At the dawn of the digital marketing age, we cast a wide net. And why not? A whole new world of potential customers was suddenly at our fingertips. But we’re no longer in the dawn of the digital marketing age, and as such, our approaches have evolved.
Facing growing demands to “work more effectively” and “act more strategically,” one such change in approach is the rise of account-based marketing (ABM).
What Is ABM?
ABM is all about taking a very focused approach to who you target with your marketing efforts. Instead of throwing your message out to the universe and seeing who responds, ABM dictates that you should go after a defined list of accounts.
Why Introduce ABM?
By targeting a defined list of accounts, ABM provides several benefits. For example, this list of accounts should be companies that you’ve vetted and determined will not only be a good fit for your business, but will also be more likely to buy from your business. It’s one thing to know that your product/service would be a perfect match for someone, but if they will never actually become a customer of yours (for any number of reasons), why waste your time and effort?
Additionally, following an ABM strategy allows you to take a more personalized approach to how you target these leads. Because you not only know who you’re targeting, but you’re also only targeting a select number of accounts, you can spend more time creating personalized content and other forms of outreach for these accounts. Doing so can be a powerful tool in helping you close deals and even increase the size of those deals.
How Do You Get Started with ABM?
If you’re sold on the what and the why and an ABM model looks like a good fit for your business, what’s next for getting this strategy off the ground? It all starts with four steps:
- Build a targeted account list: First you need to determine who your target accounts will be. You’ll want to identify accounts who can generate real revenue for your business, and, as described above, you need to make sure they’re a good fit in terms of how your product/service would work for their business and the likelihood that they would ever buy from you. This list can also include existing customers whose accounts you want to grow. Finally, you should name this list to help brand the ABM effort within your own business.
- Research your target audience: Since ABM is all about targeting specific accounts and going after them in a very direct, personalized manner, you need to know your target accounts inside and out. You should research this audience through campaign measurements and lead activities to understand things like: What’s happening in their industry? Who are their top competitors? What have they done in your space to date? Who will be key people within their company with whom you need to interact?
- Build personalized campaigns: Once you have your list and you know your target accounts like the back of your hand, it’s time to start putting all that work to good use by building behavior-based campaigns. These campaigns should include content and other messaging that’s personalized to each target account’s needs, history, challenges, etc. and that flow based on how the people you hit within that account respond.
- Align sales and marketing: Finally, you need to make sure that sales and marketing are on the same page. This is one area where having a branded ABM program can help, since it’s important that everyone speaks the same language. Beyond simply having a widely-recognized name for your ABM program, you’ll want to ensure that sales and marketing both have the same deep understanding of each account on that list and are each briefed on the same action plan so that your target accounts have a seamless experience regardless of who they speak with in your business.
As we move deeper into the digital age and continue to uncover the power of personalization, the ABM approach of very defined and strategic targeting will no doubt become increasingly valuable in how marketing teams operate.