If you are one of those B2B marketers who feel generating leads is hard to go by, then,...
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Account-based marketing (ABM) is popular for its targeted approach, with 87% of B2B marketers noting higher ROI than traditional methods. Its personalized strategy tailors efforts to specific accounts, significantly yielding close rates.
Over the years, ABM has evolved, adapting to technological changes, buyer behavior, and marketing needs. Additionally, ABM's precision is skyrocketing with more refined data collection and cleansing tools and technologies.
Thus, to help you make the best of ABM, this guide curates ten advanced strategies for B2B companies like yours.
So, implement these strategies to level up your sales and marketing efforts.
10 Advanced ABM Strategies Checklist
Despite being one of the best demand generation methods, only 17% of marketers leverage a mature ABM system. You can use this information as an advantage and refine your ABM practices.
Here is the checklist of the ten best strategies to look out for:
1. Apply a Goal-Setting Framework
Establish clear and specific objectives for your ABM initiatives. Ensure that you set highly realistic benchmarks you aim to achieve. You can do so by applying effective goal-setting frameworks like:
- SMART goals
- MASTER Goals
Let's understand these frameworks in detail:
|Provide a structured approach to goal setting, ensuring clarity and attainability.
|Emphasize the alignment of individual or team goals with the broader mission and vision of the organization. It includes elements to maintain motivation and relevance.
|Focus on outcome-driven performance. It promotes agility and adaptability in achieving goals.
The key is setting challenging, ambitious objectives with measurable results, promoting continuous improvement, and aligning with the organization's broader goals.
3. Select the Right Accounts
Numerous accounts may fall within your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) or target buyers. But not all of them have the same demand or align with your product's service capabilities. Therefore, you must identify accounts facing challenges that your solutions can address effectively.
Suppose you run a software company that provides project management tools. Initially, you may assume that your ideal customers are businesses in various industries looking for project management solutions. However, you might discover a more specific pattern by analyzing your most successful customers.
Upon closer examination, your most successful customers are not just businesses. Instead, they are software development companies with distributed teams. These companies often have unique project management needs for coordinating efforts across different time zones.
Considering the example, here's how you can find the right accounts:
- Examine your largest deals and repeat/renewed buyers
- Analyze activities that led to successful deals
- Examine support tickets or consulting engagements with these customers
- Conduct multiple interviews with sales and service teammates
- Identify themes and patterns from team feedback
- Focus on accounts whose logos and testimonials enhance brand legitimacy
3. Pick a Relevant ABM Approach:
When reaching your selected accounts, you must choose which strategic ABM approach fits best. There are three critical ABM approaches:
- 1:1 or Strategic ABM
- 1:Few or ABM Lite
- 1:Many or Programmatic ABM
Though an expert ABM agency can pick and execute the best approach for your business, you should know the basics:
It is like a precision strike in ABM. It's super personalized and tailored to a single high-value account.
Use this when you're dealing with those big fish that could make a significant impact on your business.
The approach is like a pilot campaign, targeting a small cluster of accounts. It's not as laser-focused as 1:1, but you're still personalizing your strategy for a selected group.
1:Few is perfect when you have a handful of accounts with similar characteristics or needs. You can balance personalization with more scalability.
It casts a wider net, targeting a larger set of accounts with shared traits. It's more about efficiency and reaching a broader audience.
Go for 1:Many when your target market is diverse, and you want to make an impact across multiple fronts.
4. Build an ABM List
It's not a list of accounts/companies you want to target. But, an ABM list targets high-value companies that should be your paying customers. To create such a high-quality list, do the following:
Check Lead Data Accuracy
Given the heavy reliance of ABM campaigns on data, precision is a must. Your marketing team needs to ensure the accuracy of any existing lead data they have. Plus, they need to maintain proper data formatting and regular data cleansing. A reliable lead management software can be helpful here.
Use Tiers to Prioritize Leads
Once you collect accurate lead data, you must segment and structure it. Use the Three-Tiered Strategy to list ABM leads based on priority. Here's how:
|Best-fit accounts aligned with your ICP that intend to do business. They have the potential for cross-selling and upselling services.
|Accounts meet most ICP criteria with demonstrated buyer intent. They may lack ideal size in terms of revenue or deal size but align with critical standards.
|Accounts meeting some ICP criteria with demonstrated intent (e.g., website visits, content downloads, newsletter sign-ups). These are your lower-priority targets.
Establish ABM List Ownership
Assign a dedicated owner to your ABM list. A successful and outcome-oriented ABM strategy flourishes when there is organizational alignment and accountability.
Designating a point of contact for your Target Account List (TAL) helps avoid the common issue of too many individuals involved. While a collaborative approach is beneficial, having one person take ownership and be recognized as the primary decision-maker is crucial.
5. Run Outbound ABM Campaign
90% of companies aim to generate new business with ABM efforts. If you relate to them, incorporating outbound ABM marketing is the best thing you can do.
It'll enable you to strategically engage with your target accounts' personas to build rapport. Utilize various channels for effective outreach:
- Reference previous interactions with prospects, such as LinkedIn engagement or email exchanges.
- Focus on building a connection and understanding their requirements over closing a sale.
- Identify key decision-makers, influencers, and relevant groups on LinkedIn.
- Connect with them and engage through personalized messages.
- Share relevant content, comment on their posts, and participate in industry discussions.
Tradeshows and Events
- Attend industry tradeshows and events where your target accounts are present.
- Schedule meetings in advance and leverage the opportunity for face-to-face interactions.
- Distribute relevant materials to get consented contact information for follow-ups.
6. Create a Cross-functional ABM Team
A successful ABM strategy needs close collaboration across sales, marketing, and customer success teams. Thus, you must build a cross-functional department working collectively for shared progress. Here's how you can make a perfect team:
- Assemble a team with diverse skill sets, including marketing, sales, content creation, data analysis, and customer success.
- Ensure representation from various departments to bring different perspectives and expertise.
- Foster collaboration by emphasizing the importance of each team member's role in the ABM strategy.
- Establish clear communication channels to ensure all team members agree regarding goals, strategies, and target accounts.
- Conduct regular cross-functional meetings to review progress, share insights, and address challenges.
- Invest in technology and tools that facilitate collaboration and streamline processes.
- Implement a centralized platform for sharing data, insights, and campaign performance metrics.
- Define key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with marketing, sales, and customer success objectives.
7. Personalize Your Messaging and Content
One-size-fits-all marketing messages are ineffective in ABM. Thus, you must tailor your messaging to resonate with the decision-makers' roles:
- Craft personalized landing pages for specific companies or individuals, catering to their unique needs and preferences.
- Customize each visitor's web content, images, layouts, and CTAs based on their identity, past behaviors, and actions. You can use website personalization software, such as:
|Rules-based Personalization Software
|Predictive Personalization Software
|It entails establishing conditional statements ("if this, then that") for different segments of your target audience. Sitecore is an excellent example of rules-based personalization software.
|Instead of manual rule-setting, its machine learning technology automatically predicts the optimal combination of your personalization ideas for each visitor. SwiftERM seems an ideal option.
- Tailor your email content around the prospect's challenges by leveraging insights into their role and responsibilities. You can use personalized interactive email elements that guide recipients to targeted solutions. However, your approach will slightly differ for different ABM types:
|Email for 1:1
|Email for 1: Few and 1: Many
|Research individual prospects online. Learn about their hobbies, interests, job roles, and preferred metrics.
|Research a company’s pain points and needs. The concept is that companies within the same industry share common challenges, metrics, and compelling case studies that would pique their interest.
- Develop social media ads addressing industry-specific pain points and critical metrics.
- Personalize direct mail for a contact at a target account, tailored to their interests.
8. Nurture Relationships Through Consistent Engagement
Deploy Messaging Aligned With the Sales Funnel Stages
- Set the 'welcome' nurture track for the Top of the Funnel or ToFu (Awareness Stage). Use messaging that raises awareness of their problems through thought leadership content.
- At the Middle of the Funnel or MoFu (Consideration Stage), educate the prospect, introducing your product and its benefits.
- Prospects are nearly ready to decide at the Bottom of the Funnel or BoFu (Decision/Purchase Stage). Your messaging should provide clear reasons to choose you, supported by niche industry insights, data, stats, and case studies from similar accounts.
- Consider establishing a retention nurture track for existing accounts – emphasizing the ongoing customer relationship.
Implement a Multi-Channel Approach
Being responsive on various channels helps you stay on top of the minds of your target accounts.
For instance, an executive with a hectic schedule might find reading your thought leadership articles challenging. Still, a targeted display ad on social media could effectively capture their attention.
Leverage Intent Data
It involves data on website visitors' behaviors, such as:
- The pages they visited
- Visit frequency
- Time spent on each page
Additionally, it can verify the channels through which your target accounts research solutions. Thus, you gain enough data to share the topic and choose the channel to nurture accounts.
9. Measure and Refine Your ABM Efforts
You should regularly assess the effectiveness of your ABM strategies.
To do so, marketers mainly track revenue won. But you must keep a close eye on other critical metrics like below:
Account Engagement Score
It gauges a target account's engagement level with your marketing and sales efforts. It measures interactions, including:
- Website visits
- Content downloads
- Email open rates
- Social media interactions
- Event attendance, etc
- Lead Close Rates
The lead close rate represents the target accounts percentage that progresses through the sales funnel and transforms into paying customers.
Close Rate = (Total number of accounts converted/Total number of target accounts engaged)×100
Sales Pipeline Growth
It denotes the total potential revenue currently in the sales pipeline. Monitoring the generated pipeline allows you to determine the following:
- The number of newly created opportunities.
- The progression of these opportunities through the pipeline.
- The potential revenue the business can generate.
It denotes the pace at which a lead progresses through the sales pipeline. A lower pipeline velocity suggests friction in your sales pipeline.
Pipeline velocity = (Number of SQLs in the pipeline x Win rate (%) x Average deal size)/ Sales cycle length
It provides insight into a business's customer base health and retention capability.
Churn Rate = Total number of customers at the beginning of the period/ Number of customers lost.
Use the data-driven insights you gather from the above metrics to refine your approach and optimize your ABM campaigns. Also, establish a feedback mechanism to gather input from sales teams and other stakeholders. Then, use feedback to make targeted improvements and address specific pain points.
10. Practice Account Expansion and Upselling
ABM can extend beyond customer acquisition and help you upsell to your best customers. It contributes to long-term customer relationships and business growth. To achieve this, you need to nurture your existing accounts. Here's how:
Get a Deeper Understanding of Accounts
Continuously analyze and understand the evolving needs of existing accounts. Utilize customer feedback and data to gain insights into areas for improvement or additional services.
Create Customized Content for Upselling
Develop personalized content addressing the specific needs and pain points of current customers. Highlight the value of additional products or services that align with their existing usage.
Ensure Proactive Communication
Stay in regular contact with existing accounts through personalized communications. Proactively share relevant updates, industry insights, and exclusive offers to maintain engagement.
Run Tailored Upselling Campaigns
Design targeted upselling campaigns based on each account's specific characteristics and behaviors. Align upselling messages with the customer's journey and past interactions with your company.
Build Exclusive Loyalty Programs
Introduce exclusive loyalty programs or benefits for long-standing customers. Incentivize continued partnership through discounts, early access to new features, or dedicated support.
It is amusing how quickly B2B landscapes evolve in today's era. It makes adopting advanced ABM strategies imperative for your sustained business growth. Our guide illuminates the transformative potential of these tactics with tips and examples.
Hopefully, it will help you achieve heightened precision in targeting and converting the right accounts. You can navigate complexities effectively by targeting high-value accounts and maximizing B2B sales. For a deeper dive into ABM excellence, contact Revnew today!
Our expertly curated resources can help you unravel the nuanced world of ABM. Elevate your strategy, redefine success – delve into ABM mastery with us.