Account-based marketing (ABM) is one of the most effective B2B marketing and sales strategies. The fundamental idea is simple: Stop wasting time pursuing unqualified leads. Instead, target high-value accounts that would make excellent customers.
ABM is especially effective when powered by content marketing. Marketing and sales teams that take an ABM approach together can be up to 6% more likely to exceed their revenue goals than those that don’t. And 87% of account-based marketers say that ABM initiatives outperform other marketing investments.
Sounds great, right? But how do you get those results? To begin with, your marketing and sales teams must be aligned and committed to the process. They also need to agree on a few fundamentals: (1) What qualifies as a “high value” account? (2) Which accounts and individual contacts should be pursued? (3) What methods will be used to attract and delight those accounts and contacts?
In addition to your sales and marketing staff, other teams such as finance and customer service should be aware of and aligned with your ABM efforts. Once everyone is on the same page, you’ll start to see higher-quality leads coming through the pipeline and fewer leads falling through the cracks. Open communication and mutually agreed-upon goals can make a huge difference to your revenue down the line.
Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of ABM and how you can use it to win more customers.
Benefits of Account-Based Marketing
ABM boosts ROI.
The intent behind ABM is to dedicate resources exclusively to accounts that are a good fit for your company. Doing so can help boost ROI because resources are not being wasted on poor leads. One great thing about ABM is that calculating ROI generally becomes more straightforward. You can easily determine whether or not the investment in a specific account paid off. This comes in handy later when you’re determining which additional accounts to pursue as part of your ABM strategy.
ABM works alongside content marketing.
Contrary to popular belief, ABM and content marketing can — and should — work together harmoniously. Content can be used to attract and nurture target accounts. The approach to content creation is just slightly different because you’re marketing to a specific individual rather than a more general buyer persona. The vast majority of your ABM content can also be used again. For example, a case study created to nurture a specific account can also be posted to your website to attract new leads.
ABM fosters long-term relationships.
The goal of ABM is to create and retain long-term, loyal customers and brand advocates. Eventually, these relationships, based on mutual trust and respect, will help you expand your business by creating referrals and increasing customer lifetime value.
ABM excels for companies with long sales cycles or high price points.
ABM is highly effective for brands that sell products or services with long sales cycles and/or higher price points. With inbound methods alone, you might attract only a handful of prospects who would be willing and able to pay for your offerings. ABM helps you target those specific prospects. It is also well-suited for long sales cycles because it involves developing long-term relationships.
ABM Strategies for Better Leads
Once your teams commit to the process and come to an agreement about goals, key performance indicators and budget, you can dive into the details. When you’re ready to start your ABM strategy, the following tactics will help you attract and delight high-value prospects.
Carefully select target accounts.
Since you’ll be spending significant resources on each target account, choosing the right ones to pursue is important. Here are some tips for finding accounts to target:
- Start with your current customers. Identify the accounts that have been the most successful and greatest partners for your business. Then, identify the characteristics that make those accounts special. Create a list of new accounts that share similar characteristics. These are also likely to make great customers and may be worth pursuing.
- Create or review your buyer personas. Use LinkedIn to find actual prospects who fit each of your buyer personas then evaluate whether their current company would be a good target account.
- Use LinkedIn to find companies related to those that are already on your target list. Simply visit the LinkedIn company page of your target account, and scroll down the right side to view “Similar Pages.”
- Go through your current list of CRM contacts to see whether there are any accounts that don’t currently have a deal attached to them.
- Find out which companies or leads have engaged with your content in the past.
After creating your list of target accounts, the next step is to identify specific contacts that your sales and marketing teams will interact with.
Create personalized content.
ABM largely depends on creating personalized content for each target account. Creating a large amount of personalized content can be time-consuming, which is why many brands tend to partner with an experienced content marketing agency for ABM. That said, many pieces of content can be repurposed with only minor adjustments.
Always be mindful about sending valuable, relevant content to target accounts as a whole and to your contacts specifically. For example, if your target account is a large hospital, and the stakeholder is a clinician, you might send a case study about nurses using your product at a rival hospital.
Offer personalized services to your prospects. For example, if you’re a healthcare SaaS brand, you could offer to evaluate how your product would work with a prospect’s current software or you could show them how their competitors are already using your product. Monitor your prospects via social media, PR outlets and Google Alerts. Keeping up to date with their activities is crucial to delivering timely, personalized content.
Regularly interact with your prospects via social media and email. Have your sales rep connect with them on LinkedIn and other social media platforms. Interact with their social media content when appropriate. One excellent way to start a conversation with prospects is by consulting them for expert commentary on a blog post or podcast. Tag them on social media once the content has been released.
Automation and advanced targeting can help improve your outreach efforts by tracking prospects’ interactions with your brand. If a contact from a target account visits your website, for example, you can track which pages they visited using advanced software. This information can help you create and send content that is tailored to their needs and interests.
Ask for referrals and create brand advocates.
Even after you’ve closed a deal, continue using ABM to delight your customers. Continuing to nurture your relationship makes it much more likely that customers will provide referrals, participate in case studies, leave reviews and, ultimately, become brand advocates.
It can seem uncomfortable to ask for reviews or referrals, but most brand advocates are more than happy to sing your praises. Their reviews will also help future prospects because 82% of B2B decision-makers start the buying process with a referral.
Once you’ve built relationships, don’t be afraid to use them. Have you noticed that your customer has a LinkedIn connection with someone at your target account? Ask for an introduction and find out if they’d be willing to provide a testimonial. You could also create a referral program and have the account rep send a personalized request for participation.
Account-based marketing is one of the most successful strategies that your marketing and sales teams can adopt. It can be implemented alongside inbound methods and is easily supported by content marketing. Most importantly, marketers and sales professionals will attest that ABM is an effective way to attract and retain their ideal customers. Learn more about the benefits of partnering with an experienced content marketing agency here.