Customization is trending right now in marketing, and it’s not just for B2C. B2B marketers, too, are tossing out “one-size-fits-all” marketing approaches in favor of something a little more personal.
One approach that takes the target into consideration, rather than applying the same strategies for every lead, is account-based marketing (ABM). Let’s look at what it is and how you can use it for your business.
Why it works
Again, customization is big—and necessary. No one likes to feel like they’re one of a thousand mass-email recipients, and this applies to every type of marketing. Instead, when you personalize your offer and your communications, you are able to connect with your leads. In fact, 97% of marketers say ABM approaches have resulted in higher ROIs than other marketing initiatives.
Zeroing in on a given account allows marketing and sales teams to be more effective in their efforts, so that they stop wasting energy chasing dead-end leads. Buyers also appreciate receiving personalized messaging; when you hit on their pain points, they feel like your company understands them, and that makes for an easier sale.
And finally, another benefit of ABM is it beautifully aligns sales and marketing, which is a challenge for so many organizations.
Getting started with ABM
There are steps you should take to effectively use account-based marketing in your business, no matter the size of your operation. Once you’ve gotten started, it’s easy to customize your marketing and sales approach for all your accounts.
1. Build out your ideal target account profile (not just persona)
While creating buyer personas is still important, with ABM you will also want to focus on target account profiles. The process is similar, except instead of focusing on demographics like age and education, you’ll look to industry, company size, key decision makers, and common pain points.
2. Build out your CRM data
You might not have all the account data you need in your CRM to better understand each of your accounts, so focus on building your data, so you can leverage the it. For example, if you create a gated white paper for a particular account, require they provide certain information that will help you better target future marketing and sales efforts, such as:
- Have you assessed solutions for Problem X?
- What is your budget?
- Who is the decision maker?
3. Create targeted, personalized content
Develop content that can scale, such as white papers that deal with an industry issue, and deliver them online through personalization tokens or dynamic, personalized microsites that deliver content that’s of interest to your audience.
Your goal here is to make your content scalable, personalized, and targeted. You’re not writing a single piece of content and disseminating it to your entire contact list. Rather, you are writing on a very specific issue that is relevant to a certain account (or maybe industry), and then personalizing it (e.g., label it: “a white paper or industry report for ABC Company”), or creating a personalized microsite that uses dynamic content which changes based on who is visiting.
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4. Tie leads to CRM workflow and lifecycle changes
Ensure that your contacts, leads, and opportunities roll up to the appropriate account and that you have identified the decision makers at each stage of the sales process. That may change from one stage to another.
As your lead moves through its life cycle and the opportunity moves through the pipeline stages, make sure you’re tracking that progress on the account and modifying your marketing messages as appropriate.
5. Report and track
At every stage of the sales process, make sure you’re tracking marketing impact and sales results at the account level. This will help you to not only remain relevant to a particular account, but it can also give you some insight on how you can best reach other accounts.
6. Align sales and marketing around your ABM strategy
The flip side of ABM is ABS: account-based sales. An ABS approach is the same as ABM in that sales teams target specific accounts and their needs, except it’s through sales strategies. Often sales and marketing overlap, which is why it’s of the utmost importance that you line up the two types to avoid redundancy or gaps in between.
Holding regular team meetings with both the sales and marketing departments ensures everyone is on the same page, and they will support each other’s efforts. For example, if the sales team is pushing a particular product to a specific account, marketing can assist by developing the right content for that audience.
With account-based marketing (and sales), you have an opportunity to show leads how valuable your company can be, plus you can convert more leads to customers than with any other approach. Because you’re taking the time to get to know the needs and problems of each account, you can better demonstrate how your company can help.