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Everything You Need to Know About Account-Based Marketing

[fa icon="calendar"] 17-Jul-2018 10:00:00 / by Iliyana Stareva


Account-Based Marketing (ABM) has been a popular term over the last few years with a lot of companies jumping on it. 

I came across a great article from one of our agency partners at HubSpot about ABM and decided to run a whole post on it. 

However, I thought it would be best to rely on the experts on the topic so I picked up some of the best articles about ABM from our agency partners who really are the masters of ABM as they implement it day in and day out for clients. 

Everything You Need to Know About Account-Based Marketing 

What is Account-Based Marketing

ABM presents highly targeted prospects with your brand and content only if it is relevant to their pain points and needs. ABM is all about shifting your focus from lots of leads to highly targeted accounts that are very specific organizations and companies that are the best possible fit for your product or service. Each account is treated like its own market, and each one should have a strategy tailored directly to them. Where ABM really shines is in its ability to provide your message to a large number of highly defined and sought-after target accounts through one-to-programmatic predictive targeting technology... 

Read the full article here to learn about ABA and ABS too. 

Account-Based Marketing + Inbound: A Match Made in Heaven

Account-Based Marketing is a common B2B sales strategy in which you select a very specific group of accounts to focus your marketing and sales prospecting energies on. ABM is especially useful for businesses who sell high dollar items. 

Inbound is more of a mindset of helpfulness than anything else. Inbound marketing specifically is an approach to marketing that is designed to assist people as they research topics during purchases and help them find answers related to your products or services.

Traditionally, these two methods have been seen as very separate and almost opposing in nature. This is primarily because ABM is viewed as more of a sales strategy while inbound marketing is thought of as a marketing strategy.

As such, they’ve traditionally been carried out by completely different teams, so combining them simply hasn’t occurred to many people. With inbound, you are much more general and with ABM you are very specific about who your ideal clients or customers are. But your marketing strategy can be made all the sweeter by combining them. 

Read the full article here to find out how.

How to Run an Account-Based Marketing Programme (that actually works)

  1. Choose your accounts wisely.

By its very nature, account-based marketing is the opposite of traditional mass advertising. Who are the accounts you want to have as your customers?

  1. Who will you be talking to?

We don’t talk to companies, we talk to people. This is a simple thought, but it’s key. We need to understand the complex decision-making processes within a company and who the stakeholders are within that. 

  1. What platforms will you use to communicate?

Don’t spam anyone. Don’t cold call anyone. Rather, run cleverly crafted advertising that speaks directly to individuals’ pain points. 

  1. Take your audience on a journey.

Build audiences, and use multiple channels to do so. Ideally, you want messaging that matches where users are in their decision-making process, and which personas they are, so that you can use remarketing to serve them relevant and contextual content.

  1. Measure and optimise constantly.

Evaluate everything: your target accounts, your chosen stakeholders, the content you’re serving, the messaging, and the conversions. Ensure everything is being monitored and improved upon, so as to remain in line with the business objectives and the ABM approach.

Read the full article here to dig into these steps.

How to Find the Essential Ideal Customer Profile for ABM

The most important part of account-based marketing (ABM) is, of course, targeting the right accounts. The first step to identifying the right account is finding out who your ideal customer profile (ICP) is. Without this, then ABM won't be nearly as efficient or effective as it should be.

You might be asking yourself what an ideal customer profile is. Simply put, it is the quantitative and qualitative parameters used to identify the customer that is the most likely to result in a meaningful engagement for your company. A meaningful engagement is not just profitable for your agency, but a culture fit too. Just like in recruiting talent, we look for fit first. A fit to our core values, then we identify if they have the skills for the role. 

Once you have this framework it will define the rest of your ABM build out, and once you are in market you will be presenting highly relevant content to the right accounts for your products and services, vastly increasing the effectiveness of your business development efforts over traditional outbound marketing.

Read the full article here to learn about the parameters you need to look at.

Why Sales Enablement is Key to an Account-Based Marketing Strategy

To see ABM success, it’s important to engage accounts, and particularly the decision makers within your accounts, in the right way - via the right channels, at the right time, with account-bespoke content and propositions. 

Sales enablement is core to achieving this precise engagement; your marketing and sales teams must be truly aligned at every step for marketing to adopt the right strategies - and for sales to have the data they need to engage effectively. 

The right account data will be used to inform everything from bespoke sales propositions to account-specific content, to engagement channel selection - having a sales team enabled with the right marketing insight and assets is core to conducting strong, resonant ABM campaigns.

Before a sales professional connects with a lead, they must be enabled with the business intelligence and marketing insight to know exactly what makes prospects tick.

Read the full article here to learn more about sales enablement for ABM. 

Crafting the Right Content for Your ABM Strategy

The whole point of account-based marketing (ABM) is to create relevant content that is shared with the right and highly targeted accounts, considering each account as its own market. It is paramount that both the ICP (AMB) and the buyer persona (Inbound) are your reference point from here on out for ABM. They give you the resources to match the content to the target. If anything you create or consider does not aim to fix their pains, gain their attention in the volume of competing content or match the right accounts, then it’s time to adjust. The content plan has its unique place in account-based advertising, account-based marketing and account-based sales. Or, as all three are referred to as ABX. X stands for department alignment (not really, but that’s how I think of it). 

Read the full article here to learn more about what content you need.

The Ultimate ABM Tech Stack for Your Account-Based Marketing Initiative

Every company is different and every client’s ABM program is slightly different, so no one single tech stack will work across every firm and ABM program. But if you’re looking for how a variety of ABM tools work together, and if you’re looking to understand the value of each, this ultimate ABM tech stack should fit the bill.

Read the full article here for more info on the tech options.

5 Account-Based Marketing Challenges (And How to Solve Them)

In the case of account-based marketing, sales and marketing alignment is especially important - a misalignment between sales and marketing makes it hard to measure contribution and attribution between each department, causing problems and disjointed action.

ABM is only effective if you focus on the right opportunities - so, you need to develop a manageable, scalable process that identifies the right fit accounts for your efforts to succeed.

Your website is a key tool for ABM. Create the right site experience for each individual in your target accounts, and you should see better engagement.

How can you deliver a content experience that keeps individuals in your target account engaged - holding their attention to accelerate them through their buying journey, even when you don’t know who they are specifically?

Today (following more inbound-based approaches), it’s important that ABM sales and marketing teams focus on quality and value rather than quantity - to build value-based and insight focussed relationships with decision makers.

Read the full article here to get a full grip on the ABM challenges.


Do you do ABM?


Topics: Inbound Marketing

Iliyana Stareva

Written by Iliyana Stareva

Iliyana Stareva is the author of Inbound PR - the book that is transforming the PR industry. She's also a keynote speaker and a consultant in inbound and digital for fast-growing companies and agencies. Currently, Iliyana is Chief of Staff to the EMEA President at ServiceNow. Before that, she held global and EMEA-wide positions at Cisco and HubSpot. She is also certified by the PMI as a Project Management Professional (PMP)®. In her free time, you can find Iliyana writing for her blog, dancing salsa or travelling the world.

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