6 Best Practices to Consider Before Starting an Account-Based Marketing

Vigil Viswanathan
June 10, 2022

Account-Based Marketing is a strategy for coordinating personalised marketing and sales initiatives in order to promote opportunities and enhance engagement at individual accounts. ABM has an edge over other marketing tactics in that it avoids a one-size-fits-all approach to addressing broad markets.

Here are the 6 best practices that you should definitely consider while creating your own ABM plan

  1. Define an objective that works for both sales and marketing
  2. Have a dedicated team to run ABM
  3. Use existing customer data to create the ICP
  4. Choose not more than 3 channels for distribution
  5. Personalize content for each segment
  6. Align sales and marketing before anything else

Instead, ABM is used to focus on single client and treat them as separate market segment. This laser-focused business approach focuses solely on a potential company with several business units you haven't yet explored.

Implementing an account-based marketing strategy can be an effective way to build momentum with your highest-value, highest potential accounts, with the opportunity to generate better, more profitable customer engagement and enhance turnover. The specific actions included in any given campaign are determined by an organization's starting position or stage of ABM maturity, which is influenced by the amount of account-focused knowledge available.

Irrespective of whether a company can address a specific individual, a business account or vertical level, or is merely commencing with an inbound framework, the steps below can help your ABM process experience the optimum results.

1. Define your campaign's objectives

While you may have broader marketing objectives and track progress using metrics like pageviews, engagement, and clickthrough, the KPIs for ABM are often target account development, new decision-maker engagements, and business goals like account revenue growth. 

You'll need a data-driven strategy underpinned by clear organisational objectives before starting an ABM campaign. 

2. Form a dedicated ABM team

After determining the campaign goals, the first step is to form groups dedicated to developing and implementing your ABM strategy. Your marketers can create content that responds to the commonly asked queries by key accounts. Then distribute them to the sales staff to use during sales calls. Sales assistance is essential for converting a highly qualified prospect into a long-term client. The same may be valid for client satisfaction and support. To generate personalised content and experiences for targeted customers, every department in an organisation must collaborate together. 

3. Use existing customer data to choose your target segment

Before sales and marketing teams can focus on delivering highly tailored messaging and spend time and effort on the campaigns, the high-valued accounts need to be identified. Your best clients are the focus of an effective account-based marketing strategy since these are the high-value accounts that generate most of the revenue for the company. They may also choose to upgrade or purchase more services in the future.

You'll need data to locate your high-value accounts to run a successful ABM campaign. To find these accounts, leverage your CRM to find high value accounts in your existing customer list.

 Then create your ideal customer profile, identify the commonalities between them (ICP) including firmographic, geographic, and behavioural data can be included. 

Instead of looking at the deal size, consider all the elements to identify a pattern and the stakeholders to whom you should market directly. Make sure the sales and marketing teams are also in sync when identifying the demographic and behavioural commonalities among your high-valued customers.

Selecting the target accounts doesn’t involve guesswork and requires a few steps for identifying the high-convertible accounts. Below are some of the factors to consider while selecting the target accounts for your ABM campaign:

ICP: ICP, or ideal customer profile, refers to the criteria that determine the accounts that might be the best fit for your existing TAL.

Product fit: Determine which companies outside of your target account list could be a good match by evaluating the sales. If they have a strong selling case, it can be safe to conclude these companies are good fits for your products or services.

CRM data: Check which accounts are showing high engagement by evaluating the historical CRM data in order to identify the high-value accounts.

Deal size: determine which accounts offer the highest deal closings; however, ensure that these accounts have engaged with your company on a consistent basis rather than being one-time purchasers.

4. Channels - Choose a 2 or 3 not all 

Following the identification of the suitable accounts, each campaign will require its own personalised messaging to be delivered via the right channels. Not only is messaging needs to be tailored to the organization, but it is also tailored to the individual. 

ABM aims to reach out to a number of people at various levels inside an organisation. Incorporate information about their preferred social networking sites, webpages, and even podcasts in your ideal customer profile. Then decide which channels you'll use to distribute your content while targeting these people.

Here a few that are frequently used by SAAS companies

Ads and Landing pages: You can feature unique content, graphics, deals, and forms on personalised landing pages, which are generally among the most successful ABM approaches because you'll keep driving other marketing messages back to them.

Peer-to-peer: Another thing to keep in mind when engaging with top-level executives is that you should allocate your own corporate personnel to the target account's peer. All components of this interaction should, of course, be supported by the marketing and sales teams.

Direct mail: Even though it's within the same account, your strategy for C-Level Execs will be different. If the C-Suite is an older generation that is less responsive to digital marketing strategies and less likely to reply to unsolicited emails or comments on social media, direct mail can be a useful choice.

It’s only after determining the right channels that you should focus on creating personalised content that addresses each account’s pain points and preferences. Prioritizing the channels that have already proved to be highly profitable for your business so far is also another way to determine the appropriate channels for your business.

5. Personalising content according to each account

When it comes to effective marketing and sales strategies, personalisation and customisation are undoubtedly two of the best ways to create meaningful customer relationships. In both B2C and B2B marketing, the importance of personalising campaigns is equally crucial and worth considering. In your ABM campaign, make sure to develop a personalised customer experience at each stage of the sales funnel. From reaching your website to engaging with the marketing team, the relevancy of the content should be intact.

Use your blog as a source if it's full of high-quality, instructive content on areas related to their challenges. It's a crucial step in moving people from being intrigued to being engaged. Using ad remarketing, you may retarget stakeholders who have left without converting.

At each point of the customer lifecycle, you want to have content that suits your key accounts. To guarantee that you're communicating with your target buyer's specific requirements, pain points, and difficulties, always incorporate relevancy and context.

6. Aligning marketing and sales teams together 

ABM is a synchronised, personalised approach that necessitates that these two teams, and everyone in them, be on the same page and work together to ensure the success of the campaign. It's also worth noting that just because sales and marketing are aligned doesn't mean they're communicating in the same way. 

If Sales and Marketing don't coordinate their operations and aren't on the same page with messages and KPIs, they'll be working against one another, which can hinder your ABM strategy and upset your target accounts. Brand awareness, brand recognition, and lead generation are all goals of marketing communications. Sales messaging should be prepared as a follow-up to a lead, with the goal of providing even more value.

If your sales and marketing departments aren't in sync, your ABM campaign will underperform. To be successful, the ABM approach requires support from all stakeholders. Make sure to regularly conduct sales/marketing catch-ups to analyze tasks, assess account performance, and brainstorm new ideas to stay on track.

Wrapping up

Whether you are implementing an ABM strategy for the first time or trying to incorporate it into your existing marketing strategy, starting this complex process can be daunting at times. Apart from using the best practices, from setting up a dedicated team and identifying the high-value accounts to personalising content and aligning sales and marketing teams, companies should also measure and track the results to ensure the effectiveness of a campaign.  

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