How to Use Account-Based Marketing to Drive Business Success

Author Clodagh O'Brien

More than 90% of marketers believe that account-based marketing (ABM) is crucial to marketing and sales alignment. Fast becoming the B2B strategy of choice, its adoption is on the rise in organizations as ABM focuses a team effort in attracting, engaging, converting and measuring the highest value accounts.

While 92% of companies recognise the value in ABM, going as far as citing it as a B2B marketing must-have, only 20% of businesses have had full programs in place for more than one year. The study shows that wider adoption is expected in the not so distant future, with more than 60% planning to invest in technology for ABM to better align sales and marketing over the next 12 months.

The Benefits

The development of technologies has enabled organizations to automate and scale their efforts, making it easier to target specific accounts. So, the mechanism for ABM is there what’s required from businesses and their marketing and sales team is a comprehensive strategy to identify, engage, and measure target lists to achieve optimum results and growth. To paint a clearer picture of ABM's potency, let's take a look at the key benefits:

Clear ROI - Used effectively, ABM has the power to drive precise results for any business. According to the ITSMA Account-Based Marketing Survey, ABM delivers the highest ROI of any B2B marketing strategy or tactic in today's digital marketing climate.

Enhanced personalization and optimization - According to research from Microsoft, the first 10 seconds of the page visit are critical for users’ decision to stay or leave. A major part of ABM is the personalization of messaging and communications towards specific accounts so that campaigns hit a nerve with the target audience. Targeted consumers are far more likely to engage with content that is tailored to their personal needs, tastes, and preferences, and is also relevant to their business and stage in the buyer journey.

Enables sales alignment - Arguably, ABM is the most effective way to align sales and marketing, something that is sometimes easier said than done. Primarily, this is because when a marketer executes an ABM program, their approach is very similar to those in sales, offering a focus on accounts and how to target them, reel them in, and generate revenue from them.

Focuses on resources - As ABM is such a targeted marketing tool, it allows a marketer to focus their resources in an efficient manner and run promotional campaigns that are optimized for specifically targeted accounts. Focusing internal talents, technologies, social platforms, analytics, and content creation mediums, among other resources, in the right areas are sure to produce positive results for your ABM campaign.

Easy to track goals and measurement - The analytics surrounding ABM are spot on in terms of clarity and accuracy. When you're in the process of analyzing the effectiveness of a campaign, it's easier to come to definite conclusions because you have the ability to look at a smaller set of targeted accounts rather than a sprawling set of metrics that span your whole database.

How to establish an ABM strategy

Now that you understand the benefits of ABM, let's focus on the key elements involved in setting up a successful account-based marketing strategy:

1. Identify your targets

When setting up an effective ABM strategy, the first step is to identify who you are targeting - shooting in the dark is never successful. Using all of the technology available to you, it will be possible to prioritize high-value accounts based on revenue potential, as well as other key factors including market influence and purchase potential. Solid foundations for any account-based marketing campaign.

2. Understand your targets

Once you've identified your primary targets, you will need to find out more about them and what makes them tick. This can be achieved by investigating their internal structures, taking a closer look at elements including key decision makers and main influencers. Once you're familiar with the core information relating to your target accounts, you will be able to segment them in the way you would a persona-based marketing strategy that allows you to reach multiple stakeholders.

3. Define and personalize your content

A truly successful ABM campaign employs valuable content that places focus on crucial business challenges your target faces on a regular basis. Consider how your messaging and the content you produce can assist the target account with their personal challenges and tailor your content to ensure it's trustworthy, informational, and authoritative.

4. Choose relevant channels

To make sure your target accounts are genuinely engaging with your core messaging, it's important to utilize and leverage channels including mobile, social networks, and online mediums, among others. Many different industries and roles within those industries use specific channels to suit their needs, so making sure you're branching out to your targets on the right platform is essential to the success of your ABM initiative.

5. Offer Solutions

Individuals, regardless of their industry or role, crave solutions to the challenges in front of them, so getting to know those challenges is imperative. Once you've taken the time to understand the challenges of your target, provide content including whitepapers, blogs and eBooks that provide useful insights and ultimately drives engagement.

6. Measure & Mold

Once your account-based management strategy is in full swing, it's vital to measure all your marketing activity relating to your target accounts. Take the time to learn which channels and what content yields the best results and adapt, or mold, your campaign accordingly to ensure you're placing your resources into the right strategies.

Once your account-based management strategy is in full swing, it's vital to measure all your marketing activity relating to your target accounts. Take the time to learn which channels and what content yields the best results and adapt, or mould, your campaign accordingly to ensure you're placing your resources into the right strategies.

“To break down walls between sales and marketing, ABM is pretty close to a silver bullet in that it aligns programs’ dollars and focus behind the accounts that the sales teams cares about. That said, ABM is only as good as your visibility into your highest potential accounts and best-fit customer segments, which gets clearer over time. It’s most effective when deployed as part of a comprehensive set of targeting strategies - ” Dave Karel, Head of B2B Marketing, LinkedIn Marketing Solutions

In a world where less than 1% of leads turn into revenue-generating customers, ABM cuts through the limitations of more traditional digital marketing techniques and offers an increased level of power in terms of creating a fruitful dialogue with your target audience.

84% of marketers who measure ROI describe ABM as delivering higher returns than any other marketing approach; half of those cite significantly higher returns. Today's digital landscape is saturated with businesses and organizations purely focusing on inbound content marketing. While these techniques are still vital, to take your business to the next level and ensure long-term commercial success, employing a strong ABM strategy and reaching out to leads in a more account focused and targeted fashion is a must.

Start your ABM campaign today and reap the rewards tomorrow. It's really that simple.

Are you keen to ensure your business is ABM ready?

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Clodagh O'Brien
Senior Content Specialist