Getting Started with ABM

At July’s ITSMA Next Generation ABM Forum there is the chance to get best practice insights from MomentumABM – the leading Global agency for account-based marketing (ABM).  We will be joined by some of our clients for a Panel discussion, we hope you can make it.  Here we share a sneak preview of the top tips to get ABM working for you.

ABM – what’s it all about?

The rising popularity of ABM pivots around one central question for B2B teams:  “If 80% of revenue comes from 20% of customers, why aren’t we focussing more of our marketing efforts on them?”

ABM responds by using 1:1 principles to treat high-value enterprise accounts as a ‘market of one’. This aligns the marketing lifecycle to the needs of individual customers – from insights and planning to proposition and content.

You won’t be surprised that targeted marketing equals better results. It makes big improvements in customer relationships, brand perception and revenue. In fact, ABM can increase win rates by an impressive 22%.

How can ABM work for my business?

ABM is a framework that you can shape to suit your business. MomentumABM’s Guide for Practitioners outlines a step-by-step approach on how to do this – from initial customer insights through to campaign execution and engagement.

Many of the tools and techniques of ABM will be familiar – it’s bringing them together for an individual account that makes the difference.

Here’s a few tips to consider:

  1. Start with insight

The number one ingredient for ABM is insight. And that isn’t just a quick look at your customer’s website, it’s an in-depth, inside-out analysis of their business.

Typically, this will involve:

  • Propensity modelling – to identify high-value customers.
  • Desk research –of annual reports, social insights and analyst comment.
  • Market analysis – including competitor reviews and benchmarking.
  • Focus groups – bringing together the views of account teams and experts.
  • Stakeholder profiling – marrying up external insights, e.g. from social media platforms, with internal insights to stress-test relationship strength, intentions and behaviours.

 2.  Make a big impact with a small budget

ABM is not a one-off, blockbuster campaign. It’s about applying the resources you’ve got in a highly targeted way. For example you can:

  • Overlay ABM on existing account segmentation models.
  • Adopt a ‘lean’ ABM approach that lets you focus on a few, high-value customers.
  • Find economies of scale when executing campaigns across multiple accounts.
  • Do it on-demand, allowing teams to tap into ABM resources when they need it.

3.  Make it personal

Decision makers now expect B2C-style interactions across the buying cycle. This raises the bar for B2B marketers to deliver highly polished, personalised communications.  You can use ABM to create content that matters within the specific context of your audience:

  • Make your content relevant to the buying cycle. For example, video and visual assets help raise awareness early on, whitepapers and datasheets matter more as the point of purchase gets closer.
  • Take the effort to use your customer’s words and visual language – it really shows you’ve gone the extra mile.
  • Get your content in the right place, at the right time – this is critical when customers are often two thirds through the buying process before even talking to your sales teams

Also, remember that B2B buyers are real people, not budget centres. By understanding emotions and motivations you stand a much better chance of earning trust. And when you build relationships, you expand your connection.

4.  #ABM gets social

The most effective ABM strategies help customers spend time where their customers spend time. Increasingly, this is on social channels – where ABM can help you:

  • Seed high-value content into your customers’ social conversations.
  • Earn customer attention by promoting sales teams as thought leaders.
  • Keep customer engagement alive with frequent social ‘touches’
  • Get a visual presence by turning whitepapers into SlideShare assets.
  • Harvest social insights for up-to-the-minute awareness of individual decision makers.

5.  Measure, measure, measure

Typically marketing metrics are very volume orientated – e.g. cost per lead, conversion metrics, clickthrough rates. You can use ABM to evolve this volume-led approach with metrics that make more sense in customer-centric context.

So as well as web clicks and conversions, ask: How many strategic projects are your sales teams now involved in? What is the impact on customer satisfaction? What is the customer’s lifetime value?

This lets you balance a more traditional view of marketing’s impact with long-game metrics that gauge relationship strength, brand advocacy and customer perceptions.