Account-Based Marketing (ABM) can turn your life (at least the professional side of it) upside down in the best way possible.
97% of marketers agree that ABM offers a higher ROI than any other marketing initiative they’ve tried.
Your ABM program helps you focus on quality over quantity. And while it won’t win you more clients; it will win you more valuable clients.
With a focus on those accounts that are the best fit for your company, you’ll spend less time chasing leads and more time getting to know and servicing the customers that will take your business to the next level.
Given this, it’s key that you focus on your metrics—more than you’ve ever had to before.
ABM and its associated marketing metrics are game-changers, but only if you leave behind everything you know about marketing and adopt these new principles.
Are you ready to use ABM to reach your most valuable clients? If so, we’ve put together a guide for those at any stage of their Account-Based Marketing program—from novice on up.
Keep reading to learn what ABM offers, what marketing metrics make the most of its potential, and how to avoid the most common mistakes marketers make in ABM.
A Quick Overview of ABM
Account-Based Marketing (ABM) sidelines the traditional idea of target markets and replaces it with individual key clients or accounts whose data show them to be a perfect fit for your business (or Ideal Client).
With ABM, your most valuable customers aren’t thousands of brand new customers. No, you don’t want one-time orders—you want customers who want to grow their relationship with your business.
To help target customers become loyal customers, you set up a highly personalized marketing plan that focuses on high-value clients first. These clients are the ones who already or could make up a significant amount of your monthly revenue.
By focusing on nurturing relationships rather than marketing services, you create the practice of forging a deeper understanding of your most important clients. By the end, you should know your most valuable customers intimately, understand how to win them for life, and show them that you deserve their business.
How ABM Grows Your Business
Ninety-seven percent of marketers say a dollar spent on ABM generates a more meaningful ROI than most other marketing efforts.
Why is ABM so successful?
Customization and personalization play the largest role.
Think about it. Who likes being on a mass email list? Even if your marketing team went through the trouble of turning on personalization features, everyone on that list knows hundreds or thousands of other people got the same email.
Your customers–the ones who make or break your business–don’t like finding those emails either. If you want them to offer you more money, and you can—and must—provide a more personal form of communication.
ABM doesn’t just grow your business by generating more valuable relationships. Its value also lies in what you don’t do: waste your sales team’s time on leads that were barely breathing when they landed on your desk.
So how do you start using Account-Based Marketing’s effectiveness to grow your own business? You’ll follow a rational trajectory that aligns your current customer.
1. Build Your Ideal Customer Profile
Your ideal customer profile isn’t your end user but an accurate depiction of what criteria customers meet to become valuable and viable leads. Remember that your ideal customer profile doesn’t look like the buyer personas you created in traditional marketing strategies.
Rather, see it as a road map to picking out your most valuable leads.
What criteria do you consider? Look at characteristics like:
- Market influence
- Profit margin from purchase
- Likelihood of becoming a repeat customer
From here, you’re better poised to build valuable leads using customer personas.
2. Fill Your Profiles Out with Data
Your market research begins with your list of leads developed in your ideal customer profile.
From there, you start optimizing your profile that identifies the key players. Your profiles on social media sites like LinkedIn are a great way to position yourself as an expert, create networks, and generate data.
Quick tip: Make sure that you validate all your email addresses before you use them to avoid waiting around for messages that will never come.
3. Write Content That Speaks to Them
With granular customer profiles, you’re ready to start building your ABM campaigns.
Your campaign should feature a marketing message that speaks directly to the specific needs and problems facing your target market.
When building content, use the data to step into the customer’s shoes and avoid taking their data literally. Knowing their name, role, and email address is normal in today’s world. Don’t ask them how their kids are or drop other bombs that show them you’ve seen their personal Instagram.
The best way to avoid awkwardness is to use the information that helps you reduce friction during the sales process. Focus more on their concerns like:
- Logistical challenges
- Specific features
- Personal benefits
How will you help them? What can you identify about their current or future needs that will make you hyper-relevant to their lives? Don’t be shy, let them know.
4. Marry Your Sales and Marketing Metrics
ABM is a marketing strategy, but not in the traditional sense.
You need your sales team (and your C-level executives) on board before you create and deploy your campaigns. Start helping your sales team buy-in to the process by explaining how ABM helps them. Then, develop your whole system with sales’ input and experience.
Once you’ve developed an alignment, look back at your profiles and personas. Do they match what sales have to say? If not, re-evaluate.
5. Track Everything
What are your key marketing metrics? How have you married these to your sales goals? ABM demands that teams track everything, so set up a relevant ABM tracking system before hitting send on your first email.
Once you’re set up, choose metrics that make the most sense to your pipeline. Most of these will fall into five categories including coverage, awareness, reach, engagement, and influence.
Don’t forget to make sure your marketing metrics also match your sales metrics. Measure both activity-based sales metrics and outcome-based sales metrics.
Having Trouble with ABM? This May be Why
Research from Demand and Integrate reported that 83 percent of B2B marketers say their employers intend to increase their ABM spending.
While the masses may flock to ABM, it won’t work out for everyone – not the first time. The reason isn’t that ABM fails as a B2B strategy. Instead, you can narrow these failures down to one of a few common mistakes or obstacles faced by businesses on their journey.
Are you having trouble with the effectiveness of your Account-Based Marketing strategy? Consider whether it might be the result of one of these three common errors.
1. Targeting the Wrong Accounts
The same Demand and Integrate study we noted above also asked marketers how they chose the accounts to target. Ninety percent of them said finding the right ones to hone was a huge obstacle.
If there were one piece of advice that any ABM practitioner can benefit from, then it would be to invest heavily in your account selection process.
All the subsequent steps of ABM only work when you choose the right account first and foremost.
So what are your best fit companies? Sangram Vajre, author of Account-Based Marketing for Dummies, suggests that you always begin by creating an ideal customer profile. Include data from your customer success team to find out which accounts you struggle to reach and service.
2. Faulty Data
If targeting the wrong accounts is the most common problem marketers face, then it follows that faulty or unreliable data follows closely behind.
Validating your ideal customer profile with real data is the first step to purging faulty data from your initial decision-making process. However, you should be getting rid of incorrect, irrelevant, and expired data throughout the process.
ABM requires a real-time connection to your target customer. A misleading profile warps the marketing process, stalls sales, and may even lead you to target the wrong accounts generally.
What is your data verification process? If you don’t know or don’t have one, set one up before you even start building your ideal customer profiles.
3. Struggling to Balance Marketing and Sales
The critical difference between ABM and traditional marketing is the successful formula of marketing and sales.
If you rely too heavily on marketing and fail to incorporate sales leadership, you’ll struggle to get your program off the ground.
To learn some really powerful ways to get Sales and Marketing to work more closely together, check out Hacking Marketing: Agile Practices to Make Marketing Smarter, Faster, and More Innovative
(It’s important to note that we are experimenting with Amazon’s marketplace, and we get a little affiliate $ if you buy through this link).
Re-set your marketing metrics to include alignment with sales goals and regular sales support.
ABM without asking for the sale is nothing but an expensive, highly-personalized billboard. Sure, you’re in their faces, but you don’t ask for anything in return. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
Refiguring Your ABM Strategy
ABM isn’t just a marketing and sales strategy. It’s a philosophy and a whole new way of doing business. When you adjust your sails to catch the ABM breeze, you build meaningful relationships with customers who matter most.
Wherever you are in the ABM process, remember that marketing metrics and data validation play essential roles throughout the strategy. You should be measuring and validating at each step to make sure your data is correct.
If you’re still looking for ways to increase your Account-Based Marketing program’s effectiveness, we’ve pulled together a few inspiring samples for you. Looking for even more? Check out this amazing Account-Based Marketing Infographic.