6 steps to a solid account-based marketing strategy

Robin Emiliani  /  Apr 21, 2020

With the number of decision-makers on B2B purchases ballooning year-over-year, account-based marketing (ABM) is back with a vengeance.

Instead of focusing on individuals—as B2C companies typically do (and should)—B2B understands that the typical enterprise decision is made by no less than 16 stakeholders. Which means the smarter strategy is to target by account, not individual.

But once you understand the importance, how do you pull off great account-based marketing? What does a solid strategy look like?

According to our experts, there are six vital steps to getting started:

  1. Create a list of target accounts

Obviously, you can’t target teams until you know who they are. Work with sales to identify the companies you want to go after, understand the typical makeup of your stakeholder groups, and categorize those accounts if needed.

If, for example, you’re targeting three different industries, now’s the time to not only identify what accounts you’re after but tag them by industry, so that you can better target your messaging. The more detail you can get on your target accounts, the better your marketing and sales will be in the long run.

  1. Get yourself some intent data

Intent data helps you identify businesses that are already interested in your product or service. Which means instead of simply guessing at who might be in the market, you can know who is and target them appropriately.

As our team explained in a recent blog post, It’s yet another way that the old marketing model of throwing a wide net and hoping you catch the right prospects is out. And the newer, smarter model—of identifying the right people before you spend your marketing dollars going after them—is in.”

  1. Plan for direct mail

Right now, a lot of direct mail campaigns are on hold. But that won’t last forever. Because the truth is, studies show that direct mail takes 21% less cognitive effort to process than email. Not to mention that response rates are 35 times higher than email.

When the pandemic is in the rearview mirror, direct mail should bounce right on back into your account-based marketing strategy. And since that ending could come at any time, it’s smart to plan ahead for what your direct mail strategy will look like in the future.

  1. Personalize your nurture emails (and landing pages)

86% of people say personalization impacts their buying choices—and that goes for both B2C and B2B.

Smart account-based marketing embraces this reality, personalizing emails, landing pages, and even direct mail for more customer delight and better business results.

And when we say personalizing here, we mean more than just folding prospect names into your email intros. Real personalization understands who each account is, what they want, what problems they’re trying to solve, and any roadblocks they’ve run into along the way—and serves up content that matches those things.

For example, if your intent data says a company has been researching product A, you don’t lead your emails to them with product B. If the data says they’ve been looking for discounts, maybe you entice them with a discount on a longer-term commitment or a larger purchase. If the data tells you they’re having a customer service issue, emails and landing pages should acknowledge that you’re working on a solution.

  1. Plan for digital advertising

If there’s anything the current world situation has taught us, it’s that digital is vital—and it’s only going to continue to grow in importance.

Internet use is up by 40% in Italy. Average daily traffic across the world has jumped by 27% on Facebook, 16% on Netflix, and 15% on YouTube. And while there’s certainly a fair share of that traffic that represents a more B2C crowd, business has—of course—also moved almost entirely online.

Your ABM strategy was always going to include digital marketing. But now, more than ever, there’s an opportunity to get in front of your decision-makers online.

  1. Follow up, follow up, follow up

75% of B2B sales take at least four months to close. Which is why when it comes to B2B, sales should be following up—a lot.

Do prospects have more questions? Do they need more materials? What would help them make their decision?

Sales should be after the answers to these questions and should work closely with marketing to provide whatever it is prospects need—from whitepapers to vendor comparison charts to live demos or video tutorials.

Your ABM strategy

Need some help fleshing out these six strategic pillars? That’s what we’re here for. Contact our team anytime to find out how we can help.


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