The primary goal of account-based marketing (ABM) is to create an aligned sales and marketing process that builds relationships with a very specific, targeted list of accounts. While large B2B enterprises have been implementing ABM programs for years, new technologies, new channels, and ROI models have emerged making ABM attractive for mid-market and even small B2B companies.
According to Alterra Group, 97% of marketers say account-based marketing delivers a higher return on investment than other marketing methods. In fact, analyst firm Topo found ABM increases average contract value by 171% (Source: Craig Rosenberg, Topo at ABMIgnite!).
Here’s a way to start ABM with a risk-reduced, phased approach.
Phase 1. Dipping Your Toe into ABM Waters
Identify your top 3 target company accounts
Use LinkedIn InMail campaigns
Create LinkedIn sponsored content targeted at specific companies
Implement personalized email/webinar landing pages with need-based offers
Small to mid-market companies are often overwhelmed by the work and culture shift implementing ABM can entail. Starting with a manageable goal can ease resistance and still produce tangible results.
Begin by getting your sales and marketing teams to agree on just three target accounts. This step should be easy. If it’s not, you have bigger problems and should work on funnel definition and sales and marketing alignment before going any further.Begin #ABM by getting your sales and marketing teams to agree on just 3 target accounts. Click To Tweet
Once you have identified three targets, your marketing team should write a few custom pieces of content specifically for those accounts. These don’t have to be novels or huge white papers. Often, a two-page executive brief or case study is more impactful and easy-to-digest.
Use the content in LinkedIn InMail and sponsored content campaigns, along with in-house email marketing and sales outreach programs. LinkedIn sponsored content works best if your ABM targets are large enterprise companies because LinkedIn wants to see a minimum of 1,000 users that meet your demographic criteria. If you are targeting mid-market companies, you will have to group targeted companies. For small prospects, sponsoring content to LinkedIn Groups such as trade associations and publications is the best route.
Phase 2. Swimming in the ABM Shallow End
Identify your top 10 target company accounts
Use the programs above, developing content for the next seven accounts on your target list
Add personalized videos
Incorporate targeted online advertising
Once you have closed or disqualified your top three accounts, you’re ready to select the next seven accounts. Remember not to ignore the companies you closed out of the top three targets. They should be nurtured and mined for upsell opportunities. The businesses that were not ready to buy, but expressed interest, should continue to receive personalized content.
When you have selected your next seven companies, you can add personalized videos and targeted online advertising to your mix. A great video platform for hosting and sending ABM videos is Consensus. It not only lets your sales reps and marketing teams easily send customized videos and content, but it also provides a plethora of useful analytics and interactive ways for your viewers to customize their experiences.
In addition to using personalized videos, start incorporating targeted online advertising programs. Ad targeting solutions, such as Terminus and Kwanzoo, use combinations of tracking cookies and reverse IP lookup to serve ads, websites, and custom content to your target companies and personas.
Phase 3. Deep Diving into ABM
Identify your top 25+ target company accounts
Use the content from above and purchase an ABM technology stack
Once you get to the deep dive level, it’s time to invest in some serious gear that will automate your efforts and make your ABM process more scalable. You’ll still need to produce quality, customized content to feed the machine; however, products such as DemandBase can help with account identification, account ranking, ad serving, sophisticated website personalization, and more.
ABM tech stacks start at $10,000 per month, with additional budget needed for content generation and ad fees, so this level is best suited for mid-market companies with high growth goals and enterprise companies.
Taking the First Step
While ABM can seem overwhelming at first, if you have a well-aligned sales and marketing team and take a phased approach to it while continuing your traditional inbound programs, you can implement ABM successfully.
If you’re interested in account-based marketing, contact us with your questions.