Over the past few years, more and more B2B marketers have adopted account-based marketing (ABM) as part of their overall strategy.
What makes ABM so popular? The answer is simple: An effective ABM strategy helps you market to every account that matters to your business. And within those accounts, ABM helps you speak to every buyer in unique and personalized ways, building trust and increasing the lifetime value of your customer relationships.
are using ABM today or planning to start soon.
of ABM users see at least double ROI compared to other marketing methods.2
With the right technology and processes in place, any B2B company — regardless of size or industry — can implement a successful ABM strategy.
Account-based marketing, or ABM, is a B2B marketing strategy that focuses on specific customers or accounts. Instead of a single, broad-based campaign with a wide audience, ABM uses multiple highly personalized campaigns to engage accounts with an individualized approach.
There is no “one size fits all” approach to ABM, and strategies vary based on business goals. Typically, ABM programs fall into one of three buckets: one-to-one, one-to-few, and one-to-many programs.
One-to-one ABM programs target accounts with high revenue potential. These accounts are going to be where you spend a majority of your ABM budget, time, and energy, but it will be well worth the work based on the potential lifetime value of the customer.
One-to-few ABM programs are a bit broader than the one-to-one programs, but still very targeted. With one-to-few campaigns, the focus should be on narrowing down your account list based on specific criteria that lets you connect with a group of accounts that have similar pain points, buying groups, and business goals.
One-to-many ABM programs identify potentially hundreds of accounts that fall into your target market and also share commonalities across segment, industry, or other relevant criteria. These programs rely heavily on a scaled approach to reach these accounts with what still feels like a personalized message.
The best ABM strategies:
To bring ABM to life, you will need a customer relationship management (CRM) solution and a marketing automation platform. Your CRM serves as the single source of truth for data, and powers an account-centric ABM strategy. Your marketing automation platform is critical to engaging target markets at scale. With these innovative technologies, any B2B company can launch and grow an ABM strategy that resonates with their buyers and strengthens customer relationships.
Companies that take advantage of ABM’s potential are seeing impressive results.
of ABM users achieve 10% or greater ROI. 3
of ABM users see at least 2x ROI compared with other marketing methods. 4
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ABM is ultimately about being account-centric, where your buyers are at the center of every interaction. It relies on creating highly personalized experiences by combining targeted content and intentional communications across every touchpoint.
Today, 69% of business buyers expect companies to anticipate their needs. And every buying committee seems to have a language all its own. That’s why ABM is built around being able to interpret and understand buyers on an individual level, so your marketing speaks to them in a way that anticipates and fulfills their needs.
Sixty-nine percent of business buyers expect companies to anticipate their needs.
The key to doing this successfully lies in your CRM. It’s your single source of truth for account data that gives teams a 360-degree view of the customer and powers account-centric marketing. Next, you can personalize engagements for your audience with marketing automation.
Use data from your CRM and input from your sales team to identify the best ABM target accounts.
Create personalized content for target accounts and distribute it in the ways they prefer.
Share leads and adjust tactics across marketing, sales, and service teams based on engagement data.
To measure the success of campaigns and increase customer retention, track engagement, awareness, and lead-quality metrics.
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A successful ABM strategy starts with identifying the right accounts to target. This can include a combination of new and existing accounts. Use your CRM data to identify top accounts that combine potential for high revenue with a strong likelihood of conversion.
Both marketing and sales should be involved in identifying target accounts and maintaining open lines of communication for sharing insights and data. Once identified, get to know each of these accounts and their buying committees, including the types of content they engage with and the channels they use. Your CRM data will come in handy for this, but you can also search the web and social media to get a nuanced understanding of your target accounts’ particular challenges, priorities, and needs.
Once you’ve identified the accounts you want to target and developed a 360-degree understanding of their needs and preferences, these accounts can be used as templates to build lookalike audiences for one-to-few or one-to-many ABM programs. This can help you find additional accounts, expand your ideal customer profiles (ICPs), and increase the scope of your ABM plan to include all the best accounts for your business.
Here are some tips to keep in mind as you identify your target accounts:
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With the examples and best practices in this chapter, you’ll have the flexibility to deliver custom content across every touchpoint at the right time.
Target key accounts with dynamic content via personalized emails, tailored web experiences, and more.
Build personalized emails to engage top accounts.
Delight prospects with a touch of something tactile — delivered right to their door.
Gather your prospects for face-to-face events that provide an impactful experience.
Start a conversation on social channels through a combination of organic posts, paid content, and social listening.
Tailor digital ads based on engagement history, and loop in your sales team to follow up at just the right time.
According to the State of Marketing report, 65% of business buyers are likely to switch brands if a vendor doesn’t personalize communications to their company. When you deliver the personalized experiences your top accounts want, you’ll be more likely to land — and keep — their business.
To execute ABM successfully, you’ll need a high level of coordination between your marketing, sales, and service teams.
All teams need to be aligned on:
ABM brings previously siloed marketing, sales, and service teams together around a single view of the customer. In fact, according to B2B Marketing Trends, top B2B marketing teams are 1.6 times more likely than underperforming teams to collaborate with sales teams on ABM programs.
Sales will use data and marketing-provided templates to drive engagement with target accounts.
Your service and support teams use data and insights to continue growing relationships with target accounts even after the account has been won.
The centralized data required by ABM brings your teams together with a single view of the customer. They’ll be able to take full advantage of intent data, predict when and how to engage a buying committee, and clearly understand the goals and metrics they’re responsible for.
At every level, sales, marketing, and service will need to work together to identify the most high-value accounts, set measurable goals, and track progress as each account moves into the sales funnel.
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Account-based marketing is, first and foremost, a marketing strategy. From identifying your top accounts, engaging buyers, delivering connected engagements, and growing customer relationships, the key to ABM starts with being account-centric and putting your customer at the center of every interaction.
Account-based marketing programs will look different for every company based on their audience and goals, so it’s important to find the perfect mix of solutions to run the right program to reach your audience. Salesforce offers a full menu of solutions to help companies run the perfect ABM strategy to meet the needs of their customers and grow customer relationships.
With Salesforce, you’ll be able to market to every account, and speak to every buyer.
And they’ll like what they hear.