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Account-Based Marketing Targets High-Value Accounts

Traditional B2B marketing casts a wide net of prospects to generate leads and drive revenue. Account-based marketing (ABM) takes a different approach. Account-based marketing—sometimes referred to as key account marketing—focuses sales and marketing resources on a smaller set of high-value accounts, instead of going after an entire industry.

Account-based marketing is often called the next generation of marketing automation. To be successful, it requires alignment between sales and marketing so that your company can achieve better marketing conversion and improve sales close rates. It involves more precise targeting by focusing resources on high-potential accounts and connecting the dots between data, leads, decision makers, and accounts.

Key Account Marketing Means Focusing on the Right Customers

Essentially, ABM narrows down your focus to your highest opportunity accounts, viewing each as a market of one and even targeting specific people at each account. While an inbound B2B marketing campaign would include relevant and intriguing content that helps a large group of potential prospects to find you, an ABM effort targets a few, high-value accounts (and their key decision makers) with customized messaging.

This includes creating relevant and personalized emails and content for each account and making them aware of events and offers that would interest them the most. ABM allows marketers to narrow and sharpen their approach by marketing straight to key decision makers, the ones who have power over whether or not to buy in. From there, marketers can begin to build trust and a strong, ongoing business relationship with them.

An organization needs to be careful in choosing which clients and prospects are their key accounts. Not all prospects or customers will meet your criteria for being a key strategic account, and you need to concentrate your ABM efforts on those that do.

What makes for a good key account prospect or customer? While the criteria could change depending on the marketplace or industry, an ideal ABM account should be one that has the most revenue potential to make a highly targeted marketing effort worth it.

Other factors to consider include the account’s past history as well as any previous relationship with you or your competitors. Also, you should find out if you and this account have mutual goals that you can accomplish together. If not, there is little point in moving forward.

Aligning Your Sales and Marketing Efforts

Because account-based marketing requires personalized messaging and communications, aligning your sales and marketing teams is vital. ABM necessitates that these two organizations work together to identity new accounts, and then develop a coordinated strategy to engage with them on an ongoing basis. To accomplish this, sales and marketing need to share data and customer feedback. Both sales and marketing need to measure and optimize their efforts to see what is and isn’t working, tweaking their campaigns to match what they learn.

The importance of data to a united marketing and sales effort cannot be overstated. The more information both teams have to work with the more they will be able to create effective content that helps establish, nurture, and grow a relationship with their accounts. By having a better idea of what matters to an account and how to help solve prospect or client’s business problems, the better you can create more compelling marketing and sales campaigns.

How Does Account-Based Marketing Work?

The alignment between your B2B sales and marketing teams helps you create a superior customer experience for your most important accounts. ABM incorporates the right data and a strategic, personalized marketing approach that enables you to:

  • Use a wealth of B2B audience data for account-based targeting and personalized campaigns
  • Target audiences that look like your ideal buyers to generate higher-quality leads
  • Improve marketing and sales alignment to drive conversions and revenue

How to Develop Successful ABM Campaigns

To successfully market to strategic accounts, most campaigns follow these basic guidelines:

  • Do your research on the market and your current accounts and gather all pertinent information together. This can help you see where you are now—and where you need to go.
  • Define your goals and devise a plan of action. This could include a timeline, budget, and key performance indicators (KPIs) that you will use to gauge your success.
  • Select which potential accounts you want to target and decide how to move forward with the accounts you already have. Make sure you have accurate information about them and have developed the right insights into how to engage and communicate with these accounts.
  • Align your marketing and sales teams. Give them the data and resources they require to create a targeted, account-based marketing campaign.
  • Set your plan into motion. Contact and engage with your targeted accounts.
  • Measure your efforts and gather feedback. Review campaign metrics, make adjustments, and optimize.

Make Data Management Work for ABM

Account-based marketing won’t work unless you target the right accounts. Which is why data plays a key role in ABM. Lead scoring is also important. Lead scoring is a methodology that ranks prospects according to the perceived value of each lead. It looks at all the prospects in your sales cycle and gauges their interest. Lead scoring tallies up scores for your leads and helps you decide who is closest and most eager to purchasing, and who might need more nurturing.

Successful ABM campaigns start by assessing first-party data and digital body language, which is the sum total of an account’s online activity such as websites visited and for how long, to find the accounts with the highest lead scores. This data shows you where to focus your sales and marketing efforts.

How do you acquire this type of data?

You can filter account lists by company and run more targeted campaigns to drive engagement and ROI. You might power these campaigns using data management focused on accounts by industry, revenue, or geography. With your own data and a targeted marketing perspective, you can then target the anonymous users who visit and utilize your accounts.

With a list of anonymous users at your accounts, you can now target them on external websites using data activation. When these users click on the ad, they arrive at a customized landing page. As the prospects view this unique experience, they are more likely to submit the form. Once they click the submit button, those anonymous users become known prospects and you can capture first-party information.

Lead Scoring by Account

Modern B2B marketers live and breathe lead management. But ABM requires that you look beyond individual lead scoring to drive better results. Tracking a cumulative lead score by account provides you with insights into which accounts demonstrate the greatest propensity to buy.

You sales team can really see the overall account—especially with named accounts—and know when to make the right moves to accelerate deals. Knowing the influencers and buying committee members enables sales to target specific customers and demonstrate a higher level of insight into that account’s needs and preferences.

Strategic Business Marketing

Ultimately, ABM is strategic business marketing. It requires proper preparation and planning to achieve the best results.

The more information you have, the more insights you can develop to refine and improve your ABM strategy. But your work isn’t done after the planning stage. You should be constantly taking in new data about your accounts and how you are doing with your marketing and sales to tweak, revamp, and improve your approach to each account. After all, these high-value accounts will have their own needs and preferences, and it’s your job to demonstrate how your products or services meet those needs. Patience, information, planning, creativity, and relationship-building all have come together in a successful ABM campaign.