8 Essential Steps To Build A Winning Account Based Marketing Strategy

Those new to the world of account based marketing may be wondering what all the fuss is about.

For B2B brands, it is an invaluable tool that enables a brand to leverage accounts (as opposed to just individuals) to increase their sales revenue by way of an ad campaign. But unlike most marketing strategies, there is a twist; a secret weapon, if you will.

Account based marketing has a powerful tool in their belt: a sales team. Find out how this union of teams can make for a sturdy and effective marketing strategy.

Understanding Account Based Marketing (ABM)

ABM works to combine both marketing and sales to build a unique B2B advertising strategy which focuses solely on company growth by fostering various accounts which exude profitability.

Modern digital marketing relies almost exclusively on data collection to outline appropriate audiences, as well as other campaign factors, to build personalised ad campaigns which focus on the buyer’s experience.

The power of ABM lies within the fact that these campaigns can be extremely bespoke per account, instead of just a broad narrative aimed at the collective (and hoping for the best). 

Because you harness your focus on a smaller audience, this allows for the required level of tailoring to appeal to each user’s wants and needs, meaning the results are often more rewarding.

ABM has become a popular weapon for B2B marketers and PPC agencies, owing to its success rate, which circa 85% of companies credit for a positive ROI.

ABM vs Trad Advertising

As we outlined above, more traditional types of advertising – even digital advertising – bolsters a more wider and generic approach, which isn’t always rewarding. 

ABM will take a narrow, pinpointed approach to target users (accounts) that statistical data has shown are very likely to convert. Essentially this approach can be sized up as the “quality over quantity approach”.

This isn’t to say every other strategy isn’t rewarding – it just means that if engagement for the purpose of aligning marketing and sales is top priority, ABM can be extremely lucrative.

As the title suggests, ABM also focuses primarily on targeting accounts (which is why it’s so powerful for B2B brands), which the powerhouse of marketing and sales combined can create campaign content personalised to each account to encourage conversion by building an airtight rapport with them.

Building Your ABM Strategy

So now that we know what ABM is and why it’s effective, let’s look into the 8 essential steps to create the right strategy for your brand.

  1. Combine Marketing & Sales

The secret weapon of ABM is the uniting of the two teams (marketing and sales). So much so, that ABM simply wouldn’t be effective without one or the other.

It is fundamental that both teams are on the same page during every step of the ABM process, and, in the preliminary stages, your marketing team may find that the sales team is wary of focusing their efforts on a smaller-scale audience. The way to remedy this is by ensuring that they understand what ABM is and why it is required in the first place.

The sales team needs to understand that two of their biggest general challenges (low-quality leads and a lack of relevant content) can be doctored by the ABM approach because it focuses on targeting users at the beginning of the buying journey, who are considered “hot leads”, heightening the chance of conversion.

Once the sales team is on board, now the two teams can start to establish the campaign goals. When brainstorming this, here are some questions to consider while focusing on ABM:

  • What do we want to achieve?
  • Are we launching a product or service?
  • Are we targeting new customers or focusing on existing ones?

Once the overall goal has been outlined, it is important that a realistic campaign timeline is established and that there is regular communication between the two teams to ensure everyone stays on the same page.

  1. Account Persona Research

The next part of the process is to establish the right accounts in which to target. This is done by conducting research into the correct account personas. When doing this, it is wise to consider:

  • What the missions and objectives of your ideal accounts are.
  • Is your company already dealing with any high-value accounts? 
  • The company size and their growth trajectory.
  • Spending patterns and rev model.
  • How they are currently tackling the problems your brand can help with (what tools are they using? etc.)

Before your campaign process can go any further, it is imperative that both marketing and sales are in complete agreement as to which accounts to target.

  1. Choose the Accounts

This is what you will need to do when selecting the right accounts to target:

  • Acquire a list of accounts from the sales team and a sign-off from the marketing team.
  • If you’re retargeting, acquire a list of high-quality accounts that will likely invest again.
  • Use marketing automation to generate a list of accounts, if the goal is to improve current demand.
  • Use external services to build customer profiles if need be.
  1. Audience Segmentation

Once both teams are agreed on which accounts to target, now begins the task of creating the audience segments. A good way to do this is to segment via audience size and purchase stage.

Account Size

It’s likely your accounts will differ in size, in which case they will need different levels of attention and nurturing. Let’s look at the three sizes:

  • Large accounts: typically these will have multiple stakeholders and buying centres, and will require one-on-one attention, and often, bespoke problem-solving.
  • Medium accounts: Because of the smaller number of stakeholders, their need for bespoke problem-solving and focused one-on-one attention will be there, but to a lesser degree than that of large accounts.
  • Small accounts: These require the least amount of one-on-one attention and can be targeted in segments.

Purchase Stage

You will find that most – if not all – of your accounts are at different stages of the funnel, and this will need to be catered to when segmenting your audience. Let’s breakdown each stage:

  • Prospects (earliest stage): targeting them via brand awareness helps them when they’re identifying various problems and looking into appropriate solutions.
  • In pipeline: these accounts will already be well-aware of the challenges vexing them and will be in the research stage of solution-finding.
  • Customers: these leads may already have an account with you and will be the focus of upsell or retargeting campaigns. You can also reach out to them for invaluable feedback about past sales experiences.

5. Get Personal

This means creating personalised content and messaging with the aim of solving your audiences’ problems. Keep in mind that content should always be aimed at the decision-makers of the accounts, which can help you with personalising the content, thus making it more effective.

Content should be created focusing on the specific needs of each account (bearing in mind which area of the funnel they are in). Also, different content approaches may be required for different accounts – do you research as to which works best. These options are usually:

  • Social media
  • Video
  • Email marketing
  • Webinars
  • Programmatic advertising
  • Articles/whitepapers

TOP TIP: Always A/B test your content before launching it to see which approach garners the best engagement.

6. Consistency is Key

This means being consistent with the buyer’s journey experience – particularly if you’re retargeting current accounts. 

Personalisation is important here too because it makes the account feel special and like they are the only one you care about! It is important to keep personalisation tone consistent throughout the entire funnel process in order to keep the customer’s interest piqued and trust established. Consistency is key, through and through.

Also, make sure that marketing and sales teams are in permanent alignment throughout the process. This helps add to customer experience. Everyone in both the marketing and sales teams needs to know each account in and out to maintain this consistency.

7. Engage & Distribute

Now is the time to start attracting and engaging with accounts by distributing the content you have created. Where your sales team steps in at this stage is to create a permanent strong line of communication by building relationships, setting up meetings, making calls, arranging demos/trials, etc.

By deploying this tactic, the conversion time is considerably quicker than with other marketing strategies. And if you’re trying to attract leads who have expressed interest in your brand prior to your campaign, inbound marketing is a good solution. 

Keep engagement high with certain methods:

  • Blogs
  • Events
  • Industry publications
  • Paid advertising
  • Newsletters
  • Targeted social media posts

8. Measuring & Optimisation

As with other strategies, keeping a close eye on your metrics is paramount. You will need to know which AMB metrics to track and create reports with, meaning your KPIs will need to be focussed on actual revenue success, as opposed to just standard lead generation. This needs to be the case for both the marketing and the sales team, which is why strong communication and rapport is imperative.

Other AMB metrics to consider include:

  • Pipeline influence
  • Demand gen by account
  • Pipeline creation

Conclusion

Now that you’re aware of how beneficial account based marketing is for B2B brands – as well as how to ignite your first campaign – you can expect a lucrative revenue increase by uniting your marketing and sales team to target accounts.

If you’d like to learn more about how we help B2B SaaS and Tech companies grow their MRR through online paid advertising, contact us online or send us an email today at info@getuplead.com to speak with someone on our team.

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