Account Based Marketing (ABM): what it is and how to place it in practice

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ABM or Account Based Marketing is a Marketing strategy focused on predefined accounts. That is, you first select who the potential customers are and then run campaigns to attract and interact with them. ABM reduces the risk of showing your campaign to those who are not qualified.

Have you ever had trouble generating leads that are not qualified or have difficulty moving through the buying process ?

If you have had these pains, you are not alone. In this publication, I will explain to you step by step how to make a strategy focused on the ICP (Ideal Client Profile) in a process to accompany each stage of the process.

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Start designing your business goals and improving the performance of your activities (Video + Tool).

For this, it is necessary to put into practice the concept of ABM or Account Based Marketing.

What is Account-Based Marketing or ABM?

It may seem like just another buzzword, but the translation is to focus your strategies on predefined accounts, select who your potential customers are, and then run campaigns to attract and engage with them.

In summary, it would be to take a prospecting list of the ideal client profile and work in parallel with your Inbound Marketing .

The difference between Account-Based Marketing and Inbound Marketing

Let’s say I’m going fishing and I’m going to take my hook to get my fish. In order to identify consumers (fish) who may be interested in my company, I play the bait and wait. In the case of Inbound, this bait is an offer of lead generation .

Once leads are generated, they will be qualified to advance to the middle and bottom of the funnel. Lots of Leads are probably coming in that aren’t yet qualified and aren’t coming down the funnel. It could be, for example, a boot that got caught on the hook.

Now in ABM the analogy would be to fish with a harpoon, pick the fish directly, and be more precise on the spot rather than calling multiple stakeholders with a hook.

At ABM, we select potential customer accounts before starting a Marketing campaign to impact only them. In this way, you reduce the risk of showing your campaign to anyone who is not qualified. The great benefit that a filter has already been made and all applicants selected to be clients.

How to put ABM into practice in 5 steps

  1. Identify and define accounts.
  2. Generate account list.
  3. Create offers and personalized content.
  4. Create a campaign.
  5. Measure the results.1. Identify and define accounts

 

ABM

Before configuring your structure, you must identify who your ICP is ( Idea client profile l).

Do an analysis within your base to find out who your best customers are, those who have the best commitment, who know well the characteristics of your service or product and who would recommend your company to your friends and partners based on in an NPS (Net Promoting Score) score.

NPS is a measure to measure customer satisfaction, asking “from 0 to 10, how much would you recommend our company to your friends?”

Based on your business experiences, think: what kind of company or person would be the customer of your dreams? Who would be the best customer for you to sell to?

The ideal customer creation exercise can be applied to both B2B companies (companies that sell to other companies) and B2C companies (companies that sell to the end customer).

When we talk about creating the ICP for B2B, we think about the data of the company and the signature (segmentation according to the characteristics of a company), as shown below:

  • Segment of action, Industry or Sector.
  • Ideal company size (number of workers).
  • Ideal company location.
  • Team structure.
  • Maturity.
  • Sales cycle.
  • Average Income.
  • Billing.
  • Charges.
  • Platforms / Softwares used.

Here is an example of a company that sells industrial machinery for professional kitchens and created the profile of the customer of dreams (restaurants and bars), based on their history of data from customers who already have bought.

Ideal client example

Food sector companies (restaurants and bars), with more than 50 employees, located in the south of the country, with an employee dedicated to the purchasing area who realizes the value in the acquisition of imported machinery, with an average sales cycle of 2 months and an average income of $ 1,500 USD.

Well, now that you’ve identified who your ideal customers are, let’s select the accounts to attract and prospect. Your activity list should be based on ICP to ensure the right campaigns are run and the most qualified leads are attracted .

2. How to generate a list of accounts for ABM

The strategy to create your list of accounts comes through a predefined segmentation. You can extract a list, but it is always a good idea to check if you agree with your ICP, if it is no longer a client, it is already trading, etc.

Some tips to select accounts before starting campaigns:

  • Use the list of accounts of your sales team both online and offline.
  • Some key industries or segments for direct communication.
  • The Lost list or the list that was dropped from Leads to be reactivated after a certain period.
  • Companies that use the service or product of your main competitors.
  • Extracts lists of companies by economic activity.
  • Lists through companies that offer data enrichment.

The important thing is to have an alignment (SLA) between the Marketing and Sales teams to define the main accounts. Based on the data, it generates a list according to the alignment performed and then creates a filter to select the accounts. Some instructions for your list:

  • Low hanging fruit! Start with your list / base!
    • Select your base accounts / companies to start an ABM test.
    • Check with your sales team which accounts they approach.
  • Define only one test segment
    • It is easier to measure.
    • Is it manual? Yes, to test before climbing.
  • Start small!
    • There is no magic number! Between 50 and 500 counts is easier to measure than between 1000.
    • Involve a salesperson to accompany you with this test.

Another tip is to calculate the size of your market and compare it with the lists you are working on to find out how many companies you can reach.

3. Content and personalized offers

After validating the list to start the campaigns, the next step is to define what the content or offers strategy will be for these campaigns.

To create a relationship with these prospects, it is important to do a web customization, that is, create personalized content for each visitor of each industry / sector, size, time and behavior that visits your website or directly an offer custom.

Example: your list of accounts are restaurants and bars. The offers of your campaign can be to direct them to a report on the most used machines in this industry, how they can be more efficient for employees in the kitchen, why X machines will bring benefits to your company, etc.

Personalization is the key to ensuring that you are speaking the same language as your future customer. Amazon, for example, increased conversions by 60% by making personalized recommendations.

4. How to create an ABM campaign

With the list of validated accounts and the content offers produced, you can now start a test of ABM campaigns.

Campaigns can be done in several ways:

  • Import the list into Facebook Ads as a custom audience;
  • Import your list into LinkedIn ads as an email list (contact lists) or company names (account lists);
  • Import the list into Google Ads to redirect only that list;
  • Invite the list of accounts to an exclusive event or sponsor events of these companies;
  • Upload the list in a DMP (Data Management Platforms) to serve ads in programmatic media;
  • Use ClearBit Reveal to find out who are the companies that visit your site. The tool creates filters and classifies in Google Analytics the industries, the positions, the technologies used and the size of the company. You can also create a retargeting just for that targeting in Google Ads;
  • Use DemandBase to create personalized ads by company size, industry, or better yet by name.
  • Direct actions with the list, such as making an appointment, telephone, email, sending gifts by mail and events in which companies participate.

5. How to measure the impact of ABM

With the campaign in the air, now is the time to verify and analyze the results. Remember that the process is to follow from the compilation of the list to the arrival of the Sales Leader, so it reinforces the commitment of this ABM action that will be carried out in conjunction with the commercial team.

Measure the performance of the funnel by accounts:

  • How many sales opportunities generated in the total of the campaign.
  • How many companies have advanced in the sales process (pipeline).
  • Campaign closing rates (closing rates).
  • Funnel speed, which indicates whether qualification / utilization rates are going faster with this ABM campaign.
  • How many companies impacted by the total number of companies, according to the size of the list.
  • If the campaign is for retention and upsells, see how many companies in the campaign worked.

Don’t rely on secondary metrics like unique visitors and click-through rates. Measure your Marketing performance with metrics directly related to business impact.

Optimize the campaign according to the questions in the diagram below:

 

Image: https://www.demandbase.com

Do you have visits on your website?

  • If not: make announcements
  • If yes: do they have a good level of response?
  • If not: optimize the content of your website
  • If so: is your website conversion high?
  • If not: optimize conversions
  • If so: is the sales team qualified to sell to you?
  • If not: align with sales
  • If so: everything is fine; scale your ABM test.

Checklist for evaluation and consideration of the ABM project to escalate or continue

  • Did you have positive results?
  • Were you able to replicate this same process?
  • Did your company see value in this action?
  • Do you know where to climb?

Conclusions about ABM

To begin your ABM experiment, focus on the collaborative process in several areas, such as Sales, Marketing, and Product.

  1. Define your ICP and then create an initial list of accounts and companies that will be reached with your Marketing and Sales actions.
  2. Develop custom content for this account segmentation.
  3. Coordinate the launch of campaigns focused on these lists and choose wisely through which channels the campaigns will run.
  4. Measure the results according to the performance of the funnel and optimize your campaigns.
  5. Gather learnings, gather your team for a feedback session on next steps, and develop new lists to scale ABM.
  6. Remember that it is important to verify and make sure that the list is in accordance with the ideal profile of the client managed by Marketing and Sales.

To implement an effective ABM strategy, you will need some knowledge of advertising. Therefore, I recommend a complete material on the subject: Internet advertising.

Good results!

Tags:

  • Digital Marketing Strategy

 

Account Based Marketing (ABM): what it is and how to place it in practice

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