM Campaign Results
ABM marketing agencies can help B2B companies in measuring the success of your ABM campaigns to determine whether the campaign is meeting your goal or not. Essentially, the agencies use the KPIs agreed upon under point two above to track ABM campaign results.
These include keeping an eye on:
- Digital engagements like content consumption, opening emails, visiting company websites, completing data capture phones, or joining mailing list
- Physical engagements like making or responding to phone calls, attending demos, sending SMS, sending or responding to direct mails, attending events or conducting onsite visits.
- Sales Outcomes like sales ready leads and customer conversion rates.
The ABM approach to marketing is highly effective in driving sales for B2B companies. However, its design requires marketers to have a laser focus on high value target accounts. Working with an account-based marketing agency takes the burden of developing and launching an ABM campaign from your team so you can relax knowing that you have ABM experts driving your dream campaign.