Posted by Patricia Jones
Account based marketing is gaining an unprecedented momentum these days. Bloggers, vendors, and market research firms are fueling a resurgence in ABM’s popularity. Information Technology Services Marketing Association (ITSMA) coined this phrase Account Based Marketing in 2004. However, B2B (Business-to-Business) vendors have been doing this type of marketing for many years, but without calling it Account Based Marketing.
For the last couple of years, sales and marketing teams have been pondering and rethinking about demand generation, technological advancements like marketing automation, wrapping their hands around referral and inbound marketing and have now realized: “Well, just wait a minute; we are going to sell to companies, not individuals- we need to develop our marketing and sales machines accordingly.”
This is how ITSMA defines Account Based Marketing:
“Treating individual accounts as a market in their own right.”
So, ABM is a structured approach which has been developed and implemented for launching highly customized marketing campaigns to markets of one, which can be accounts, partners or prospects. Account Based Marketing aims at making the sales and marketing take a closer look at key business issues faced by the targets, mapping them to individuals, and thereafter, tailoring campaigns to address those issues.
Hence, the central idea of ABM is to create a totally aligned marketing and sales process, which will help in building relations with a very specific and targeted set of accounts.
There are several fundamentals to think about in Account Based Marketing campaigns, such as account planning and mapping, sales and marketing alignment, metric and offers.
Nevertheless, in this article, we shall explore some of the most critical and effective tactics that you can implement with your Account Based Marketing strategy.
One of the key factors of ABM is personalization and relevance. As there are a limited number of target accounts in any ABM program, so Account Based Marketing campaigns and offers need to deliver high conversion rates.
One way to do this is to personalize content marketing efforts by developing offers, which are specifically created for a particular target account.
In general, 99.9% of digital marketers create offers that are designed to generate new leads from the download of eBooks, whitepapers, and call for participation in webinars.
However, ‘sales’ offers are those more focused offers that are created to help inside sales or sales make the prospect agree to sit down for a face-to-face meeting.
Examples of these offers that are currently in practice are a free technological assessment or free security audits, which are created to get inside the customer’s door.
Some of the most successful sales pitches that are used while making these offers are: “I would like to tell you what the best companies pertaining to your industry are doing across the globe.’ or “I would like to show you how your technology compares to your peers.”
Retargeting is one of the most effective ways to constantly engage a specific account as employees from that account consume online contents. With the development in technology, recently there has been some path breaking innovations, which can be applied to Account Based Marketing programs. One such example is Account-Based Insight and Targeting offers, whereby ABM companies use IP-addresses to identify a prospect’s account as they search the internet. When these prospects visit a site in the network that identifies the ABM company’s range of product or services, the site serves the ABM company’s advertisement, which acts as a retargeting factor for winning the hearts and minds of the target accounts.
According to a Forrester report, 70% of all buying activity occurs due to a “hand-raise” which makes retargeting a vital part of the account based marketing mix.
Given the targeting nature of ABM, it is necessary that Account Based Marketing deliver high conversion rates.
Personalizing your website’s landing page is one effective way of doing this. ABM marketers should create customized landing pages, which are account-specific that displays images, verbiage, forms and offers depending on the account that is visiting their landing page.
For an example, deep personalization tactics like where some ABM marketer may display the name of the visitor on their landing page is also an effective way for getting the attention of the targeted visitor when they open the ABM campaign’s web page.
In the past, sales territories were allocated based on fairness and equality. However, with the growth in ABM programs, sales people are nowadays assigned a specific territory based on their likelihood to close a deal.
To illustrate the process, social proximity territory planning is a sales practice where a sales person is assigned a specific account based on the quantity and quality of social connections that the salesperson has to a particular account.
There are also many other territorial planning options that ABM companies work upon. For an example, many ABM companies looking at a salesperson’s previous selling relationships or past sales history before allocating the salesperson any particular account.
Sending direct emails has been a direct marketing tactics for several years. However, as digital marketing rose in popularity, direct mail was left for dead. Now with the recent growth in Account Based Marketing programs, it has been found that direct mail can be used as an effective weapon to reach targeted groups of executives.
This is because, company executives seldom register for webinars, read whitepapers, respond to unsolicited emails or follow sales peoples on Face Book, Twitter and others.
The core principle of ABM is to personalize communication to an account, based on their current challenges and initiatives.
Companies evolve quickly and so when ABM companies see such changes they trigger events at their target accounts.
One simple method of doing this is to subscribe to a public information service like Google Alerts to understand what is happening with their targeted accounts.
Apart from this, social data also helps in uncovering what the key prospects really care about, which makes it invaluable to Account Based Marketing models while creating an ABM program.
Many ABM vendors use InsideView or LinkedIn for redirecting and re-messaging when new information is discovered in a targeted account.
In the past when lead buyers used to purchase leads, they were only allowed to filter their requirements by company size, title, or geographic location. However, with the growth in ABM process, more online lead generation companies are allowing their customers to filter their leads by company names. In this case, the cost per lead will be higher, but it is always worth paying the price for supporting your Account Based marketing efforts.
There are many ABM organizations those who assign responsibilities to their employees for cultivating a relationship with targeted personas in their target accounts. It is more like assigning the CEO of the ABM company to outreach the CEO of the targeted account or make a decision-making executive interact with another decision-making executive at the target account.
This campaign can begin with a direct email that could follow up with a phone call. The outreach should be real, personal and mention the business reason for which these executives should connect.
Once the contact is established, an inside sales person can follow-up via a phone call to the targeted executive’s admin and try to set up a meeting.
The goal of this effective ABM endeavor is to try to match the relevant employees with prospective employees of the target accounts.
Now that you have learned some of the unique tactics that you can use for your Account Based Marketing, we from ConvergeHub would also love to hear your view. Please share them in the comments box below.