5 Steps to Master Account-Based Marketing

Upon looking at the benefits above, you must be itching to try ABM tactics and see your sales figures skyrocket. Here’s the good news: it’s easy to get started. And, here’s the bad news: it’s going to take some time to see results. ABM is a marathon and not a sprint. It can be a complex strategy, which demands that you invest a considerable amount of time and money into a single account, so you definitely, can’t afford to start on the wrong foot.

First, take time to choose your tech stack. Jumping the gun and setting up the wrong tools can quickly leave you in ABM limbo, so make sure you cover these five must-have:

  1. Account Intelligence — to capitalize on prospects’ data and generate valuable insights.
  2. Lead and contact data automation — to craft tailor-made buying journeys.
  3. Integration with other systems — to automate and streamline your sales process.
  4. Company departments alignment — to get everyone onboard.
  5. Analytics and reporting — to understand the impact of your ABM tactics.

Once you’ve procured the necessary tools and tech, it’s time to get hands-on with ABM. The following framework will guide your actions to develop the critical elements of your ABM strategy.

1) Find the target accounts that fit your ideal customer profile

ABM is a collaborative piece of work between different parts of your organization, so your first step should be to call a meeting between sales and marketing to prioritize your company’s prospects and create your list of target accounts (maybe based on some account scoring models).

Ignore your gut feeling; effective prioritization requires a more structured approach. At Vainu we trust the ideal customer profile (ICP) model to enable us to find our target accounts. An ICP is a description of a fictitious account which tells who is most likely to buy your product or service and what makes a satisfied customer that will stay with you for a long time. Thanks to a well-defined ICP, you’ll find it much easier to identify your top three to five target accounts. Remember these will be the prospects to which you’ll devote much of your time and resources, so making the right decision at this stage is crucial.

2) Research and planning phase

What do you know about your top accounts? How do you monitor them? After deciding on your top accounts, enter the research and planning phase and dig deep into your strategic accounts. Creating a successful ABM strategy hinges on your ability to understand your prospects and how they make buying decisions. With ABM knowledge is power.

This is the phase when account intelligence and sales intelligence tools excel as they provide the means to track many buying signals and any company-specific information about your targeted organization. Find out how decisions are made and who the influencers are.

3) Start creating conversation

This is the most creative step of the ABM process. You know who you want to talk to and have acquired ample insights on your key accounts, now it’s time to persuade them with a bespoke message rooted in that knowledge. Refine your proposition and marketing to create valuable, personalized content that addresses the challenges the target accounts face, so your approach becomes meaningful.

However, don’t forget that the sales process can be tedious, especially in B2B sales. As a result, ABM is all about building a close dialogue with your accounts, developing a conversation across different channels.

4) Target the right people at the right time

As consumers have become more selective, salespeople have to become smarter as well. When it comes to ABM, being smarter equals being more efficient. Since this method of marketing is highly-targeted, bombarding prospects with the same message will not work.

Capitalize on the insights you’ve gathered to send your message to the right people at the right time.

5) Analyze, learn, optimize. Repeat

In this regard, ABM is no different than any other form of marketing. Before initiating any individual campaigns, choose the right metrics to evaluate your ABM strategy. The list of KPIs you want to look at includes: engagement rate, in-funnel conversion rates, reach within an account, and pipeline velocity. One benefit of the strong sales and marketing alignment within an ABM strategy is the possibility of sharing the same metrics and KPIs across both teams.

Want to find all prospects matching your ideal customer profile? Request a demo now!

Conclusion

Account-based marketing is a game changer for B2B marketing and sales, but getting started with it is no small feat and might face certain resistance within your organization. After all, betting many resources on a few accounts sounds daring. When you plan your strategy to gain executive buy-in, consider these three fundamental principles.

    • ABM is about identifying who your most important accounts are. Instead of appealing to the masses, a well-thought ABM strategy concentrates only on a few target accounts and not on markets or industries. To identify those prospects, marketing professionals and salespeople build ideal customer profiles.
    • ABM requires as much insight on your accounts as possible. This information allows ABM pros to craft content and campaigns optimized for the target accounts. There's no one-size-fits-all.
    • ABM does not replace other Marketing activities. As sophisticated as ABM can get, it is not meant to replace, but add. ABM must co-exist with other more traditional forms of marketing geared toward driving awareness and traffic. Yes, ABM and inbound marketing can —and most of the time, must, work in parallel.

The popularity of ABM stems from the ability of effectively combining data-driven insights, technology, and creativity to deliver an incredibly personalized marketing message. A precise combination of art and science.

And it's the methodical approach that makes accurate data, or more precisely, the lack of it, a major roadblock that many organizations face when trying to implement ABM. There’s so much business information coming from multiple sources that you can drown in it faster than stumbling into quicksand.

Account-based marketing is consuming and demanding. Accurate data, or more precisely, the lack of it, is the major roadblock that many organizations face when trying to implement ABM.

Therefore, choosing the right ABM technology is the first step you need to take if you want to run the ABM marathon. Fortunately, sales tech is developing at a terrific speed! Each day, more and more apps and platforms are helping you make sense of the data and put it into good use as you implement your ABM strategy.

Vainu is one of these platforms. We collect an enormous amount of information from millions of open data sources, and our machine learning algorithms analyze it so you can implement it into your sales and marketing process. If you want to know more about Vainu, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Topics: Account-Based Marketing

Eduardo Alonso

Scribbler at Vainu’s Marketing team. Taco enthusiast and obsessive record collector. Straight outta Madrid.