Account-based marketing is not a new concept. It’s been proven that personalization enhances customer experience, increases leads, and ultimately, drives more sales. But whether you’re a seasoned veteran and just need a fresh perspective, or are just dipping your toes into the pool, we can all benefit from continuing to hone our marketing skills.
What is Account-Based Marketing?
If you’re already familiar with this, feel free to skip ahead, but if not, read on!
In a nutshell, account-based marketing (ABM) is the exact opposite of traditional marketing. For years, marketers have created general messages for the masses – with one single message thrust upon large groups. However, mass targeting results in messages that are not only ineffective but often intrusive, unwanted, and ultimately, a waste of resources. An ABM strategy is the opposite. It aims to build marketing messages and content specific to a small group of target accounts.
By placing the desired customer at the center of your marketing strategy, you create messaging that speaks directly to them and in turn, have a much higher possibility the messaging will resonate with them and they will see the value of your product or service.
Step 1: Research
The key to a successful ABM campaign is knowledge. Think of it as the foundation to your ABM house – the more information (foundation) you have, the stronger your house will be.
Before you jump into things, spend some time researching your current customers to uncover some important information.
- Ideal Company Profile (ICP) – This is a prototypical company that would get the most value out of your product. This is used to create a list of target accounts (companies) that will be the center of all your marketing efforts.
- Ideal Customer Persona (also ICP) – This is a person at a company who will most likely be receptive to your messages because your product/service solves a specific need they have in their role.
Discussing this with your executive and sales teams will give you an idea of the direction the company is currently going, or which direction the company wants to go. Looking at historic win/loss sales data will give you direct insight into what accounts have turned into customers in the past. From this data, you can ask yourselves, who are our best-fit customers? What are some common attributes of these customers – industry, company size, revenue, etc.? We refer to these company traits as Firmographic Data.
Once you’ve answered these questions, you can find look-alike companies and buyer personas that fit within your two ICPs – giving you a clear idea of who you should be marketing and selling to.
Step 2: Action
Once you’ve got your target accounts in mind it’s time to market to them.
Create content that speaks directly to your target customers. Everything they receive from you, be it emails, ads, even web content, should be tailored to address their specific business needs. You should even be thinking about how your ideal customer persona’s role changes the way they approach problems they experience and what metrics will define success for them.
Develop an omnichannel approach leveraging multiple touchpoints for each customer from web and mobile platforms to email, social media, and so on that all convey the same message: “We understand your pain, here’s how we can help.”
Unfortunately, there is no ‘magic bullet’ in the marketing world (or if there is, I haven’t found it yet). However, consistency and relevancy among all customer touchpoints will increase the likelihood your target accounts engage with your messaging and eventually become customers.
Step 3: Monitoring
Even the best ABM campaigns will never reach their maximum potential if their success can't be tracked. Just like in the first step of the ABM process, knowledge is power. Once your ABM strategy is up and running, it’s important to measure its success and see what areas you can improve. A lot of this information can be gathered using first-party tracking methods combined with website visitor tracking to identify the specific accounts visiting your site and what content they are engaging with.
Here are some key things to consider when monitoring your strategy effectiveness:
- Attribution - See where the traffic is coming from so you can focus your efforts on the outlets driving the most traffic to your site, or focus on improving the ones that are underperforming.
- Sanity Check - Were your initial ICPs accurate? Or are there unpredicted segments or customer personas that you should be marketing to?
- Tracking ROI - With all the time and money you've spent on your ABM strategy, you need to make sure you’re actually getting value out of it. Keeping track of your key performance indicators (KPIs) and measuring how your strategy is performing against them is paramount to maintaining the success of your campaign.
This might seem like a lot of work, but one thing to take solace in is that we’re living in the golden age of data. Today we have a wealth of technology that gives us unprecedented depth into market segmentation and metrics, making the process of measuring your campaign effectiveness much more manageable.
An important thing to keep in mind throughout this entire process is that none of these steps are set in stone, and just because you’ve completed one doesn't mean it's over and done with. You should constantly test and optimize your methods to enhance your marketing stack. The needs of businesses grow and change over time, and as marketers, we must monitor these changes and adapt accordingly. While this ongoing process might seem a bit daunting at first, the fruits of your work are more than worth it.
To learn more about how IP address intelligence can enhance your knowledge at every stage of your ABM strategy, check out our guide!