ABM Account Based Marketing

The Blueprint to ABM Success

The Blueprint to ABM Success

Account-based marketing (ABM) emerged in the early 2000s as technological advancements in CRM systems, marketing automation platforms, and data analytics tools enabled organizations to implement ABM strategies at scale.

As Hubspot highlights, ‘ABM helps your business work and communicate with high-value accounts as if they’re individual markets.

By doing this — along with personalizing the buyer’s journey and tailoring all communications, content, and campaigns to those specific accounts — you’ll see greater ROI and a boost in customer loyalty.’

B2B marketers also use account-based marketing (ABM) to align their sales and marketing efforts.

Although over three-quarters of businesses are seeing an increase in revenues from their ABM activity, not everyone has mastered ABM as an approach.

Some 45% of companies (ABM Benchmark Survey, Demand Gen Report, 2022) claim to be still in the early stages of adopting ABM.

We wanted to share some of the more common challenges we’ve seen our clients face:

Ideal Customer Profile

One of the primary challenges in ABM is selecting the right accounts to target. Leveraging data analytics can be a game-changer.

By analyzing past sales, engagement metrics, and industry trends, marketers can identify high-value accounts that are more likely to convert. Use this data to develop an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), which outlines the traits of companies that best fit your product or service.

This can include industry type, company size, revenue, and more.

Personalizing Content for Each Account

ABM requires content to be tailored to each target account’s needs and pain points. This can be time-consuming.

However, with advanced segmentation tools, marketers can categorize accounts based on shared characteristics. Automation tools can then deliver personalized content to these segments, ensuring relevance without the manual hassle.

The aim is to develop campaign assets tailored to individual accounts and buying committees without sacrificing mass production efficiency. This can be achieved by creating content with a modular design that allows you to swap out to cater to different industries and client needs.

You can also use tools and platforms to deliver hyper-personalized content, such as Movable Ink’s new Da Vinci AI platform.

Aligning Sales and Marketing Teams

For ABM to be successful, sales and marketing teams must work in tandem. Regular meetings, shared dashboards, and common objectives can ensure both teams are on the same page.

Ensuring the effective use of collaborative tools like CRM systems can help seamlessly track and share account information. Adobe’s Marketo 8-step program is a valuable framework to align the two teams, which centers around defining the goals, strategy, and KPIs.

Measuring ABM Success

Traditional marketing metrics like ‘leads generated’ might not be the best indicators for ABM success.

Instead, focus on metrics like ‘target account engagement,’ ‘deal size,’ and ‘sales cycle length.’ These provide a more robust picture of ABM effectiveness.

Predicting In-Market Accounts Who Ready to Purchase

Modern buyers leave myriad digital signals, making it challenging to discern genuine buying intent amidst the vast amount of data.

Marketers can utilize intent data from the lead generation provider or use platforms like Bombora or 6sense to effectively identify ready-to-buy accounts to gain insights into companies’ research topics.

Additionally, implementing tools that analyze historical data can forecast which accounts are most likely to convert.

Collaboration between sales and marketing teams can further refine account targeting strategies, ensuring that outreach is tailored to accounts genuinely in-market and ready to purchase.

For tech businesses, use tools such as Built With to identify what technology the client already has in place, or if they’re looking for a totally new solution.

Engaging Accounts Across Multiple Channels

B2B buyers usually interact with brands across various channels before deciding. Hence, it’s crucial to have a consistent message across all touchpoints.

An omnichannel approach, where all channels, including partners such as publishers and lead generation suppliers, are integrated, ensures a unified and coherent brand experience.

Keeping Content Relevant Amidst Changing Needs

The needs and challenges of target accounts evolve. Marketers need to establish a continuous feedback loop to ensure content remains relevant.

Surveys, feedback sessions, and industry research can provide insights into changing account needs, allowing marketers and their content agencies to tweak their content and strategy accordingly, as well as keeping the ABM list up to date.

Long Sales Cycles

B2B sales often involve long decision-making processes. Instead of pushing for a sale, focus on nurturing relationships.

Regular value-driven interactions, like sharing industry insights or offering solutions to current challenges, can keep the brand top-of-mind and build trust.

Action Points for Marketers: Mastering ABM Campaigns

  1. Data-Driven Account Selection: Leverage data analytics to identify high-value accounts. Develop a comprehensive Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) to streamline your targeting process.
  2. Embrace Advanced Tools: Utilize advanced segmentation and automation tools to deliver personalized content tailored to each account’s unique needs.
  3. Prioritize Modular Content Design: Design content that can be easily modified to cater to different industries or client needs, ensuring personalization and efficiency.
  4. Strengthen Sales-Marketing Alignment: Foster regular communication between sales and marketing teams. Use collaborative tools like your CRM system to ensure alignment.
  5. Redefine Success Metrics: Shift focus from traditional metrics like ‘leads generated’ to more ABM-specific metrics such as ‘target account engagement’ and ‘deal size.’
  6. Harness Predictive Analytics: Utilize platforms like Bombora or 6sense to identify accounts ready to buy. Implement predictive tools to forecast potential conversions.
  7. Adopt an Omnichannel Approach: Ensure consistent messaging across all touchpoints. Integrate all channels, including partners, for a unified brand experience.
  8. Stay Updated with Changing Needs: Establish a continuous feedback loop. Regularly conduct surveys, feedback sessions, and industry research to keep your content and strategies relevant.
  9. Value-Driven Relationship Nurturing: Recognize the long B2B sales cycles and focus on nurturing relationships through consistent, value-driven interactions.
  10. Continuous Learning and Adaptation: As the B2B landscape evolves, so should your ABM strategies. Stay updated with ABM’s latest trends, tools, and best practices.

While ABM presents its challenges, the rewards of higher conversion rates, better alignment between sales and marketing, and more significant account engagement make it worth the effort.

By understanding these challenges and proactively seeking solutions, B2B marketers can harness the full potential of ABM, driving growth and fostering lasting relationships with high-value accounts.

To learn more about how to master account-based marketing, check out our latest guide.