7 Steps to Follow When Starting an ABM Campaign

Vigil Viswanathan
May 20, 2022

Account-based marketing, or ABM, has emerged as the new industry standard for organisational marketing. In a nutshell, it's a hyper-targeted strategy in which a company communicates strategically and personally with carefully identified sales prospects. The efficiency with which you can find ideal customer profiles, narrow them down to in-market accounts, and connect with them on an individual basis is where ABM becomes intriguing. In ABM, the development through the buying cycle is highly customised, timely, and cost-effective. As that prospect progresses through the sales funnel, the sales team is fully informed about the individual's objectives and can thus have the most relevant communication. ABM boosts engagement, promotes more customised connections, and restores emotion to marketing communication's foundations.

A brief history of ABM

Don Peppers and Martha Rogers released "The One-to-One Future" in 1993, which predicted the shift from mass marketing to the focused, 1:1 marketing that exists today. Ever since, different tools and strategies have been introduced in an attempt to fulfil the goal of 1:1 marketing. The acronym "Account-Based Marketing" was coined by the ITSMA in 2004, further formalising the industry. ABM, which was created in the early 2000s as a method to link marketing and sales together around their most significant customers, has assisted many technological and professional services organisations in considering further than the immediate sales presentation and instead focusing on genuine client requirements.

Definition of account-based marketing

Account-based marketing (ABM) is a B2B approach that concentrates sales and marketing efforts on individual target accounts within a marketplace. An ABM approach concentrates resources for the client base on a limited group of identified accounts, rather than broad-reaching marketing efforts that reach the broadest numbers of potential clients. Then the marketing team concentrates all of its efforts, funding, and campaigns on a small number of target accounts in order to directly assist the marketing outcomes.

At this point, here are the

 7 steps you should take to start ABM

Organize your ABM team

Setting objectives, establishing priorities and KPIs, and outlining the function that ABM will serve at your company are all critical components of an effective ABM strategy. You'll need to put together a foundational ABM team before you make preparations for your first ABM initiative. This team's constitution will vary based on your company's priorities, but it should include team managers from sales, sales development, and marketing at a minimum.  

Higher and more productive degrees of involvement with relevant parties in target accounts are provided by well-structured and planned coordination, which increases the chances of conversion.

Establish your ABM vision and priorities

Marketing must constantly reinforce its aims and value in order to function properly. Marketing departments are under increased competition to show ROI as one of the major expenses in a corporation. 

Your account-based marketing approach will be driven by your objectives, so everyone on your primary ABM team including marketing, sales and customer experience teams must be on the same page.

For this to happen you would need a common goal that affects your KPIs and is in line with  sales and company goals.

The following are some of the most common objectives of an account-based marketing programme:

  • Releasing a new product and achieve X revenue goal 
  • Increasing market share in the current market by X%
  • Enhancing the value of current customers by X%
  • Increasing the number of markets, verticals, or segments in your portfolio

Determine your ideal target audience

A well-researched audience is essential for an effective ABM campaign. While you may have an idea of which firms you want to target at the outset, it's the individuals you need to get to know first. You may then have a better understanding of their problems and how your company might assist in providing a solution.

When it comes to discovering leads, consider chasing average or warm prospects that have been identified as potential prospects for your company. This ensures that they are familiar with your organisation and the value you can provide them.

Choose the right solution and channels for account-based marketing

For the following reasons, it would be hard to perform account-based marketing at scale without the developing network of ABM tools:

  • Instead of relying on emails and phone conversations, ABM technology allows you to communicate with consumers on their terms through digital channels.
  • Even if you don't have their contact details in your CRM, ABM technology allows you to connect not only to a specific lead, but also to the entire account.
  • The ABM technique is adaptable. Personalize your marketing depending on profiles, sales cycles, campaigns, or CRM activities.

In order to ensure the success of your existing account-based marketing strategy, opting for the right technology and tools is important. An effective ABM solution is critical for strengthening an ABM strategy, from identifying prospective accounts and nurturing them through personalised content, to reporting and making any required modifications to enhance the existing strategy. Adopting an end-to-end platform is often preferred by B2B marketers for its exceptional features that cover analytics, engagement monitoring, lead scoring, marketing automation, and tools for prospecting. 

Another way may entail adding other tools to your existing marketing tools that support them in every step of the ABM journey. For example, intent data helps businesses with necessary third-party customer data that allows the marketing and sales teams to access a range of demographic and behavioural data. This in turn helps teams to create specific buyer personas, which is crucial for identifying targeted accounts in the long run.

Apart from adopting various tools and software into your ABM strategy, selecting which channels to approach is also critical to getting the most out of your ABM strategy. In order to reach and properly engage with your targeted account, choose the right channels. Most marketers prefer using a combination of the best-suited channels rather than opting for a single one, as an integrated approach tends to have more impact in the engagement phase.

Personalising and crafting content

An ABM approach, contrary to the traditional marketing approach, relies mostly on hyper-personalised content and engagement that directly addresses a certain account’s requirements and current challenges. Based on the tiering system, the level of personalisation tends to differ in order to convert the top and most relevant accounts first with highly personalised and one-to-one content. The content delivery may encompass an array of different content, including emails, one-to-one chat support, webinars, in-person events, blogs and more.

Execute the campaigns

Upon identifying the target accounts, curating personalised content and selecting the proper channels and tools, the next step would be to execute the targeted campaigns. Since ABM is all about personalisation, the ABM campaigns should also be tailored to specific accounts. While running a campaign, the content delivered to each account should be curated specifically for them—addressing their specific needs and challenges. For a successful ABM campaign, make sure to collect the content assets, personalise them according to their unique requirements, and strategize further for each stage of the buying cycle.

To get the most out of your ABM campaigns, ensure you curate and distribute content both online and offline over a range of channels and platforms. Although the majority of the strategy involves approaching and engaging contacts online, offline interactions can also play a crucial role in converting prospective accounts. Alongside becoming more hyper-focused with the marketing team, your sales team will also gain further insight into each account as the relationship matures.

Measure and evaluate the results

Analysing and measuring the results is critical for evaluating the long-term success of your ABM campaign. Analysing engagement regarding website traffic, the opening rate of emails, lead scores, downloads, and more are some of the most important metrics when it comes to evaluating the performance of the campaign. Create a scorecard related to KPIs and analytics so that the sales and marketing teams can be on the same page. In short, besides generating reports for each account, keep track of the performance of the campaigns as well, for strategizing further.

Wrapping up

ABM has become the latest norm for strategic communication in the B2B marketing domain. This hyper-targeted approach is an integrated solution that focuses on each prospective account in a personalised manner. With ABM, businesses have altered the traditional marketing funnel into a more targeted one, which in turn increases the conversion rates for high-value accounts while shortening the sales cycle.

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