Account-based marketing, or ABM, is a popular B2B marketing strategy that is highly-targeted and personalized, prioritizing high-quality and long-lasting customer relationships. Marketers identify key accounts that they wish to work with, and then target these specific businesses as markets of one. Marketers and salespeople will then work together — towards a common goal of securing the account as a customer. Marketers create and share content designed for the account, and sales teams will tailor their approach to meet the needs of the potential customer. It’s popular for a good reason — according to ITSMA, businesses that implement ABM have reported an 84% improvement in reputation and 74% improvement in customer relationships. So, let’s go back to basics and discover all things ABM.
Account-based marketing data
According to Econsultancy, 80% of organizations report an uplift since implementing personalization. But, to execute personalization effectively, you first need the right data to get there. You need to know who you are going to target and — more importantly — why. ABM is a great opportunity to get in front of your high-value, dream accounts, but they need to be realistic, too. Take into consideration what your product or service costs and the kind of businesses that have a need for what you offer. Then, within those realms, you’ll find your target audience. Before implementing ABM, you’ll need to ensure you have all the data you need. What size is the business you’re going after? What is their revenue like? Who are the key decision-makers you’ll need to contact? How easy is it to get in touch with them? Answer as many questions as you can before embarking on your new marketing venture.
How to use your data
Now you know who you’re reaching out to, it’s time to decide how to do it. Personalization is key at this stage. Use your data and conduct research to establish what your key decision-makers, or those from similar demographics and industries, want to see. Discover where influential people from your target businesses spend time online is crucial — are they active on LinkedIn and regularly share business blogs? Or are they more traditional, opting for email-based communications and a good old-fashioned phone call? Once you have designed your data-fueled ABM approach, it’s crucial to ensure your teams are on the same page. Remember, according to McKinsey, 65% of buyers come away from the buyer journey frustrated by inconsistent experiences. Consider developing a pipeline for each key account to help you identify where they are on their journey towards becoming a customer, discover missing data and keep teams aligned.
Measuring ABM success
Marketing measurables are crucial — no matter what approach you are taking on. With individualized pipelines in place, your business may need to be flexible with each account when it comes to KPIs. And, marketers need to be willing to make necessary changes to their approach to ensure the best results. Consider how long the journey will take, and set smaller goals in the meantime. Identify how the target account will feed into your revenue — and don’t forget to set budgets to ensure the Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) doesn’t overtake the potential revenue. Remember that ABM is all about relationship building — so looking at factors like engagement and responsiveness can help give you an indication of where your potential client is at. Account-based marketing is a long-game, so celebrate quick wins while always thinking about the bigger picture.
Account-based marketing plan
Your account-based marketing plan needs to be robust and thorough. Start at the drawing board and consider your wider business and marketing strategies. What are your wider business goals and general marketing measurables? Your ABM strategy should support these. Think driving revenue, generating leads and acquiring new business. Before you get started, you need to ensure you have the resources in place to serve your accounts. And, it is pivotal to consider your entire customer journey — from their first interaction with you and through every digital touchpoint, to making a purchase and throughout the customer retention stage. From start to finish, your potential customer needs to be the priority — so opt for personalization across-the-board to capture their interest and increase their likelihood of conversion.
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