Getting Started with Account Based Marketing

What is Account Based Marketing

Over the last few months’ a number of our clients here at The Demand Generation Team have kicked off some incredible Account Based Marketing campaigns. Targeting a host of different companies, segments and revenue streams. As ever with all things Demand Generation we’ve been connecting Personas and Content with Audience Segmentation, Inbound Channels & Tactics and of course analysing the data in spades!

If you’re thinking of getting started with Account Based Marketing strategy or even just running an ABM campaign then this blog will walk you through some of the key terminology, tools and techniques you need to know for success.

Let’s start with some basics just What is Account Based Marketing? Some of you may know it in its’ traditional form of Key Account Marketing but fast-forward to 2021 and the type of personalised, targeted marketing that was once the reserve of your biggest and brightest is now on the agenda (or should be) for a much wider audience. Simply put “Account Based Marketing is the process of aligning Marketing & Sales activity, strategy and execution with target groups to drive revenue growth”.

Now for the purists among you we’d 100% agree that this should be applied to all types of Sales and Marketing and of course but we’re talking here about key segments of the market that need a different, more specialist approach. We should of course note that ABM is typical the preserve of the B2B Marketer but with the innovations in targeting we believe that B2C should be a key consideration too.

Why Adopt an ABM approach?

If, like many businesses you’re looking for increased return from your marketing, or looking to drive better conversions from your Marketing leads then ABM is a good place to start. Unlike broader Sales & Marketing strategies ABM aligns Sales and Marketing around a set of common accounts and target groups. This can mean that your Sales team are much more in tune with the type of opportunities Marketing create and that Marketing are fully bought in to the types of clients that the sales team want (and that help the business grow).

Key Terms in Account Based Marketing

If you’re planning on kicking off an Account Based Marketing strategy then it’s probably a good idea to start with the basics and some of the terms you’ll hear bandied about.

  • ABM – Account Based Marketing
  • Segment – The type of Account or Accounts(s) you’re specifically targeting
  • Persona – Effectively your target buyer with the account or household. Be mindful that with large deals you could have multiple personas involved at different buying stages.
  • Demographic – Size, Turnover, Scope, Type etc of the company or household that you want to target.
  • TAM – Total Addressable Market – this is good one to get started with before you start planning tactics, make sure you understand your total addressable market and which platforms you can engage them through.
  • CRM – Customer Relationship Management system, this will enable you to manage and understand your success rates for any ABM program.
  • MAP – Marketing Automation platform, this will be a crucial element of how you nurture your ABM segment to fruition.
  • Lifecycle Stage – The overall journey of engagement that your target customers take with you or any other provider, understanding this is a great way to identify optimum customer segments in your Total Addressable Market
  • SCV – Single Customer View – a combined view of all of your customer intelligence in one platform to provide better understanding of each target customer.
  • ABM Technology – typically ABM technology will allow you to target, engage and convert customers solely in your target segments. There are a host of providers out there, some which only provide IP targeting, some help you to personalise content based on your segments and others provide ad segmentation to help you get better results from your budget.

Getting Started with Account Based Marketing

If you’re just getting started with Account Based Marketing then don’t be put off by the amount of jargon and acronyms above, yes it can be a complex process, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

The first step for anyone just starting with ABM is to define their target groups, there are 4 widely accepted ABM groups but don’t let these stop you from defining your own, after all this is your Account Based Marketing strategy and your audience so work with you team to define who you really want on your books.

To get you started here are the four common types of ABM

Getting Started with Account Based Marketing

  1. Named Account – pre known accounts that you and your teams have selected based on their brand, size, position or any other you’ve identified as core to your business.
  2. Large Account – similar to Named Account but in this case you’ll be targeting based on demographics, which could be size, sector, turnover or known use of your product/ service range but in most cases these are, as the name suggests, large accounts that would make a big difference.
  3. Segment – Segment ABM tends to focus on other factors such as sector, product focus, service type etc, as is typically aligned to a core service or product portfolio that you know you have key benefits with.
  4. Lifecycle – Lifecycle ABM could combine any of the segments above or standalone based on a known stage in the company’s lifecycle, for example services that have a contract length or products that are replaced on a broadly known cycle. This can also include your own customer base with dedicated plays designed to ensure they remain with you or repeat their purchases.

All ABM Strategies, whichever you opt for, must have good, relevant and useful content at their heart. Building good content should be a must for all marketing strategies but for ABM, when you are laser accurate with you targeting, gives you the opportunity to drive relevance in content at a new scale. Choosing the right format for your content should hinge on your potential personas and understand what they need, but remember not all personas are the same or like to consume content in the same way so look at a range of formats, Video, Blogs, Guide and Tools to engage your audience.

The topics and subject matter to your ABM content also need to be aligned with your target segments, for example if you’re targeting retailers, then give them useful intelligent content that really helps them identify and solve challenges in their world, not yours.

As for tactics, here’s where ABM can get really exciting. The world is effectively your oyster to attract, engage and convert new ABM prospects and nurture them through your Demand Generation Funnel. A good ABM platform will help you to target your segments via inbound channels, like Search and of course the social platforms can be segmented at demographic level also but don’t forget to factor in human touches. Events and Associations that your audience value can be key parts of a healthy ABM approach. If you’re just getting started with Account Based Marketing then check out the Attraction Blog for insight into key attraction channels and tactics.

ABM for Small Businesses

For Smaller Businesses that don’t want to invest in large scale ABM technology but do want to adopt ABM programs there are a host of ways to target your inbound marketing around one or more of the key segments above. LinkedIn for example has great demographic tools that enable detailed segmentation of your audiences and similarly using some of Google’s in-market audiences can be a great way of honing your segment and lifecycle approaches. In addition make sure you use the customer Lookalike function across your platforms where you can, whilst this won’t enable a Named Account approach it can work really well for your target groups and segment approaches.

We started off this blog by sharing our definition of ABM which was “Account Based Marketing is the process of aligning Marketing & Sales activity, strategy and execution with target groups to drive revenue growth”. For anyone thinking of getting started with Account Based Marketing or adopting their own ABM approach then we hope this has given you a springboard to action your new approach and as ever if we can help then we’d love to hear from you, drop your details below and we’ll be back to you in a jiffy

Posted by Helen Brookes on Thursday 22nd April 2021