Account based marketing (ABM) is a no-brainer in the B2B world. Companies have been using it as a strategy in one form or another for decades. Put simply, it’s about focusing in on a very specific group of highly targeted accounts and then using personalised campaigns that are designed for each individual.
Innovations in technology mean there are now lots of tools around that can help B2B marketing teams take their ABM to a whole new level. However, many marketers are failing to take full advantage of this, for example by not automating their marketing processes. And that could be costing them.
Teams who have effectively automated their ABM say it has had a huge impact on their sales results. A survey by ITSMA backs this up, saying it’s found “ABM delivers the highest Return on Investment of any B2B marketing strategy or tactic”.
So when does account based marketing work best?
Marketing campaigns that take an ABM approach need two keys things to be successful – marketing and sales teams need to be united and fully aligned and an investment needs to be made in terms of money, time and effort.
Ultimately, ABM is about breaking down and separating leads in a highly detailed way, then creating incredibly personalised marketing for each one. Whether you aim for a couple of large high-value accounts or go for a specific set of accounts, ABM can be a very successful strategy. This is especially true in companies where sales and marketing teams are already working closely together.
What are the main advantages and challenges?
ABM has many advantages. It can help you stand out in a crowded and competitive marketplace and also gives you a much better shot at achieving strong customer retention rates. Buyers like it because of the personalised nature of the campaigns, which shows them you have done your homework.
Proving a positive ROI is also much easier to do. Unlike marketing tactics that focus on certain buyer personas and aim to attract as many leads as possible, with ABM you are concentrating on a single target over and over again.
The main challenge lies in getting marketing and sales team aligned, but they need to do this to be able to define and execute strategies.
This approach also takes a lot more time to research targets and then produce the campaigns that are designed specifically for them.
How can you maximise your effectiveness and results?
Real-time data for quick reactions
Whatever system you use for data collection, make sure that all team members have access to it and the data that’s being collected. With such a targeted approach it is vital that you keep all leads and contact data up to date in real time. The success of your campaigns will rely on your ability to gather and evaluate data efficiently, so you can react instantly.
At Lead Forensics, we know from our own customers that those who react within 24 hours have far more success than their slower competitors. Those who get on the phone to leads within an hour of them showing signs of being interested see an even greater payback in their results.
The key to success with ABM is to be able to deliver highly personalised marketing material, at the right time, to the right person. With ABM it goes beyond simply topping and tailoring, or adding in a personalised greeting. The content itself needs to be created for each individual and them alone – or at least to look in every way as if it has been. In order to scale this up you will need systems that allow you to quickly and easily manipulate the content and distribute it. You can then review it to see which content works best in which scenario.
Make sure you have the right monitoring in place so you know immediately when your efforts are starting to pay off. Social selling is a key tactic within ABM. Use triggers and alerts that will tell you when a target lead is visiting your website, or interacting with any of your content. For Lead Forensics users this is one of the key functions they can make use of. Marketing to targets is one thing, being able to react immediately to build a relationship (so you can ultimately close the deal) is an entirely different ball game.
Not only is it important to monitor what your targets are doing in relation to your content but also to help you with your research. With ABM you need to know exactly what is happening in their world.
IP tracking technology
IP tracking is one of the key tools that can be used to strengthen the effectiveness of ABM. As mentioned above, being able to react immediately can lead to greater conversion success. But how can you find out when your leads are interacting with your content? IP tracking is the answer.
Taking it a step further, you can also look at doing targeted website content, as well as advertising, that is based on IP addresses.
What kind of content should you produce for your targets? Relevance and personalisation are the buzzwords here. For example, depending on your product/service you could provide a sample tailored to each recipient. The question you need to answer is: how helpful is this piece of information going to be for the lead? The more helpful a piece of content is, the more successful it will be in building a relationship, trust and ultimately creating a valuable business result.
Bonus tip for Lead Forensics users
With Lead Forensics you have the option to purchase contact details for any identified companies. That means that if you’ve set up your target account list and imported it into Lead Forensics then the software will be able to match those companies with their IP address database.
As soon as someone with an IP address on your list visits your website, you will be alerted. At that point, you may not know exactly who it is, but you will have the option to purchase specific contact details for the company. Depending on the visitor’s behaviour on your website (such as the pages they look at and for how long) you may be able to make an educated guess about who it was. Then a timely call or email sent to that person, with targeted content rather than salesy material, could go a long way to forming a relationship with them.
Final things to think about before you get started
- Make sure you have a clear strategy in place
- You need to be able to link your goals to your KPIs and to track their progress – work out how you’ll do this before you get started
- Also, decide how you will review and improve what you’re doing – plan in regular feedback and strategy sessionsSo is ABM the right choice for you?
As with any marketing strategy or campaign, it is important to continually assess, review and refine what you’re doing, to make sure it’s generating the results you want. Maximise your success by looking closely at what you’re doing and then make improvements wherever possible to ensure it’s the strongest it can be.
As ABM is about targeting individual prospects with personalised campaigns, you need to be watching the overall trends to see what’s working over time. But with the right tools and software in place, a united sales and marketing force fully onboard with the tactic, and quick reactions, you could soon see your conversions soar.