When devising your SaaS PPC strategy, it can be challenging to know where to begin, as well as knowing what marketing tools and tricks will be the most profitable.
One such tool is account-based marketing (ABM), which can be a fundamental option for all B2B brands – including Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).
If you’ve yet to be acquainted with AMB – or are familiar with it, but hold some skepticism about its value within your strategy, allow our SaaS PPC agency to talk you through everything you need to know about it – and how to kickstart your first campaign for guaranteed success.
1 – Account-Based Marketing (ABM) Explained
Account-based marketing more or less does exactly what it says on the tin – it’s B2B marketing aimed at business accounts, as opposed to single/one-person accounts/leads. It allows the marketer to create tailored, personalized ad campaigns aimed at professional organizations in order to build brand awareness, or generate/convert leads.
Typically, ABM will implement both the marketing and sales team to play their individual roles in generating, nurturing, and finally, converting leads into profitable customers. The reason it requires both teams is because different accounts will be at different areas within the sales funnel.
For B2B brands, ABM is often a lucrative marketing solution, as it enables them to target high-quality leads, as opposed to a broad audience of individuals.
2 – Why ABM Works For SaaS Brands
SaaS brands depend on lead generation in the same way that most B2B brands do, so account-based marketing can be beneficial. However, it isn’t the right strategy for every single SaaS marketing goal, so let’s look at knowing when the right time for ABM is….
Investment Resources Are Secure
Because ABM is resource-focused, an SaaS brand would need to make sure it’s within a ‘rapid’ stage, or in full maturity, owing predominantly to being a very data-reliant form of marketing.
A key Indicator that your SaaS brand is ready for an ABM campaign is that you are aware that you’re financially able to commit to an account-based marketing campaign, as well as possessing other important resources, such as time, sales and marketing staff, and any required training.
Deal size plays an important role in understanding whether you are ready for ABM, and the general rule of thumb is that any deal size under circa $50,000 probably isn’t there yet.
This is down to AMB being largely focused on a personalized approach, which means a higher level of financial investment, time, energy, and other resources are necessary.
You also need to consider your ROI (return-on-investment) before committing to ABM and whether or not the focus of your campaign will be fruitful.
Growth is Occurring
Growth stages and ABM are a match made in heaven. Why? Because they both focus on new customer acquisition.
However, it is important that the marketing and sales teams are both in alignment when it comes to AMB, and they should both agree on how prospective accounts should be selected, as well as who is allocated for the role of driving varying engagements across the differing touch-points, and how to communicate and collaborate with the accounts to keep them enticed and engaged.
Finally, your ICP (ideal customer profile) should be clear and understood by all. And as a mature SaaS brand, it’s very likely you already have a crystal clear and well-defined idea of your ICPs and how to target them.
If you don’t, it’s time to start building now, because your ICP will help you carve out the foundation of your ABM campaign. To do this, you will need to look at your early growth customer database, as well as your existing one.
Also, if you have stakeholders involved, it is important that they too understand your ICP and they are in agreement with your marketing focuses.
3 – Different Types of ABM Campaigns
As with most marketing options, there are different types of campaigns that are geared towards different factors. These are:
- 1: Many. This is perhaps the most common type of ABM and involves both marketing and sales teams combining resources and notions as to what accounts are the most profitable for the up and coming campaign. They do so by utilizing personalization software.
- 1:1 AMB. This is one-on-one ABM where the marketing and sales people of a company will approach the campaign with an ‘audience of one’ focus, meaning a generic message is delivered, but will be customized per account.
- 1: Few. This approach is audience segment-focussed, as opposed to account-focussed, meaning the campaign’s tailored message will be geared toward each particular account segment, as opposed to the overall account.
4 – Using ABM For SaaS
So, if you’re ready to bolster account-based marketing for your strategy to enhance leads, and ultimately, conversions, let’s get you started.
Define Your ICPs
First things first, if you’ve not identified your ideal customer profiles (AKA, your high-value accounts), now is the time to do so. This step is crucial to understanding who you’re targeting and why.
Once you’ve created a list of prospective accounts that are based on your ICP template, you can then start discerning what types of campaign will appeal to them.
When building your ICP template, look at aspects such as demographics and technographics, and anything else you need to know about who your product is ideal for.
Identify Specific Targets
This means the person/s within the accounts who you would like to view your campaign. This could be c-level staff or company buyers. Not everyone within a company will be interested in your campaign, because it won’t be relevant to all of them, so identify who it is relevant to and consider them the point of contact within that account.
Personalize Your Message
Advertising campaigns are always more effective when the lead feels like it is aimed at them and only them, so this is where your personalization tactics will factor in.
This includes conducting research into the type of campaigns that are data-proven as the most successful for your type of audience. This includes looking at such factors as industry, and what contact method works best for it (AKA, what channels).
When choosing your channel/s, remember the key focus behind your ABM: opening up a line of dialogue between you and the lead, and then enticing them into investing their time and focus (and hopefully their money) in your product.
With ABM, you have two options: you can use your campaign to go straight in for the kill (selling the product), or to start building a relationship with the lead, enabling you (or your sales team, more specifically) to nurture them and then ultimately bring them in for conversion later.
Irrespective of which approach or channel you opt for, don’t lose sight of keeping the message/dialogue personalized throughout the generating and nurturing process.
Launch Your Campaign
Your campaign should be targeted and coordinated, and if it is, it’s ready to be launched. Because of ABM metrics, you will have a good idea of who is engaging with your campaign and who isn’t, and by regularly monitoring this data, you can optimize your ad as and when it is needed.
The purpose of ABM is to help quickly shift leads towards the end of the sales funnel, and if that is happening, you can be sure that your campaign is working. This is especially applicable if you implement integration tools within your ABM.
Harnessing tools designed to elevate your ABM is also a surefire way to generate success, so do your research and find ones that work for you.
Relationships > Conversions
Many marketers rely on ABM to nurture relationships, as opposed to just launching a campaign for the sake of an immediate sale.
All relationships should be nurtured towards the one and only end-goal: conversion. And the way to nurture effectively is to always keep the communication personalized. This will keep them engaged while you educate them on why your products can remedy their pain-points.
5 – How to Measure ABM Performance
Once your campaign is live, it is crucial that you regularly monitor the performance so that you can optimize it (if needed). It will also give you key insights as to what works well and what doesn’t for future reference.
As with other types of digital marketing, your metrics of choice largely depend on your campaign’s goal. Certain metrics to monitor include:
Average Order Value (AOV)
This focuses on the average dollar amount that a lead will spend throughout the duration of their engagement with your brand. The longer you spend nurturing relationships with leads, the higher their value becomes (or it should).
The reason it’s important to monitor this (especially during and after campaigns) is because if the AOV has plateaued or decreased, then it means your ABM isn’t performing as it should. This means re-evaluating your marketing strategies and whether or not the account is the right one for your brand.
Targeted leads should be engaging with your brand and if they aren’t, your ABM strategy may well be ineffective.
The choice of KPIs (key performance indicators) you use will be something your brand decides upon itself – we can’t tell you the right ones, because it depends on the campaign type and your audience, etc. – but an example of some engagement activities to monitor include:
- Email opens
- Site visits
- Form fills
- Phone conversations
- Chatbot interactions
Customer Churn Rate
Churn rate means the rate in which leads cease interacting with your brand. If the rate proves to be higher than the anticipated average, optimization or a rethink of the target audience is needed.
Other factors that contribute to a high churn rate include ineffective customer service, faults with the product, or unappealing campaign content. Either way, it is a problem that needs remedying, and to remedy it, it needs monitoring in the first place.
A big part of ABM is nurturing relationships and if those relationships become strained or non-existent, you’ve lost any chance of a conversion.
We touched upon the benefits of software (tools) for your ABM efforts earlier, but just to expand on that, it is important to acquire the relevant technologies to elevate your campaign (if your budget allows, of course).
When it comes to software, as with most other things, quality far outweighs quantity. You don’t need a toolbox full of options – just one or two of the right ones for your campaign. Failing that, outsourcing a company that focuses predominantly on SaaS marketing will save you the hassle of worrying about any of this.
6 – SaaS ABM Strategy: Top Tips
Finally, no SaaS ABM strategy is a guaranteed success, but with a few little tips of the trade, you can be sure your campaign is onto a winner.
Prioritize High-Value Accounts
It’s a no-brainer, but keeping the highest-value accounts at the front of your marketing focus will be the best way to see a handsome return-on-investment. This means focusing on research into which accounts hold the most opportunities for your brand, AKA, are most likely to convert, and which are most likely to become life-long customers.
This can be achieved by account/lead profiling. Here’s where to begin:
- Research your competitors. Are they drawing in certain lead segments that perhaps you have missed? If so, is this segment worth focusing on?
- Focus on lead characteristics. E.g.: company size, infrastructure, financial capabilities, and so on. This will enable you to gain insight into where they are in the sales funnel.
- Utilize your CRM. Your customer relationship management system (if you have one) can play a leading role in your marketing because you can use it to run scans into current clients and whether they could stand to be retargeted for your current campaign.
We never stop learning, right? This is absolutely applicable to digital marketing too, so be sure to provide ongoing training to your sales and marketing departments so that they can keep up with the latest tech developments, tools, trends, and so on.
This includes certain areas within digital marketing including ABM. Investing in training always sees a good ROI and brand growth, especially in ever-evolving industries like digital marketing.
‘The Buying Committee’
Many brands have more than one product-buying decision-maker. In fact, many larger scale corporations have a minimum of 5 people who sign off an agreement for purchasing. This means targeting more than just one person within each account.
Again, this stems back to our good friend, research. Researching the key buying decision-makers enables you to create tailored campaign content that increases account conversion, because it isn’t just aimed at one individual.
So, research the whole ‘buying committee’ within each company and build a relationship with them in order to create personalized ads.
It’s the 21st century, so opting for a single marketing channel for targeting is often fruitless. Instead, your best bet is to go in for the kill with multi-channeling.
Each account will likely have different touchpoints that open them up for a line of communication, so cover all your bases by looking into:
- Email marketing
- Social media
- Pay-per-click (PPC)
- LinkedIn InMail
And much more.
Our final pearl of wisdom we can offer is nurturing your leads down the funnel by way of email.
Even with the continual digital advances of today, email nurturing is still a strong and reliable way of guiding a lead to becoming a customer – and it can fit wonderfully into your ABM campaign because you can use the campaign to entice the lead into filling out a form for something ‘free’ (such as a webinar or eBook), which then allows you to get hold of their email address to then target in the future.
Once you have their email details, you can focus on nurturing them towards the end of the funnel. Yes, it can be a lengthy process, but it can also strongly result in a lifelong profitable relationship with the account.
You’re now fully knowledgeable on the subject of ABM and how to go about launching a campaign. As with all marketing, the secret lies within your audience research; once you have done this, you can be clear on whether account-based marketing is the right approach for your strategy.
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