Even though most B2B marketers are bought into Account-Based Marketing (ABM), very few of them are actually using the strategy to its greatest potential. While running a one-off ABM initiative is a good start, the magic really happens when you work across your organization to develop integrated campaigns that address the needs of your target accounts. But what do those campaigns look like? And how do you actually get them off the ground? In this article, we’ll share five simple but effective steps to help you build and refine your integrated ABM campaigns.
1. Understand your audience
A well planned ABM campaign starts with your target account list (which, is exactly that, a list. This list can include customers, prospects, partners, or a mix of all three.) You’ll need to work closely with Marketing Leadership and Marketing Operations to make decisions about that list, including how you segment it. Common B2B segments include industry, vertical, buying intent, geography, etc. You can also segment your list by tiers, such as high, mid and low-priority. Based on the audience you select, you’ll want to spend time understanding their needs and building messaging and programs that resonate.
2. Coordinate a set of ABM programs
There’s often a lot of confusion about what types of programs to run in an ABM world. While you might change up your marketing mix, there’s no need to start from scratch. In fact, you can take the programs you’re already running and tailor them to fit the accounts on your list. The step will require the most collaboration from across the entire marketing organization. You’ll will need to work cross-functionally with Demand Generation, Content, Social Media, Field, Partner, Customer, Digital Marketing to take the programs you’re already running and tailor them to fit the accounts on your list.
For example, let’s say your goal is to accelerate pipeline within a set of top tier accounts. To get ABM campaigns up and running for that segment, you’ll need to work closely with different functions within marketing and sales, who can help select those accounts and offer insight, which you can use to build relevant messaging. From there, the marketing team can work together to coordinate a set of programs for that segment. Since the accounts are top-tier, marketing activities should be more personalized to fit those accounts, such as high-value direct mailers, segment specific content offers or VIP events.
3. Initiate Sales team follow-ups
Sales and marketing alignment is key to any successful ABM strategy. But alignment means more than just agreeing to focus on the same set of goals. Marketing teams need to work with Sales from the very beginning to agree on the target accounts involved, goals and measurement. From there, they’ll need to support Sales with campaign-specific messaging, including follow-up guidance and templates. In addition to getting Sales support for the campaign, marketing teams will also have to connect after to get feedback on what’s working and what isn’t for your target accounts. Using that information, you can further refine your programs and campaigns.
4. Measure across the funnel
Perhaps the most important part of any integrated campaign is ensuring you have the right attribution methods in place to measure the impact of each individual program. Without the right models in place, it’s difficult to determine which programs work and which don’t. Marketing Operations will play a crucial role in setting up those methods and communicating results across the marketing team. They’ll need to work closely with stakeholders from Demand Generation, Field, Partner, Customer, Web, Content and Social Media Marketing to ensure programs and efforts are measured effectively. It’s really important for the cross-functional team to share a common set of goals, such as pipeline, opportunities, close rates and revenue. Without a focus on the same metrics, it becomes really tough to rally the cross-functional team around a common goal.
5. Use technology to scale your efforts
Technology is really the catalyst that will take your ABM strategy to the next level. It’s what will help you automate individual pieces of the strategy and scale your ABM efforts. Whether you’re looking to develop your target account list to coordinate a set of programs or loop in Sales to measurement, there’s a tool out there that can help get the job done.
By following the five steps above, you’ll be well on your way to running integrated ABM campaigns that deliver results for your target accounts. If you’d like to learn more about ABM, check out these other articles on the Pardot blog.