The average company has a wide range of customers. Certain customers might have smaller budgets. Other customers are key accounts, which typically spend a lot of money.
Finding and targeting the people and companies behind those key accounts happy is the foundation of account-based marketing (ABM).
If you haven’t heard of an account-based marketing strategy, that’s okay. I’m here to let you know about account-based marketing and why it’s so beneficial.
You’ll also learn how your business can utilize account-based marketing to keep those high-value accounts working with your company.
Table of Contents
What is account-based marketing (ABM)?
Commonly abbreviated as ABM, account-based marketing is a way for a company to focus its resources on important customers known as target accounts.
One of the main traits of an account-based marketing strategy is personalized messaging, which we’ll cover in the section below.
Why is an account-based marketing strategy beneficial?
Before you start an account-based marketing strategy, it’s smart to make sure this plan is right for your business. Here’s a look at the main benefits of account-based marketing.
Gets marketing and sales teams on the same page
One of the main problems many companies have involves communication. Specifically, problems and a lot of confusion can occur when there’s no alignment between your marketing and sales teams.
Fortunately, an account-based marketing strategy focuses on closely aligning sales and marketing teams by having them get on the same page.
This happens because account-based marketing involves sales and marketing workers utilizing the same budget, strategy, and goals.
Making a personal appeal to customers
Using an account-based marketing strategy lets your business realize its key customers.
When you understand your company’s high-value accounts, you can begin creating personalized messaging for these key customers.
And personalizing messaging can be incredibly valuable for your business. One study found that 70% of companies who personalize their messaging receive a 200% ROI!
Personalized campaigns let customers see how much they matter to your business.
I’m sure you have dealt with a time when a company’s processes did more harm than good. Relying on complicated processes can create confusion for people on your marketing and sales team.
Fortunately, an account-based marketing strategy lets your company and its team simplify processes. By focusing your sales and marketing efforts on a small number of key accounts, there’s less confusion for everyone.
How to create an account-based marketing strategy
With the basics out of the way, you can now discover how to form an account-based marketing strategy. Here’s the framework of how account-based marketing works.
Identifying your key sales and marketing team members
Before you start forming a target account list, it’s time to form your team! If you own a small business, you might be able to move your entire sales and marketing departments into one group.
However, larger companies might not want to move everybody into a single team. In this case, it’s good to take your sales and marketing rock stars (you know who they are) and put them in your key account marketing group.
Since the targeted clients in an account-based marketing strategy typically contain a company’s most important accounts, you don’t want to leave them in the hands of an under-performer.
Determining target accounts
An important factor of account-based marketing is delivering consistent experiences. First, it’s imperative to see what kind of marketing messages your company currently delivers to customers.
This is a great time to get your ABM team together to discuss how to personalize messages. Your team can do this by researching customers, gathering data about pain points, and seeing how these accounts link up.
It’s also important to look at spend when identifying target accounts. In most cases, target accounts consist of people or companies that spend a lot of money on your company’s products and services.
You’ll also want to research current key companies to find out how they’re doing. After all, you wouldn’t want to spend time and money targeting a company that’s about to shut down or enter into a new industry.
Creating a plan for consistent account experiences
It’s now time to get your sales and marketing teams together to create plans for each target account.
This is the stage where your sales and marketing all-stars set up funnels for specific accounts. At this stage, sales and marketing workers can also discuss what types of content might appeal to these key clients.
I’d also recommend that your teams understand who the decision-makers are for each account.
As your team works together, they’ll be able to fine-tune how to send engaging content to your key clientele.
Launching a successful ABM strategy
It’s now time to officially kick things off! When your team has a list of high-value target accounts, you can begin to launch your marketing efforts.
During this time, I’d also recommend having your sales reps and marketing staff meet with each other. These meetings allow everyone to understand what’s working well and where missteps are happening.
Here are some ideas you can use to reach out to prospective customers:
- Reach out to your target accounts on social media.
- Have your company rent a booth at conventions that target accounts will attend.
- Send out direct mail to clients of interest.
- Launch a retargeting campaign to appeal to members of your target audience
Tracking your account-based marketing efforts
Every great account-based marketing plan utilizes tools or programs to track its results. By tracking the results of your account-based marketing campaigns, everyone can learn what strategies went well and what didn’t work.
It might also be beneficial to have analytical information divided based on short and long-term results. You can also check out this data based on platform. Or you can combine data from all platforms into one merged graph or chart.
There can be many factors that determine success regarding targeting accounts. Some of the most commonly used key performance indicators (KPIs) regarding account-based marketing strategies include the following:
- How many individual accounts turned into new customers
- The average time it takes your account team to close a new deal
- How much revenue each key account brings to your company
Methods used to reach target accounts through ABM
Need a little extra inspiration? I totally understand! If the people in your sales or marketing team are struggling to get started, check out these account-based marketing tactics.
Hosting small events for key accounts
Many of the best account-based marketing strategies involve making a target client feel valued. One of the most effective ways to convert target accounts is through small, in-person get-togethers.
Companies often use this strategy on a particular account with a business lunch. This event lets your team meet with another company’s team to have a great meal and discuss business-related matters.
You don’t have to rely on only the classic business lunch to meet with clients. Think outside the box. Maybe you could host a fun event during the evening or on the weekend.
I recommend targeting your exact strategy based on the vibes and personality of each company. For instance, the leaders of a new startup might hate the idea of going golfing. Likewise, people working for a stuffy company probably don’t want to spend the afternoon getting drunk and playing video games at Dave and Buster’s.
An effective account-based marketing strategy involves retargeting. This inbound marketing strategy involves your company’s advertisements “following” a user from one website or platform to another.
Retargeting messages are forms of tailored marketing. Using retargeting in your marketing channels can also be incredibly effective. Research shows that about 70% of marketers currently use retargeting strategies.
This marketing method reaches decision-makers of those high-value targets through multiple channels.
Inviting decision-makers to attend webinars
You can also utilize webinars to appeal to key decision-makers who can’t make in-person meetings. First, marketing teams work to create content. Then, the sales team can work their magic by hosting the webinar and taking questions.
Best of all, webinars are extremely flexible. If you can present your topic in 30 minutes, great. However, I wouldn’t suggest that your webinar goes too long. Aim for the 30 to 90-minute range.
Use LinkedIn Company Targeting
If your company operates in the business-to-business (B2B) niche, you probably spend some time on LinkedIn each week. As it turns out, LinkedIn even has a feature that can help your company’s ABM strategies.
Known as LinkedIn Company Targeting, this feature allows users to keep track of leads, decision-makers, and other ABM-related data. This feature can also integrate with account-based marketing tools from companies like HubSpot or G2 Crowd to make things even easier.
If LinkedIn is already one of your company’s digital channels, it can’t hurt to give LinkedIn Company Targeting a try. The whole system takes a little time to set up (less if you can get your target account lists onto a spreadsheet. But Company Targeting is a powerful feature that will help with your account targeting efforts.
Make marketing messages personalized
Whether your company is trying to reach targets through inbound marketing or outbound marketing, getting personal is a great way to reach any lead. Now, I’m not talking about getting creepy. Instead, you’re just using things like a person’s first name or a company’s name in your marketing messages.
Even if you need to enter a few names manually, this simple and easy act can have a big impact on people getting bombarded with marketing messages every day.
Send a letter to your highest-value accounts
Sometimes, it pays to take the road less traveled. In the past, direct mail was the main way for companies to reach people. For certain industries, direct mail remains an integral part of an account-based marketing strategy.
However, most companies don’t send as much direct mail as they used to. Your company can use this fact to its advantage. If you come across company addresses as you conduct research on these businesses, why not send them direct letters?
Have your marketing and sales professionals draft up a letter or white paper that touches all of your targets’ pain points. You might be surprised at how many interested companies respond.
To wrap things up, an account-based marketing strategy is a valuable way to appeal to decision-makers with personalized content. If other marketing programs aren’t leading to revenue, a successful ABM program can help solve this problem by getting you in front of high-net-worth clients.
Alex Eagleton is a copywriter and digital marketer passionate about helping companies connect with customers. Throughout the past decade, he’s worked with companies including Referral Rock, Connecteam, and Ramsey Solutions. He’s a versatile writer who understands how to align with companies, truly matching their voices and tones.
When he’s not writing, he enjoys spending time with his dogs, reading, and playing guitar.
You can reach him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.