ABM 101: Getting Started With Account-Based Marketing

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If you’ve been keeping up with B2B marketing trends, you know that ABM, or account-based marketing, has become the new standard for strategic communication efforts. In short, it’s a hyper-targeted approach in which an organization engages with carefully selected sales prospects through thoughtful, personalized communication.

This encompasses many different marketing initiatives but true ABM involves an integrated program that incorporates multiple channels – online and offline.

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So why has ABM become the most sought-after technique in marketing right now? It’s simple. ABM gets results: It garners higher engagement rates, fosters more personalized relationships and brings humanity back into the roots of marketing communication. Afterall, ABM takes us back to the old days of marketing – before mass advertising and content spamming took over in the digital age and created a sour taste in consumers’ mouths.

Looking to get started with ABM? Consider the following steps.

1. Set your why, what and how

To have a clear vision of the results you’re trying to achieve, first define your objectives, strategies and tactics. What is the overall end goal for your company? How are you going to work toward these targets? Why will this matter?

Defining these targets will serve as the foundation for purposeful, strategic campaigns that work toward achieving your end result. It’s like writing an outline of a paper – getting organized (and not diving in head first) creates a solid base of laid out plans and determines the direction your campaign will take.

2. Start small

You don’t have to overturn your entire marketing function for ABM overnight. Instead, start by allocating some resources to target a handful of companies and their various individuals in order to test your ABM before attempting to run it at full scale. That way, you can also work out all the bugs and kinks within your process before launching an entire campaign and reaching high visibility.

Not all stakeholders are going to love this idea immediately – so starting small also helps with securing needed buy-in along the way. Once your team starts to see that it’s working, they’ll want to become involved.

3. Identify the audience

A thoroughly researched audience is key to executing a successful ABM campaign. Think of ABM more like PBM – in the sense that it’s really people-based marketing. While you may start with an idea of which companies you want to target, it’s the people who you really need to get to know. It’s important to consider how certain individuals can have their journeys differ depending on their title, responsibilities, location or interests. From there, you can have a better understanding of the needs they have, and how your organization can help serve as a solution.

When it comes to identifying leads, consider pursuing mediocre or warm leads that have been identified as a good prospect for your organization. This ensures they already have an understanding of your company and the value you would be able to provide for them. As with most marketing best practices, it’s best to avoid chasing after cold leads, as your likelihood for success is low and can seem disingenuous.

4. Begin outreach

After you have your campaign’s goals and prospects laid out, it’s time to get creative with hyper-personalization. When you truly understand your audience, you’ll be able to tie in personal anecdotes or reference topics that would be of interest to them. Your communications don’t have to be boring – if you see that your contact has a rainy weekend ahead of them according to their city’s weather report, send an umbrella along with a personalized note to let them know you have them covered. Or if you see that their alma mater won the football game last night, send a congratulatory note. It’s these personal touches that establish that you care about their best interests and have taken the time to get to know them.

Overall, ABM is a strategic, fully-integrated marketing approach that’s founded on warm communication and personalization – but it shouldn’t feel aggressive. It can be just one or two people coming up with creative concepts and executing a plan. This allows for a more personal relationship to develop, and enables a leaner, more streamlined flow of communication.

To learn more about how to engage with the right prospects for your company, you can get in touch with our team here. We look forward to helping you bring the personal back to your customer outreach.


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