Marketers in the B2B space have heard the term “account-based marketing,” or ABM, for a while now. What once might have seemed like a flashy buzzword is now an established marketing strategy, in part because marketers are seeing great results.
In fact, 45% of marketers using an ABM strategy saw double the ROI compared to their traditional marketing methods.
So where does ABM fit in to a B2B marketing strategy? Instead of viewing it as a complete overhaul, think of it as an additional tool in your marketing toolkit. And if you’re just getting started with ABM or are looking to refresh your current approach, creating a customer segmentation strategy is key.
Let’s take a look at a three-tiered segmentation strategy that will set you up for ABM success.
[Tier 1] 1:1 Campaigns
Your Tier 1 target account list should be anywhere from 1-10 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.
Tier 1 accounts should be treated as a market segment in their own right and will require several hours of research, campaign planning, personalized content and orchestrated efforts with your sales team.
A great way to identify your Tier 1 target account list is to start by analyzing your existing high-value customers — what are the data points they have in common? Once you’ve looked at the quantitative data, meet with your sales leaders to review your findings and see if they have any additional quantitative or qualitative data points you can leverage to zero in on your top targets. Because these Tier 1 accounts will be where you focus most of your attention, staying aligned with your sales team each step of the way is crucial for success.
[Tier 2] 1:Few Campaigns
This group is a bit bigger than the 1:1 target account list, but still very targeted. With 1:few campaigns, you want to focus on “layering” different criteria to find your best fit accounts.
An example of this could be taking all of your accounts in the healthcare industry that are in Opportunity stage 3 or higher. Because events are a great tactic for 1:few campaigns, you could also take that a step further and add a geography filter to narrow that group down even more. To continue our previous example, your next step could be to plan a high-touch VIP event for all of your healthcare accounts in the Opportunity stage 3+ in Atlanta, Georgia.
The key with Tier 2 accounts is selecting criteria that will allow you to speak to relevant pain points as well as a specific phase in the customer buying cycle.
[Tier 3] 1:Many Campaigns
Your Tier 3 account strategy is where your ABM campaigns begin to blend with your broad-based marketing approach. Most marketers that combine a lead generation approach with account-based marketing will call this strategy “demand generation.” This is when you take your large database of leads, filter them down to a subset of qualified leads, and then map those leads to their corresponding accounts.
Grading and scoring can be used as a baseline to help identify these qualified leads and AI can help surface prospects with the highest propensity to buy. This level of segmentation helps you narrow the playing field and build 1:many campaigns that will target the right buyers.
While it might be tempting to jump ahead to the event planning or creative direct mail campaigns, focusing heavily on your tiered segmentation strategy up front is crucial to the success of the overall program. As you continue to build your segmentation strategy, make sure that you’re consistently checking in with your sales team to align on account planning, create a strategic approach, and remain in lock-step as you execute your ABM campaigns.
To learn more about what it takes to build a successful ABM program, check out our webinar, Successful ABM Starts with Being Account-First.