How to get started with B2B account based marketing

Account-based marketing (ABM) is a trendy and (relatively) new strategy to hook big-fish prospects. Most marketing initiatives take a broader approach more akin to a fisherman casting a wide net into a pond – targeting a segment. ABM is like using a fishing pole equipped with specific bait, cast into a certain area of the pond in hopes of catching that legendary 20-foot blue mouth bass – targeting a specific piece of business.

Thanks to advances in technology and new marketing channels, ABM strategies that once required vast resources to plan and execute are now far more practical in terms of both time and cost. ABM allows marketers and sales teams to reap the rewards of more sophisticated automation, lead management and process optimization solutions.

What types of companies benefit most?

ABM strategies are not one-size-fits-all solutions. B2B marketers usually find more benefits than B2C for several reasons:

  • Their target’s buying decisions are made by a collective group of people rather than a single person
  • Their lead to conversion pipeline can be lengthy and require multiple sales touches and nurturing
  • The expected sale has a higher price point

How does it differ from personalized marketing automation strategies?

Personalized marketing automation requires individuals to have contact with a brand’s digital environment in order leave and track a cookie for ongoing targeting and personalization.

ABM, on the other hand, does not require previous interaction as it uses an IP address to identify and target accounts. Finding a business IP address is actually not very difficult. Here’s how.

What are the benefits of account-based marketing?

Advances in marketing technology allow businesses to leverage ABM for greatly reduced investment than previously possible and at much greater scale.

  • Drives higher ROI: Compared to other marketing initiatives, the 2014 ITSMA Account-Based Marketing Survey found that “ABM delivers the highest Return on Investment of any B2B marketing strategy or tactic.”
  • Measures easily: It’s easier to measure ROI because this strategy is more targeted, personalized and precise compared to other inbound and outbound strategies.
  • Expands funnel: Once you have a proven plan for a specific target, you can replicate and tweak that strategy for similar prospects.
  • Increases effectiveness: ABM qualifies leads before you market to them because you’ve already vetted the lead has capability to purchase. This saves time and resources by optimizing efforts from the start.
  • Leverages personalization: Personalization at the account level provides more value to the target audience. Per Aberdeen, 75% of customers prefer personalized offers.

How do you get from point A to ABM?

It’s unfortunately not quite as simple as our fishing metaphor. ABM requires a multi-channel approach and alignment efforts to coordinate the marketing and sales team. It flips the marketing and sales funnel upside down by starting with the target and developing a strategy around them. This inverted funnel looks like this:

1. Identify target audience or account

2. Research target, identify key decision makers

3. Develop multi-channel content and messaging strategy

4. Implement campaigns

5. Analyze performance

6. Optimize

What are some effective B2B ABM strategies?

  • Promote the target in social media posts and/or an email newsletter. Identify one of their exceptional achievements or an offer that blends well with your own. Then tag them or link back to their website, ultimately increasing your visibility to the target. Just not too often – occasionally is fine but you don’t want to come off as desperate.
  • Create a case study specific to the solution the target needs and set it as your homepage slider or a featured piece of content. Be sure to promote on social.
  • Develop a landing page with content specific to the target. Set it up so IP addresses from the target are immediately directed to this page. This requires some extra technological elbow grease, but it pays off.
  • Sign up for their newsletter, download their content and get in their pipeline. This provides insight on the company and their communications practices. They may even remember you, giving brownie points without the brown nose status.

Should I go for it? How do I get started on the path to success?

ABM is an strategic way to create a much more dynamic online experience and get in front of target accounts in a more effective way – certainly worth considering. If your marketing program already has some ABM tactics, continue to search for new ways to optimize.

The best way to ensure a successful ABM strategy is to enlist a knowledgeable, creative team of consultants, capable of maintaining an air of mystery while low-key stalking targets online.

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