In the first installment of this three-part series on Account-Based Marketing (ABM) we covered what account-based marketing is and how it benefits B2B tech companies. In this second installment, we’ll look at the tactics most commonly used in effective ABM campaigns.
Key Account-Based Marketing Tactics
One of the reasons why ABM is so effective is the ability to personalize campaigns to companies, specific personas, and their unique interests and priorities. In the first phase of an ABM effort, known as Identify, marketers pinpoint accounts with the highest ROI potential as well the most effective strategy for reaching them. A few tactics that lend themselves to high-impact account-based campaigns are outlined below.
Content is critical to successful account-based marketing. A major technology purchase within a large company will, more often than not, require the approval of a technology buying committee. A buying committee will have a variety of persona types, each focused on what the tech being considered will bring to their own area of expertise. That’s why content created as part of an ABM effort must meet each of these decision-makers both where and how they learn. When the content is written to speak to the unique pain points of each buyer, it helps to align their thinking on which attributes of a solution are most important while making your company’s products and services a frontrunner for the sale.
Carefully consider the key issues your content should address by collaborating with sales teams. Your salespeople work to establish and grow relationships with customers and prospects, so they know what issues are top of mind for them. Take what’s known about the target account and look for connections in your content library. Assess existing content to see if it can be used as-is or slightly modified for an ABM campaign. You might have to produce some new pieces, but there are likely some that can be repurposed.
When Sangram Vajre, co-founder of Terminus, appeared on the Top 3 for Tech Marketers podcast (Top 3 Things the C-Suite Should Know About ABM), he stated his belief that “podcasts are the new white paper.” His enthusiasm for the new medium isn’t unfounded. With a white paper, the goal is to have someone download it and then capture that person as a lead. But with ABM, the target company and personas are known, so there’s no need to capture the lead. Plus, while white papers are great for conveying facts and technical information, they have an inherently sterile feel to them. Podcasts, on the other hand, enable authentic conversations that can be repurposed into social media and digital content.
It’s worth mentioning that podcasts have superior metrics–who’s downloading it, listening to it, and how long they listen. All of that information can help fine-tune ongoing podcast efforts.
It’s difficult to rise above the white noise that clogs most email inboxes. Email still has value in marketing (addressed in the next section), but with ABM direct mail is popular for good reason. Because ABM is more precise or targeted, it’s a reliable way to make introductions, start conversations, by sending gifts or executive door openers (EDOs). Premium EDOs are especially effective for initiating an ongoing conversation that can be moved from digital or even phone interactions to in-person engagements.
As mentioned above, direct mail is ideally suited to ABM, and email is part of the overall mix for B2B tech marketing efforts. Email messaging for account-based marketing must be tailored to each person receiving it, and address the pain points uncovered for that specific persona. It should also take the recipient through a journey that helps them learn, understand and act on your value proposition through a series of touchpoints, ideally encouraging them to involve the other contacts within the organization to take a meeting with you.
Paid digital advertising is a fantastic element of an ABM program because it allows marketers to identify and reach targeted potential buyers over a variety of channels. While Google search doesn’t enable you to target specific accounts, it is a vital strategy to bring interested contacts to your website to help build your target account list. Once a prospect is identified as having visited your site, display ads, video ads, and full remarketing capabilities should be included as part of your ABM strategy. Paid social ads on LinkedIn are an effective way to target specific companies and personas and help get marketers in front of individuals on tech buying committees with the best message for them.
All of the content, direct mail, email, and paid advertising in an ABM campaign need to drive to a centralized web presence – whether it is your website, a microsite, or a landing page. That site can be used to deliver additional content, schedule appointments, or any number of other things, but it should be personalized to have maximum impact. Combine the intelligence gathered in the second phase of ABM planning (Expand) with personalization technology to create a web experience that speaks to the known pain points of the target accounts.
The beauty of webinars is that they can be customized to speak directly to target audiences about their known areas of interest. Use polling and engagement during the event to profile the attendees and get smarter about pain points and priorities. When recorded, webinars are also excellent content assets that can continue to be promoted and used to educate specific audiences. It’s important to promote the webinar via email or social media in the days and weeks leading up to the live broadcast and have a dedicated landing page for webinar registration. Be sure to encourage people to register even if they can’t attend, then provide an on-demand link to the webinar after the live broadcast.
Account-Based Marketing (ABM) isn’t a fad; it’s here to stay. Why? Because it works. Companies using ABM generate exponentially more revenue (some as much as 200% more) from their marketing efforts. ABM’s highly targeted, personalized communication with carefully selected companies is already a proven way to win new business and will continue to evolve to meet the needs of both marketers and customers.
In the third installment of this series, we’ll look at the alignment benefits of ABM and the impact a cohesive marketing and sales effort can have on your organization. Subscribe to our blog to make sure you don’t miss it!