An account-based marketing strategy involves marketing and sales teams working together to develop best-fit accounts and turn them into customers. Marketers are constantly competing for the attention of potential customers in the age of information abundance.
Due to this, companies that wish to maximize ROI must focus on high-value accounts, keeping account penetration, marketing penetration, and logos in mind.
Marketers need to combine the skills of both sales and marketing to locate high-value accounts that matter to them, engage with them, and close deals with them.
So let’s take a look at some ABM statistics:
– 86% of B2B companies said ABM improved their win rates. (TOPO)
– 87% of marketers who measure ROI say ABM outperforms every other marketing investment. (ITSMA)
– 30% of marketers working in an account-based manner reported engaging 2x more frequently with their C-level targets. (The SiriusDecisions Command Center)
– 85% of marketers with a service-level agreement (SLA) think their marketing strategy is effective. (HubSpot)
– 82% of B2B marketers said ABM greatly improves the alignment between marketing and sales at their company. (LinkedIn)
In this article, we’ve got together 5 Top Marketing Experts from across the globe who share their views and insights on
Strategies to Kick-Start your ABM efforts for B2B Businesses
Here’s Our Expert Panel
1 Riaz Kanani
Getting started with any ABM strategy requires:
1. Being in lock-step with sales. No ABM strategy succeeds inside marketing alone. An ABM strategy starts before any contact is made and continues as it moves through the pipeline to close. You do not stop once it is passed to sales.
At every step of this journey, sales and marketing is involved. From initially identifying the right companies to include in the ABM program through to building a strong relationship together with the right messaging and tactics. The most mature ABM teams continue this beyond close including Customer Success in the mix as well.
2. Data. This is often under appreciated but with just 1% of companies active in a market at any one time. Randomly selecting a small number of companies can lead to programmes that are destined to fail because the chosen companies are just not ready to buy quickly enough to make your ABM programme a success.
We specialise in this area, with our clients using either company targeted advertising or sales intelligence to initialise their ABM go to market approach.
The advertising builds broad awareness within a target account list and identifies which companies should progress to the next milestone based on engagement.
While the sales intelligence data, monitors dark funnel activity both on your website and across the Internet to identify companies researching relevant topics that again allow you to move a company to the next milestone in your ABM programme – increasing investment in only those companies that require it.
3. Selecting the right strategy. Not all companies should sit inside a one-to-one ABM strategy, where you put together a playbook just for that one company. Both revenue opportunity, relationship, strategic benefit (e.g. key brand in new market or geography) and timing play a key role.
Most companies will initially sit in a one-to-many ABM strategy where you target large numbers of companies with messaging that you believe fits their needs. Eventually you may have multiple one-to-many strategies which serve different sectors, problems or even timing. Depending on their potential, strategically or otherwise, they might then be promoted to a one-to-few programme or a one-to-one programme as you build relationships and they move through the programme.
You might even decide to move them out of the ABM programme entirely once more insight is gained. When you are just starting out though, you don’t need to build it all. Having a single one-to-many (or one-to-few) group which moves to a one-to-one approach working hand-in-hand with sales is a good way to start small and show success before scaling over time.
Riaz is founder and CEO of Radiate B2B, a pioneering sales and marketing platform that accelerates sales by identifying and targeting companies in market today. Radiate B2B has been nominated for Emerging Martech Vendor and UK Martech vendor of the year by B2B Marketing. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.
2 Jamie Martin
Before contacting a prospect and doing ABM (Account-based marketing) – take the time initially to develop a sales strategy and process to make your sales marketing more efficient and effective.
Identify who your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP); the decision maker who is predicted to buy your service or product. These new prospects could be your customers’ customers, the competitors of your customers, etc. The focus here should be to qualify or disqualify a prospect prior to approaching them, social media profiles or sales enablement AI platform tools can assist you with this.
Identify the behaviours of your prospects, e.g., what social media channels they use and how they engage on it. You can identify more about their personality and communication styles by the way and how they are corresponding to their network? The more you find out about your prospects early on within the sales process, the easier they will be to do account-based marketing to.
Jamie Martin BSc (Hons), PGCert (Managing Director & Founder of Correct Careers Coaching) is an award-winning (9x) sales professional, Modern Sales Coach & Trainer, cocreator of a B2B sales e-Learning course, as well as an author, podcaster, and speaker. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.
3 Torsten Herrmann
Defining suitable target customer segments is one of the most important steps in account-based marketing. Most companies orient themselves on classic benchmarks such as company size, industries or behavioral data. However, these general criteria provide little or no information about the needs and requirements these companies want to fulfill with the provider’s product or service. Accordingly, it is difficult to individualize strategies and messages for the segments defined in this way.
This problem can be solved by the Jobs-to-be-Done (JTBD) method. JTBD is a strategic approach that focuses not on customers or products, but on what job a new solution does. The method thus focuses on why customers buy a product or service and what they want to achieve with it. In this sense, the “Job to be Done” is a solution-neutral, overarching goal that one or more individuals in the company want to achieve.
The Job to be Done can serve as a decisive criterion for a market segmentation that is different from classic benchmarks. Since the potential customers thus find themselves in the communication or the offer, the probability of success of this approach is significantly higher.
This type of segmentation is not only consistent over time (a job-to-be-done usually remains stable over the long term), but also provides insights that deviate from common methods. For example, firmographically similar companies are often assigned to different segments, and companies that at first glance have nothing in common are grouped together. This shows that a job does not necessarily depend on characteristics such as industry, size or regionality. A small medium-sized service provider would probably never end up in the same segment as an industrial group in classic market research. Yet both can have the same job-to-be-done.
Torsten Herrmann is CEO of the online marketing agency chain relations GmbH in Frankfurt am Main. He has been advising and supporting B2B companies of all sizes in online and offline marketing and sales for more than 25 years. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.
4 Kathryn E. Nuñez
Moving away from traditional corporate marketing and sales tactics supports a modern-day approach to business. My experience in selling into larger healthcare systems allowed me to experience account-based marketing first hand.
In our current environment, using a multichannel approach as a part of the strategy allows teams to build relationships faster by personalizing their outreach and increasing engagement. This will also lead to having more authentic conversations to uncover the pains of the prospect.
I’ve spoken on the idea of smarketing and had a few examples of the importance of the right and left hand working together. An all-hands-on-deck approach to understanding the unique needs of each decision-maker helps to shorten the sales cycles and builds momentum by moving the many influencers in an account through their journey faster.
Kathryn E. Nuñez, the founder of The Social Selling Agency, is a LinkedIn Marketing Expert and a Top Visibility Thought leader. She is an authority on sales and, has built a rapid-growing following of over 30,000 professionals. You can Connect With her on LinkedIn.
5 Vincent Decastro
Getting your ABM campaign off to a great start should always start with the proper account selection process. We run five different style ABM campaigns depending on account selection/targeting so several strategy sessions with Marketing and Sales leaders are required to inform the recommendations and nurture we use. Often times we will run 1:Many, 1:Few and 1:1 at the same time, just using unique target account lists and/or ICP with Intent Data.
Lead Generation & Account-Based Marketing Expert, Vincent DeCastro has been in the B2B marketing space for 16 years with particular expertise in account-based marketing. With longstanding work in SEO and PPC, Vincent has worked with companies like AirWatch, Okta, Manhattan Associates & Siemens. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.
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