With an account-based marketing strategy, you won’t just be whispering into the wind about your amazing products or services, hoping to catch a lead. Instead, you’ll be addressing your key accounts with a personalised message that speaks directly to their pain points.
This powerful form of B2B marketing is one of the most effective ways to generate new customers and leads, retain your current customers, improve your ROI and even exceed your revenue goals.
The success of account-based marketing is due to the alignment between the sales and marketing teams, not to mention the mission of the entire business. This alignment drives greater efficiency, more direct marketing campaigns, clearer direction, greater ROI, and potentially 208% more revenue. Are you keen to learn more?
In this article, we are going to cover what account-based marketing is and some of the benefits of this B2B marketing method. We’ll then break down exactly how to target accounts in today’s marketing landscape for yourself. So let’s dive in.
How to target accounts in today’s marketing landscape?
To target accounts in today’s marketing landscape, you need to follow an account-based marketing strategy. You first need to determine what kind of account-based marketing you are going to conduct. Typically this will be targeted at either one-to-one, one-to-few, or one-to-many accounts.
You then need to identify and define your high-value target accounts and plan personal and powerful content that speaks directly to your ideal customer. Identify and utilise the channels of communication that your high-value accounts already leverage and target them directly with your valuable content.
We will dive into this exact strategy further below; however, first, let’s look at what account-based marketing actually is and the benefits of this B2B marketing method.
What is account-based marketing?
Account-based marketing (ABM) is a type of marketing strategy that aligns both the marketing and sales teams to create a focused growth strategy with a personalised approach to specific high-value accounts.
Account-based marketing targets particular accounts that are in alignment with the specific pain point that you solve. Targeting a specific account is much more focused than targeting an entire market or industry. This also makes it a much more efficient method of marketing.
To help explain account-based marketing and to make it a little clearer, try thinking of it this way instead:
With inbound marketing, you take a large net to catch hundreds of fish with the hope that you actually catch the one fish that you really want. With account-based marketing, you are solely focused on that one fish. You put all your time, energy, and effort into catching that fish and taking it home.
Account-based marketing is highly focused. The accounts themselves are considered as individual markets and, as such, are targeted in a much more direct and personal way.
The popularity of account-based marketing has continued to rise, year on year. According to the 2020 State of ABM report, 94.2% of respondents now engage in active ABM with mature account-based marketing campaigns producing 79% of all sale opportunities.
The benefits of account-based marketing
If you weren’t already convinced, then here are some other benefits of account-based marketing.
Sales and marketing team alignment:
Traditionally, marketing campaigns target industries and markets to generate leads. The sales department then works through the sales cycle and converts these leads into sales. With ABM strategy, the marketing team starts their process by targeting accounts that are carefully selected and highly likely to convert. With ABM, the two departments are working in alignment.
Efficient marketing efforts:
The marketing efforts are direct and focused on targeted accounts, which means that fewer resources are wasted. This direct approach is much more efficient as you only engage with accounts that are likely to turn into sales.
Account-based marketing encourages quality over quantity. You will have a carefully selected, high-value target account that you can nurture and retain. This approach leads to solid customer relationships that often result in expansion, further sales, and loyal accounts.
Consistent customer experience:
Instead of targeting whole industries or markets, account-based marketing pin-points specific accounts with intentional, personalised content. The customer experience is based on relationship building, nurturing, and loyalty and, as such, is overall a very positive customer experience.
The golden ticket. According to Alterra Group, 97% of marketers achieved higher ROI with ABM than with any other marketing initiative. The personalised approach makes the marketing campaign particularly powerful, and as such, is more likely to be successful and have a high ROI.
How to target accounts with account-based marketing
So we have identified what account-based marketing is and how it can help benefit your business. It is a hugely effective B2B marketing strategy, with 83% of companies that are utilising this strategy benefitting from increased engagement with their target accounts.
So if you are keen to dive into account-based marketing yourself, we have created this step by step strategy to target accounts with account-based marketing.
Determine the type of ABM campaign
First things first, you need to get really clear on the type of account-based marketing campaign you want to carry out. These are usually broken down into three main options.
This type of campaign will be highly focused and customised to a small number of individual accounts. It is often focused on existing key accounts and is centred around engagement and relationship building. This type of account-based marketing is usually high in investment but also high in ROI per account. Usually, this type of campaign will target 5 to 50 accounts.
For this type of campaign, the marketing team will work closely with the sales team to focus on clusters of accounts. These clusters are organised by certain similar attributes, for example, they might have similar pain points that they are trying to work through. These clusters usually consist of 5 to 15 accounts each and focus on both new and existing accounts. They are focused on account engagement and generating leads.
This type of campaign has the largest scope. The purpose of this campaign is to engage and delight new accounts. The level of personalisation is much lower and is predominantly lead-focused. For this type of campaign, the investment is low, however, the ROI matches this.
Locate and define target accounts
Once you have identified the type of account-based marketing campaign that you wish to carry out, you next need to discover these accounts. This is one of the most important steps in account-based marketing. Identifying the right targets will make all the difference to the success of your campaign.
It is important for the marketing team to work closely with the sales teams. This will ensure that you identify and select accounts that are in alignment with your ideal customer. This close relationship between the marketing and sales team is critical for effective account-based marketing campaigns.
When identifying the target accounts, there are several things to take into consideration.
- Revenue potential,
- Market influence
- Likelihood of repeat purchase
- Firmographic data (such as the type of organisation, their geographic location, their industry, the technologies they use)
In addition to this, you then need to knuckle down and get even more specific. When it comes to account-based marketing, the devil is in the detail.
- What does this ideal persona look like?
- How many are there?
- Who are the key players within the accounts?
- Who are the decision-makers?
- Who are the account influencers?
- What is the structure of this account?
- How are the decisions made?
Take some time on this part of the process because it will make all the difference to the success of your campaign.
Once you have identified the right high-value accounts, both the marketing and sales teams can work in synergy to produce and deliver personal, powerful campaigns.
Next, you need to get to the nitty-gritty and start planning your content and personalised message for your campaign.
It is important to address significant business challenges and the problems that you solve. Ask yourself how your message and content is specifically answering your ideal accounts pain points?
Remember to consider how you can utilise content syndication. How can you republish content across different channels through different means, such as blog posts, social media infographics, webinars and so on?
When it comes to planning the content, the type of content and the message that you convey will vary depending on the type of campaign that you intend to run. For example, a one-to-one campaign will look very different to a one-to-many account-based marketing campaign.
Identify channels of communication
When you are planning your content, it is also essential to bear in mind the channels in which you intend to display your content.
You have already identified your ideal accounts, so what platforms do they already leverage? Go directly to them with your personalised message. Be visible on their platforms and target them directly.
Similarly to the above, depending on the type of campaign that you want to run, the channel of communication that you choose to use might be different. It is important to speak directly to your ideal accounts, so identify which platforms are going to be powerful for your campaign.
Here are some potential channels of communication that you could leverage:
- Webinar outreach
- Social media
- Paid social
- Paid advertising
- Display ads and retargeting ads
- Events – live and virtual
- Personalised direct mail
- Email marketing/e-newsletter
- Account specific customised content
- customised landing pages tailored to a specific need
- Produce podcasts
- Blog content (utilise content syndication)
Run targeted campaigns
Now that you have determined the type of account-based marketing campaign you want to run, identified your high-value accounts, planned your content, and decided on which channels of communication you will utilise, you can actually start running your targeted campaigns.
These targeted and coordinated campaigns are powerful as they blend the efforts of both the marketing and the sales team for maximum impact. The marketing team will create and execute campaigns, using online software platforms such as N.Rich. The sales team will then follow up and convert engaged high-value accounts into opportunities.
As mentioned above, the strategies for running these account-based marketing campaigns will differ depending on if you intend to run a one-to-one, one-to-few or one-to-many account-based marketing campaign.
Test, measure, learn and optimise
As with any marketing campaign, the most important final step is to test, measure, learn and optimise your campaigns. The beauty of this is that you can constantly learn and improve and thus improve your results and increase your ROI.
In order to improve your future account-based marketing results, it is important to analyse individual campaigns to identify what worked well and what needs to be improved. As well as identify any gaps in your campaign or problems that need to be resolved.
Some possible account-based marketing KPI’s you could consider including:
- New business generation – are your account-based marketing efforts working? Are accounts engaging with your campaigns?
- Customer retention – retention is the new acquisition. Are your current customers engaging? Are they purchasing more?
- Account influence – are you marketing to the correct accounts? Are you landing accounts?
- Opportunity accounts -These are the leads and conversions from your account-based marketing efforts. How successfully are your converting engaged accounts into opportunities?
- Timeframe – how long has it taken to close the deal? Account-based marketing deals should close faster than other approaches.
In order to have accurate and realistic feedback on the success of your account-based marketing strategy campaign, it is important to get specific on what worked and what didn’t.
Today’s marketing landscape
Account-based marketing is compelling and relevant in today’s B2B marketing landscape. Authentic, true personalisation is powerful and proven to produce the highest ROI.
As we emerge from the pandemic, customer retention has become the new acquisition. Companies value being nurtured. Quality over quantity certainly applies here as account-based marketing focuses on carefully selected, specific accounts.
Mature account-based marketing is resilient. It has been reported that mature account-centric marketing can produce 79% of opportunities and 73% of total revenue solely through ABM efforts.
Hopefully, by this point, you now feel confident that you can target accounts using account-based marketing for your B2B marketing efforts. Using our step-by-step guide, you should now be clear on the action that you need to take to begin your own account-based marketing strategy.
This personalised and direct approach to B2B marketing is particularly effective in today’s marketing landscape and continues to grow in popularity and demand. The unity between the marketing and sales teams improves the chances of converting your targeted accounts into loyal customers.