It’s hard to go wrong with account-based marketing (ABM)
85% of marketers who have used it and measured their results after, report that they were able to achieve better ROI for those campaigns than they did for their usual marketing activities.
That doesn’t mean that finesse isn’t a factor in its success.
While anyone can use ABM to drive their profits up by a few extra dollars, the true winners in this field will be able to achieve exponentially greater gains than that.
If you want to trade good results for great ones, you’ll want to make good use of the 5 tips we’ve assembled below.
What Is ABM?
ABM is one of the most promising up-and-coming marketing techniques out there today, and its incredible potential mainly comes from the way it disrupts traditional inbound marketing approaches.
An easy way to understand it is to think about the difference between fishing and hunting. While one is mostly about setting up some bait and then waiting for some of your many potential catches to start biting, the other requires that you aggressively pursue one much larger animal in hopes of getting that much greater reward.
ABM is the hunting analog in this scenario.
To use it, you must single out some high value leads from your list and convert them into accounts: micro-markets of just a handful of people at most.
Doing this allows you to show each account the aspects of your product and brand that will most appeal to them, greatly increasing the chances that you will be able to land them as a customer or convince them to buy more from you.
Related: Account Based Marketing: A little more than an introduction
Still not convinced?
The Stats Behind the Practice
These are just a few of the many stats that prove that ABM is one of the most powerful techniques in marketing:
- 85% of B2B marketers believe that it can significantly influence a company’s ability to keep current clients buying and possibly convince them to buy even more.
- Implementing ABM increases a company’s average annual contract value by an estimated 171%.
- 72% of companies using ABM increased their budgets for it in 2018 (clearly their programs are paying off!).
- 92% of B2B marketers feel that ABM is a very important part of their marketing efforts.
Some Marketing Tactics Where You Can Apply ABM
Meeting leads in person always leaves a strong impression on them, and being in the same room with them also gives you a chance to demonstrate first-hand what your products can do.
There’s no better way to convince someone that you’re an expert on a given topic than to teach them a bit about it. Making a short webinar that demonstrates your company’s knowledge and your product’s abilities can help you to inform your accounts about what makes you such a great choice.
Old-fashioned methods still have their place; when used with care, they can stand out from the new digital norm and draw an account’s attention.
Email helps you reach the important people in a company directly, and it’s also very inexpensive compared to many of your other options.
Standard pay-per-click advertising through Google can be very helpful in keeping your brand at the top of your leads’ minds.
Setting up your site to do things like show returning visitors products that are similar to or frequently purchased together with what they looked at the last time helps your leads understand how what you have to offer them is relevant to their problems.
Related: 10 Steps to Getting Started with Account-Based Marketing (ABM)
The 5 ABM Tips To Live By
Knowing the basics of how ABM works is not enough.
Here are some specific suggestions that you can apply to your ABM efforts that will surely improve their performance over time:
1. Rally the Support You Need
It won’t matter how committed you are to making your ABM program a success if you don’t get the rest of your organization to share in that enthusiasm.
Marketing departments rarely have so much influence that they can make big, expensive decisions like implementing an ABM program all on their own, even if it’s virtually guaranteed to bring good returns in the end.
That’s why it’s your job to explain ABM to them and let them know why the business cannot do without it.
When the higher-ups understand the value of the program both now and in the future, they will be much more likely to give you the resources and budget increases you need to do your best work.
Don’t forget to make sure that you have your sales team on board for this project as well.
ABM can lead to a 67% improvement in your company’s ability to close deals, but only if both the sales and marketing departments are actively working together.
Since you’re only looking at a few people in each account, it’s easy for the salespeople you work with to reach out to them at opportune times and drive them further down the sales funnel in tandem with you.
Sharing information with them about your strategies and results will give them the knowledge they need to be strong allies for you in this initiative.
2. Use the Right Data
Your data is your road map when it comes to your ABM program.
It’s what will help you correctly identify your ABM-worthy leads in the first place, and it’s also what will make it possible for you to figure out the selling points that they will be most receptive to when you do approach them – those connections are thought to be largely responsible for the success of an estimated 85% of top-performing companies that are using ABM.
Good data is also fundamental to being able to do things like without complete, accurate, timely and overall reliable data on hand, you’re sabotaging your ABM efforts right from the start.
Before you dive any deeper into this technique, consider auditing your database and ensuring that your data is in the proper state to be useful to you during this effort.
Verify the quality of your accounts for free
If you’re not confident in your own ability to do this effectively, it makes sense to consider hiring some help to make sure the job is done right.
It will cost you, but it’s an investment into the foundation of your ABM program that is sure to pay for itself many times over.
3. Use the Right Technology
As lucrative as ABM can be, it also takes a lot of work to keep running.
If you’re going to be marketing to each company individually, you’re going to have a lot of information to keep track of.
Everything needs to go out to the right individuals at the right times and be tracked accordingly so that you can review that data for efficacy later.
Getting all of this done efficiently and with the proper level of detail means taking advantage of what today’s technology can do; with the proper tools at your disposal, you can accomplish it all with even just a small number of staff.
Unfortunately, too many marketers hesitate to use more than the bare basics when it comes to technological tools, thinking it will be too difficult or too costly to integrate them into their ABM campaigns.
92% of marketers operating an ABM program use analytics and reporting tools, which is a great start – but only 64% use account-based advertising tools and a mere 49% make heavy use of predictive tools.
There is so much to be gained by experimenting with this helpful technology and incorporating it into your ABM operations will never be any easier than it is right now, so it’s in your best interest to look into it right away.
4. Micro-Target as Much as Possible
Knowing where to aim your efforts is a big part of doing ABM right.
The very best ABM campaigns target a single person who is in charge of hundreds of thousands (or even millions) of dollars in budget.
If you can speak directly to this powerful individual and convince them that they need your product, you will almost certainly land their company’s business. Of course, things are rarely so simple in the real world.
It’s far more common for companies to have multiple people approving each purchase decision, with the current average being 6.8. When this is the case, you don’t want to leave any of these people out of your marketing campaigns for that account; you want to give each of them something to latch onto in the materials that you send them.
Narrowing down your audience to key decision-makers helps you to cut out all the white noise that typically weighs down marketing campaigns and hone in on the interactions that really matter.
Remembering that you’re rarely looking for just one ultimate authority, however, keeps you from becoming too myopic in your efforts and missing out on marketing to some of the people who will have a say in whether or not your sales pitch is a success.
Finding a good mix of methods that allow you to say something relevant to each of these people is the best way to ensure that you reach all the people who stand between you and your goal of making a sale.
5. Measure, Learn, Optimize… and Measure Again
You should never assume that you know everything there is to know about ABM, and the best place to learn more about it will always be your own records.
You should be tracking everything you can about each account you have running, especially in the early days of your efforts.
What is working, and what is not? Why might that be? What changes can you make to the things you’re doing that will achieve more success overall? These are all questions you should be asking as you get the relevant data back from each account.
To do this properly, you’ll need to keep the scope of your overall project within manageable levels.
Successful ABM always prioritizes quality over quantity; while a company may have thousands of normal leads that they are working at any given time, 42% of companies using ABM aim to have just 50 to 500 accounts active at once.
You want to have the time and resources to do your best with each and everyone as you figure out the best practices for you and your leads, so don’t bite off more than you can chew.
🖐️ Five Steps Closer To ABM Excellence
The sky is the limit with ABM, and every marketer who practices it should take that to heart.
There is always some part of it that can be improved, and these five tips have hopefully given you a place to start that process in your own organization.
With that new knowledge to help you power up this already potent technique, you should have no trouble taking your ABM program to even greater heights.
In our next post, we’ll be going over how ABM compares to general inbound marketing and what the future of the technique might hold.
As always, though, you can join us right now to get more guidance on ABM and similar data-related business tactics right away.