Account-based Marketing (ABM) has descended on the marketing industry like that hot new restaurant that opens in town – everyone wants to check it out and see if it lives up to all the hype. Some people are okay reading the reviews and making a decision. Others need to have that first-hand experience.
Ask yourself a few things before you decide about ABM. Are your marketing messages too varied to use with all prospects? Has your organization reached saturation with its horizontal strategy and needs to reallocate resources? Is business growth leveling out? If you’re having issues with any of these, ABM can help optimize your spend and improve your productivity.
So how do you get started?
1. Identify High Value Accounts
Choosing the accounts to target is more than coming up with a dream list of ideal customers. Create a realistic plan by pinpointing the types of accounts your organization can successfully close. Look at the win rates and the length of sales cycles. You should also look at customer success – which customers are most successful with your product? Analyze your customer database to identify common traits, and think about accounts with a history of buying from companies like yours.
2. Define Goals
Are you trying to acquire new customers or further penetrate existing accounts? Your goals will help you develop the right list of targets. Make sure marketing and sales agree on the target accounts and criteria for success.
3. Prioritize Accounts
Run the list against a predictive model and tier the accounts by low, middle and high in terms of their likelihood to buy from you. Perhaps you’ll focus the majority of your efforts on engaging the accounts in the highest tier – such as by setting up meetings – while you nurture the middle and bottom tiers.
4. Focus with Confidence
One of the hardest parts of ABM is determining where to focus. In fact, many marketers game their lead scoring criteria to ensure target accounts get passed to sales. Predictive marketing can eliminate the guesswork and end-runs by pinpointing accounts and explaining why they make ideal targets. Even more, it will help you zero in on the most important attributes across your accounts and predict the likelihood of converting targeted accounts.
5. Document Your Marketing and Engagement Strategy
Once you have created a list of target accounts and understand the nuances of each, develop a strategy and outline the tactics you’ll use to engage key stakeholders within those companies.
6. Operationalize Your Efforts
Once you identify opportunities and develop your marketing strategy, you need to formalize how marketing and sales will work together. For instance, marketing needs sales to buy-in to marketing campaigns and messages it develops for ABM. A proven approach is to document a service-level agreement (SLA) between marketing and sales that ensure timely follow-up with hot accounts.
7. Align Content Marketing Efforts with Your ABM Strategy
Your content should interest and engage target accounts by focusing on the issues that are relevant in the account’s industry, the account’s organization and for each of the account’s stakeholders – at each stage of the buying cycle.
8. Measure and Optimize Performance
Align your tactics to goals and then define how you will measure your performance. Put processes and tools in place so you can measure results as you execute on campaigns. Over time, you can recalibrate to optimize spend on strategy.
Now you have a simple blueprint for ABM. If you follow these steps, you can pick the right accounts and deploy the right ABM strategy, to ensure that marketing and sales have the tools to help close more accounts, close deals faster and even close deals for higher revenue amounts.
Author's Bio: Brian Kardon is the CMO for Lattice, responsible for the company’s market positioning, demand generation, thought leadership, and integrated marketing to ensure strong connections with customers and constituents. Prior to Lattice, Brian was a driving force behind Eloqua’s explosive growth and leadership in the Revenue Performance Management sector. Before Eloqua, Brian was Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer at Forrester Research, where he helped turn the brand into a leader in the technology research sector. He also served as CMO at Reed Business Information, the largest B2B publisher in the world.
Interested in reading more? Find out what today’s CMOs are really thinking about ABM by downloading Account-Based Marketing: The New Star of B2B Marketing