ABM, or account-based marketing, is one way to accelerate pipeline velocity and find shortcuts through the buyer journey.
In this post, you’ll learn about five tips to run successful and cost-effective account-based marketing campaigns, whether you’re starting from scratch or already have established processes.
What Is Account-Based Marketing and Why Is It So Effective?
Account-based marketing turns traditional “mass marketing” on its head.
Rather than target large groups of potential customers through inbound or outbound methods, following up with any leads than get caught in the net, ABM treats each target as a market of one. Ads, outreach, and customer profiling are all highly personalized with the aim of converting one high-value lead, whether it’s an individual or business.
Here are some of the reasons why ABM is so effective:
- ABM is fast - Because ABM focuses on one or a handful of leads, sales and marketing teams can move relatively quickly to engage and convert.
- ABM delivers a high ROI - ABM traditionally delivers a high ROI. Extensive personalization and one-on-one time with prospects invariably lead to better conversion rates.
- ABM is easy to implement using technology - ABM software has improved dramatically over the last few years. Marketers and salespeople can now leverage a whole suite of time-saving research, management, and outreach features to get up and running with the right tools.
By taking a truly client-centric approach, account-based marketing can dramatically boost the speed at which prospects move through your sales funnel. Keep reading to see our five best tips on how to succeed with your ABM marketing tactics.
1. Ensure Marketing and Sales Alignment
Marketing and sales alignment is one of the foundational pillars of successful account-based marketing.
Sales and marketing teams should work in close proximity (ideally in the same office), use the same sales platform, track the same metrics, and draw insights from the same data. Crucially, marketing and sales process must overlap. Implementing specific SOPs (standard operating procedures) that demand communication between departments is a good way to ensure close alignment.
It’s also important to remember that most account-based marketing campaigns don’t follow a linear stop-start template. Marketing activities shouldn’t cease when a marketing qualified lead (MQL) turns into a sales qualified lead (SQL).
Rather, both teams should work in concert through the whole sales cycle, sharing data and engaging prospects right up until they convert. Marketing might continue to run engagement-focused advertising campaigns, for example, while sales send emails to ask for appointments.
2. Take a Nuanced Approach to Lead Scoring While Leveraging Historical Data
Lead scoring can be problematic when it comes to ABM. Typical indicators, like high spending intent or signing up for a free trial, often paint an incomplete picture. That’s why it’s vital to base lead scores on detailed, data-based profiles that are unique to each prospect.
Crucially, robust profiling enables marketing and sales teams to identify individuals within a company that are responsible for making purchase decisions (so-called “champions”).
One often-overlooked way of building profiles is to utilize proven firmographic, demographic and psychographic data sources and datasets.
A significant proportion of your ideal customers, whether individuals or businesses, will share the same characteristics. This makes it possible to leverage past information to inform decisions. What’s more, intent data based on prospects’ online activity can help determine the best marketing or sales approaches at important stages of the sales cycle.
Many account-based marketers make the mistake of beginning the research process from scratch for every new lead. But this is usually an unnecessary and resource-sapping strategy.
3. Automate Wherever Possible
Automated ABM tools have come along in leaps and bounds over the last few years. Marketing and sales teams now have access to an array of apps that streamline every stage of the sales cycle.
Here are some of the tools that every account-based marketers should include in their tech stack:
- Prospect research - Make sure your database contains accurate and up-to-date information about companies and key individuals.
- Profile building and lead scoring - Levage lead scoring to automatically gather data from a variety of sources to build out prospect profiles and rank them accordingly to make sure you adapt your ads and content depending on where your prospects are in their buying.
- Outreach and advertising - Outreach and advertising platforms enable marketers to target prospects with highly personalized ads while automatically running split and multivariate tests.
Follow-up and appointments - Providing prospects with a platform to book and reschedule appointments removes some of the burdens from already-busy sales teams.
Many platforms, like Upsales, bring different tools together into one solution. Opt-in for an account-based marketing solution that gives you access to a range of services geared towards boosting pipeline velocity.
4. Segment and Target High-Velocity Leads
Knowing which lead segments drive the highest velocity is essential from an ABM perspective. By honing in on your “best” prospects, you can tailor resource expenditure, driving up conversions and engagement while lowering costs.
Equally, pinpointing segments with low velocity but high interest and lifetime value enables you to uncover issues and drive further revenue gains by streamlining your marketing and sales approaches.
Why is it, for example, that leads in the automotive space take twice as long during the consideration phase? Why do small business owners respond poorly to targeted ads but very well to phone outreach? An intelligent approach to analytics and pipeline monitoring enables you to answer questions like these.
5. Diversify Your ABM Strategy
It’s easy to get tunnel-vision when developing a broad ABM strategy. Marketers and salespeople need to resist this urge. Different prospects, segments, and verticals require unique approaches.
Generally speaking, ABM can be split into three categories, and it’s important to structure your overall strategy to account for each one:
- One-to-one: ABM campaigns that focus on one high-value lead.
- One-to-few: A strategy that involves highly-personalized marketing and sales approaches for a handful of closely-related leads.
- One-to-many: Broader campaigns, usually led by the marketing team, targeting a larger group of leads that share many common characteristics.
It’s also important to leverage an omnichannel approach to engage with accounts across a variety of touchpoints.
The ABM journey is rarely linear. Most prospects will engage with your brand across numerous channels. What’s more, interest will wax and wane through the sales cycle.
Successful ABM requires a flexible approach that encompasses targeted advertising, direct outreach, engagement building (via eBooks, white papers, webinars, etc.), in-person meetings, product demos, and more.
ABM is an essential tool in your sales arsenal. Leveraged effectively, it can turn your most valuable leads into long-term, loyal customers. All in a fraction of the time it might ordinarily take.
Now is the time to start implementing processes to pinpoint and convert leads that are suitable for ABM. And if you’re already running ABM campaigns, developing and bolstering your processes even further will yield revenue gains far into the future.