Marketing campaigns are often hit or miss.
You publish a ton of blog posts to your site or start a new campaign on Facebook. You might get a few sales, but responses are lukewarm overall.
What if you could start the sales process by identifying and selling directly to high-value accounts?
That’s what account-based marketing is all about — a strategy that lets you take a more focused approach to marketing. It allows you to dive straight into engaging and delighting target accounts.
Of course, you’ll need a cohesive strategy to make account-based marketing work for your business. Fortunately, you’re in the right place.
Here, we’ll look at five great tips for creating targeted account-based marketing strategies.
What is Account-Based Marketing?
Account-based marketing or ABM is a strategy that involves turning accounts into customers. In essence, you’re identifying high-value accounts, building relationships with stakeholders, and developing personalized campaigns.
With account-based marketing, you start with accounts that are a good fit (after filtering out low-quality leads). Then, you proactively reach out and engage them with personalized content that’s specific to their needs.
Account-based marketing essentially flips traditional inbound marketing — a strategy where you create and optimize your content to attract potential customers.
Inbound marketing is akin to casting a wide net — you’re creating different types of content in the hopes of “catching” a fish. Account-based marketing is much more focused. You’re honing in on one account and focusing your energy to haul them in.
The advantage here is you’re not just relying on blanket marketing campaigns. A properly implemented account-based marketing strategy has the potential to grow your bottom line thereby increasing your business capital.
Benefits of Account-Based Marketing
Here are a few reasons more companies are implementing account-based marketing into their overall strategies.
Aligned Sales and Marketing Teams
Sales and marketing teams are ultimately responsible for reaching target audiences and generating sales. But problems can arise when there is misalignment — sales teams are kept out of the loop of what the marketing team is doing, and vice versa.
This misalignment can cost your company sales in the long term. Sales teams could have valuable insights that marketing teams can use to develop their campaigns.
With an account-based marketing strategy in place, your sales and marketing teams can stay aligned behind the scenes. This allows both teams to create more consistent and personalized experiences for each account.
Shortened Sales Cycles
Sales cycles tend to be much longer for more complex products. For a B2B solution, there can be anywhere from 6 to 10 people involved in a purchasing decision.
That many stakeholders in a purchase decision slow down the sales cycle. Landing a lucrative account can take anywhere from a few months to more than a year.
Account-based marketing is unique in that it allows you to reach and hone in on the primary decision-makers. By targeting those who have the authority to make decisions for their company, you can shorten the overall sales cycle.
More Efficient Use of Resources
Time and money are two of the most valuable resources for any business and how well you ace time-management will decide the outcome of your projects. Unless you have considerable resources at your disposal, you can only pursue so many opportunities at a time.
Account-based marketing allows you to eliminate unqualified prospects early on. Sales and marketing can focus more of their efforts on accounts that are more likely to increase your sales based on qualification factors.
Another added benefit is you can measure the return on investment (ROI) of each account. This allows you to determine which accounts were more profitable to your bottom line and dig deeper to find out why. You can apply what you learn to drive your marketing strategy forward.
Now let’s look at the strategies that you can implement to create account-based marketing strategies.
How to Create Targeted Account-Based Marketing Strategies
Account-based marketing can drive measurable results for your business. But you’ll have little to show if you simply tackle accounts head-on without any planning.
Taking that approach might even cause you to lose an account because you didn’t take the time to nurture that relationship. Follow the steps below to put together an account-based marketing strategy.
1. Put Together an Account-Based Marketing Team
Implementing an account-based marketing strategy is rarely a one-man effort. It requires cooperation and coordination across different departments.
The first step is to put together an account-based marketing team. Ideally, your team will consist of the following roles:
- Head of account-based marketing: The head of account-based marketing is responsible for putting together strategies for each account. They also report directly to leadership on the results of each campaign.
- Campaign manager: The campaign manager is responsible for identifying high-value accounts to target. They often use campaign management tools, and work with the sales and marketing teams to ensure their efforts are aligned.
- Content manager: The content manager oversees the planning and creation of that content. They’ll use tools like Grammarly to ensure that all content is free from grammatical errors.
- Sales manager: Sales managers are responsible for managing the sales team, providing relevant training, and devising strategies to hit sales targets. Often they use sales funnel software to convert leads into sales.
Each of these individuals will play a crucial role in executing your account-based marketing strategies. In addition to marketing and sales reps, don’t forget about other key team members.
For example, your customer success reps should also be aware of and align with your account-based marketing strategies to improve customer lifetime value.
2. Define Target Accounts
A common tool that marketers frequently use is a buyer persona — a representation of your ideal customer based on market research. It helps you gain a better understanding of your customers.
But with account-based marketing, we’re focusing more on organizations as a whole and less on individuals like “Millennial Molly” or “Technology Tom.” It’s a subtle but important distinction.
Your account-based marketing efforts will have more of an impact when you identify accounts that are a good fit for your products or services.
Start by examining the organizations that generate the most value for your business in terms of revenue. What are some of the characteristics they share?
Look for companies that have the following in common:
- Company size
- Tech stack
For example, if your most profitable customers tend to be from the education industry and have annual revenues of $2 million, these are the types of accounts you’ll want to prioritize.
Consider gathering feedback from employees who work directly with the company’s most profitable accounts. They likely have valuable input that can help with this process.
3. Research the Buying Committee
Most B2B organizations have a buying committee that handles complex purchases. These committees are made up of individuals whose responsibilities include researching different vendors and authorizing purchases.
As you put together account plans to target, you’ll want to learn more about how decisions are made and who the key decision-makers are. The more you know about each member, the more prepared your marketing and sales teams will be.
A survey conducted by Demand Gen Report found that 97% of B2B buyers said that knowledgeable sales reps were important to them.
It’s not always easy to identify who is part of a buying committee. Companies don’t exactly broadcast that information on their corporate websites or social media pages.
However, decision-makers tend to be managers, executives, and directors. Use LinkedIn to help with this step. With advanced search filters, you can search for specific job titles and narrow down your list of who you’ll eventually reach out to.
But don’t reach out to contacts in your list right away. Take the time to research the responsibilities that each decision-maker has, dig deeper to find out what their respective needs are, and make sure the prospect’s information is correct.
4. Create Personalized Content
Your efforts will be more successful when you personalize content for each account. It demonstrates that you understand their specific pain points and allows you to position your products or services as the solution by using product management for each account.
Here are some ideas to get started with:
- Identify what kind of content decision-makers engage with on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Then join the groups they’re in and contribute relevant content to conversations they’re part of.
- Distribute content like blog posts and informative articles on channels that are relevant to each account. For example, if you know that certain accounts subscribe to an industry magazine, try getting published in that magazine.
- Use affiliate marketing to get backlinks from other websites and blogs. This will help any content that you publish rank higher in the search results.
- Design powerful visuals, a data visualization infographic, to engage your audience. This will make your content more attractive and boost conversions.
- Gather specific case studies that demonstrate how your products or services address pain points that certain accounts are experiencing.
- Create custom landing pages that are tailored to each account. Use these landing pages with your campaigns in Google Ads (if you’re running them).
- Use QR code generators to create dynamic QR codes that can be used in marketing landing pages to provide personalized access to gated content, product pages, and social media pages.
5. Measure and Analyze Your Results
It’s important to monitor the effectiveness of your account-based marketing strategies. How many new accounts did you close? How much revenue did you generate from these campaigns?
By reviewing your results, you can identify any gaps in your strategy that might need to be revised. For example, if high-value accounts didn’t respond well to your efforts, you might need to adjust your messaging to focus on a different pain point.
Don’t be discouraged if your results weren’t that great the first time around. Take what you’ve learned and continue to apply them to future campaigns.
On the other hand, if your account-based marketing strategy delivered a significant return, it means that you’re on the right track. Continue refining your strategy to drive even more revenue for your company.