Marketers are changing the way they fish.
Say what now?
When I say “fish,” I mean to attract and target leads. Think of it this way, many marketing teams used to cast wide nets intended to pull in as many leads as possible. Their blogs began to cover more and more topics meant to attract anyone and everyone. Their strategy was “Catch enough fish, and we’re bound to find at least a few keepers.”
Many marketers are turning to an alternative strategy called Account-Based Marketing (ABM). When using ABM, the wide net is replaced with a spear and a highly targeted strategy.
What is ABM?
Hubspot defines Account-Based Marketing as a highly focused growth strategy in which Marketing and sales collaborate to create personalized buying experiences for a mutually-identified set of high-value accounts.
ABM saves Marketing and Sales teams time by identifying fit and alignment before they are nurtured down the sales funnel. High-value accounts are seen as their individual marketing. By doing so, custom campaigns, content, and communications are used to personalize the buyer’s journey resulting in customer loyalty and increased ROI.
ABM effectively flips the sales funnel. Rather than identifying target companies at the end of the sales funnel (think wide-net fishing), ABM identifies target companies first and uses their unique firmographics as a foundation for a customized campaign (think fishing with a spear).
Building an ABM campaign step-by-step
Step 1: Know the product inside and out!
While this might seem like a no-brainer, it’s often overlooked. Dive deep into the product’s benefits, history, features, and even its shortcomings. Speak to the product managers or even engineers and, of course, take a demo. If you don’t have any questions after the demo, you aren’t diving deep enough.@Jenny_RBM breaks down how to build a kick*ss end-to-end ABM strategy that will delight your target accounts. Take a look: Click To Tweet
Step 2: Create an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)
Imagine the “best fit” customer. This is an account with the need, budget, motivation, and time for your product. To help identify the components of your ICP, look at your five highest-value current accounts and break down their characteristics.
Bonus: This is a great time to create a use case for internal and external purposes.
Step 3 Compile A, B, and C lists
Now that you know what you’re looking for (your ICP), research potential accounts and compile them into three lists.
- A tier list
- These accounts align almost perfectly with your ICP and have the potential highest value.
- B tier list
- These accounts are missing one or two components of your ICP and could be high value, but not as much as A tier list accounts.
- C tier list
- These accounts are missing several components of your ICP, but are still worth pursuing.
Step 4 Divide Dive
The Marketing and Sales teams should divide up all accounts in the A, B, and C lists based on their familiarity and expertise with those companies and industries. It’s time to get your hands dirty. Find out all you can about those accounts. Know the:
- product, leadership, competition, structure, history, culture, and needs
- emerging tech, influencers, trends, leading companies, professional networks, and needs
Step 5. Redistribute accounts based on shared pain point, motivators, fears, and gaps
Using your research, identify accounts with shared pain points, motivators, fears, and gaps (PP/ M /F/ G) and redistribute those segments to the marketing and sales teams. This will make it very clear as to what accounts you are responsible for. If you find that all of your accounts have the same PP/ M /F/ G, you likely didn’t research deeply enough and should go back to step 4.
Quick Question: Why divide and conquer when bringing on more team members can slow down a project and complicate it?
Remember that there is no authority without knowledge, and you need time to gain knowledge. No one Marketing or Sales team member can be an expert in all the industries of your potential accounts. There just isn’t enough time. Who will believe that you have the solution to their pain point if you can’t even articulate that pain point? Knowledge is the key to a customized campaign.
Step 6. Create Content Based on Shared PP/ M/ F/ G
Now that you’ve segmented your target accounts by alignment to your ICP (Step 3) and segmented those tiers by their shared pain points, motivators, fears, and gaps, you know exactly who you’re writing to. It’s time to get cracking on that customized content.
“Find ways to add value before you try to extract value” — Hubspot
Remember that each piece of content doesn’t (and shouldn’t) address all of the PP/ M/ F/ G of your intended audience. Write about a narrowed topic for your narrowed audience. Also, remember that you shouldn’t be reinventing the wheel for every piece of content. Use templates as often as possible. But remember, the object of ABM is targeting high-value accounts with a customized approach. When your approach stops becoming customized, it’s no longer ABM.
Step 7. Create MOFU and BOFU paid ads
Targeted ads can be expensive, but can have a major impact if written specifically and designed thoughtfully. Rotate or refresh ad copy and design frequently and monitor performance regularly. Know that there is often some trial and error when determining what ad strategy works best.
Do your research and don’t get discouraged if your first, second, or even third method doesn’t pan out as well as you’d hoped.
Step 8. Personalize the user experience
Next, ensure that every step of the buyer’s journey is tailored to your target audience. Landing pages should have company and industry-specific language and design. Be sure to remove A, B, and C tier accounts from standard nurturing workflows so as to not send them too many emails and risk them unsubscribing. Chatbots can be a great tool to provide valuable customized communication. Additionally, leveraging videos on landing pages can increase conversions by 86%!Find out how flipping the #marketingfunnel and rethinking your #marketingstrategy with #ABM can save you time and boost ROI. Click To Tweet
Step 9. Create BOFU sales enablement content
Your prospects will appreciate a cohesive buyer’s journey. Marketers shouldn’t deliver SQLs to the doorstep of the sales team and say, “Hasta La Vista, Hope these workout.” In reality, we’re all salespeople working toward the same goal and need to work cross-departmentally to close deals. That said, the marketing and sales teams should work together to create BOFU sales enablement resources. Resources including one-pagers, battle cards, buyers guides, sales decks, and case studies should anticipate objections and roadblocks.
Step 10. Set up notifications
Step 10 is a small but crucial step. Triple check that notifications are properly installed so that when an account converts the proper person is notified. Timing is everything at this point. Be sure that you’re not losing out on sales because of an error like this.
Step 11. Measure success
Lastly, monitor the success of your ABM campaign by tracking activity and outcome-based activities of your target accounts. Other metrics with tracking are:
- Awareness and Reach
- Are you reaching your target accounts? Have your target accounts heard your company’s name, and do they know what you sell?
- Are your target accounts interacting with your reach out methods? Have they given you their time?
- This is all about the quality of your data. How many accounts researched? How many accounts have you created custom content resources, landing pages, and email content for? Do you have stakeholder information for all accounts?
- Are your target accounts converting? What percentage of your target accounts have you won? What is the net new revenue? How long is the deal-to-close time?
Congrats, you made it! ABM can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Take it one step at a time and communicate openly. But if all this sounds like a little too much, we love fishing with spears at Red Branch and would be happy to help you build your very own ABM campaign from the ground up. Give us a holler.
Don’t have time to read our step-by-step guide? Check out our Account Based Marketing lunch n’ learn: