What is Account Based Marketing?

Account Base Marketing (ABM) is a  strategic approach to growing your business by aligning sales and marketing efforts to target high value customers in large organisations with multiple stakeholders.

Account Based Marketing is becoming more and more popular across B2B markets. Originally the preserve of large enterprises this is increasingly cascading to smaller businesses who have high value sales, typically with long leadtimes, to large organisations. 

ABM introduces a more strategic approach to identifying, targeting and engaging multiple stakeholders in key accounts. The outcome is more aligned sales and marketing functions, higher conversion rates and a better ROI and sales and marketing efforts.

 

What does an ABM programme involve?

The typical ABM programme involves 7 key stages and this is covered in more detail in our Introduction to Account Based Marketing e-learning course. 

Building your ABM team

It is widely accepted that there are 7 key ABM roles. Campaign Lead – In full control of the campaign, Change Sponsor – Drives your ABM strategy through sales, customer retention and other key functions, Account Lead – Supports the alignment of campaign strategy around the targeted customer, Marketing/Sales – Assesses your database, identify latest trends, Customer Retention Lead – Monitors target accounts to ensure retention, Customer Support – Identifies avenues to support existing customers including up-selling and cross-selling, Sales Development Lead – In charge of target account research to advise decisions.

defining ABM Goals and KPI's

What does success look like for your business? Ultimately your ABM programme should focus on buildiing quality relationships with relevant stakeholders in your target accounts. Your goals should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timed). Typical metrics that KPI’s can be set against include website visits, email open rates, click through rates, and social media engagement.

Identifying and Prioritising Key Accounts

The level of personalisation to achieve success in ABM requires you to focus on a set of chosen, relevant accounts. In Account Based Marketing, a target account is essentially the company that you would like to convert into a customer. Unlike traditional sales & marketing, in ABM not every potential lead can be classed as a target account. You have to choose your target accounts based on pre-defined criteria to focus your time, effort and money on leads with the highest revenue potential or strategic significance to the business.

Planning Content, Channels and Tactics

Content is a key driving force for your ABM campaigns. It enables good quality engagement with your target stakeholders and positions you as an innovator or thought leader in the market who can address their key issues. Identifying customer channels helps to gain visibility in front of your target accounts, these can include industry bodies, trade associations, publications and social media. Tactics are the means by which you reach out to targets through your identified channels. Creativity at this stage is hugely beneficial to increasing your chances of success.

ABM Campaign Planning

Essentially, you will need to develop a clear timeline that lays out the touchpoints each persona at your target accounts will have with your company. When developing your ABM campaign, it is important to note that there isn’t a singular approach. You need to ensure that the campaign plan you develop is appropriate for your company i.e. one that you can successfully execute against.

Supporting Technology Systems for ABM

As a result of the continued development of marketing technology systems, ABM campaigns can be scaled to suit many small to medium sized enterprises. There’s a vast range of technology systems available at reasonable prices, many with an option of ‘pay as you go’, where you can increase or decrease your package’s capabilities depending on your requirements. This allows companies to upgrade services as they grow.

There are 5 essential systems for ABM campaigns:

  • CRM Platform (Customer Relationship Management) – A CRM Platform is used as a way of recording information about accounts and customers
  • MAS (Marketing Automation System) – Combines all your Sales and Marketing activity
  • CMS (Content Management System) – A CMS is an application that enables the creation and modification of digital content
  • ABM Content Promotion Tools – This is a broad term for digital advertising tools
  • Social Media – Social Media is an easy way to increase engagement between your Sales team and key account individuals

ABM Governance

Having the correct processes and support in place is vital for ABM campaigns. There is no one size fits all solution to ABM governance, so it is down to you to decide how many controls your company needs in order to maintain consistency and achieve measurable results. SME’s generally require less strict governance as there are fewer team members involved in the programme, so it is easier to communicate, share and collaboration.

We have developed comprehensive Account Based Marketing e-learning courses. What makes our courses different is that they are specifically designed to teach you all the theory you need to know, but also provide you with all the tools required to implement your own ABM strategy.