Account-based marketing (ABM) has been around for a long time but has fallen out of favor within the industry lately. However, with more companies moving toward individual-based marketing approaches, we're likely to see ABM surge in popularity soon. Already, businesses are uniquely aware of how cost-effective the procedure is. The benefits to a business's ROI are also hard to argue against.
If a company intends to reintroduce ABM into its marketing strategy, it must find practical ways to approach the problem. To help, 13 associates of Forbes Agency Council look at the practical considerations a company should have when using ABM to connect to its customers and offer their best tips on creating an effective ABM strategy.
1. Do Your Homework First
Before making any attempt to reach out to a prospect via ABM, it's in your best interest to thoroughly research the company and understand how they do business. Your pitch and recommendations must be consistent with the company's own brand values and marketing approach to even be considered. Add some creative flair to a well-researched strategy and you should get noticed. - Kenny Eicher, The CSI Group
2. Set Your Goals
This piece of advice applies to everything in marketing, whether it's ABM or not. Before you start anything, make sure you set the clear goals of what you want to achieve as a result. Then choose the appropriate KPIs to see what progress you are making. Being clear on the goals is super important because you can't be doing the same, say, to nurture the existing leads and generate the new ones. - Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS
3. Have A Good Metrics System
One of the most important things is making sure that you can set up, as well as develop, a very clear set of parameters. That means knowing that you have access to the best metrics that are going to easily convert. You KPIs should be clear to all of the members of your team and taken regularly. - Jon James, Ignited Results
4. Get To Know Your Numbers
Knowing your company’s most profitable products or services allows you to actively target potential clients more effectively. Buyers prefer personalized interactions, and you can provide that with targeted content and messages that resonate with their needs. It’s a win-win opportunity that starts with knowing your profitability. - Hannah Trivette, NUVEW Web Solutions
5. Know The Platform, Time The Content
Knowing the ABM platform intimately is key to extracting performance information and optimizing your use of the platform, Also, creating the right content with the correct message for each prospect at the optimal time can be a mammoth task that not every organization will invest in but that depth of detail is really where the payoff comes from. - Daniel O'Connell, Brand Definition
6. Use Intent Data To Improve ABM ROI
Intent data, captured through IP addresses, can identify prospects ready to buy, but it only drills down to company information, not individual decision-makers. By connecting intent data to quality business contact data through company IP address matching, marketers can precisely identify the correct company targets -- who are ready to buy -- and improve ABM results, efficiency and ROI. - Paula Chiocchi, Outward Media, Inc.
7. Leverage Paid Advertising
The most effective ABM strategies leverage paid media to expose a prospect to personalized messages across multiple channels. It isn't enough to simply send cold emails and run a few social ads. Paid advertising allows you to truly "surround" a prospect with your messaging across platforms, leading to much higher brand awareness levels and, in turn, lead conversions. - John Keehler, RUNNER Agency
8. Know Your Time To Close
It's important to have a good idea of your average close time. This allows you to pace your ABM tactics and content accordingly and judge if a client is on track or potentially past the point of conversion. Most ABM campaigns will take longer than expected so be patient with your team and strategy. - Jim Huffman, Growthhit
9. Ensure Transparency
I've found that open sharing of all analytics across the board and a ROAS (return on ad spend) mentality has helped tremendously. In SEO, we look at the KOB (keyword opposition to benefit) model which is basically assigning a cost for ranking and traffic prediction modeling, then we attribute all traffic, sales and other trackable responses to our content and outreach efforts, showing a higher ROI than just clicks and conversions alone. - Loren Baker, Foundation Digital
10. Align With Your Sales Team
ABM is a collaborative effort between the marketing and sales teams. Getting everyone’s buy-in on the ABM approach from the beginning is critical to its success. Weekly check-ins and holding each other accountable on touch points and planning along the way are also tips for ensuring alignment between sales and marketing, leading to ABM success! - Lori Paikin, NaviStone®
11. Educate Your Internal Influencers
Your company isn't going to participate in internal meetings about how your products or services will impact the client. A critical step in your ABM process must be to educate the influencers sitting at the table with the decision-makers so that they can drive the sale when you're not there to. - Douglas Karr, Highbridge
12. Define Target By Strategic Imperatives, Mindset
I believe account-based marketing is the perfect strategy for super-specialized agencies with a unique set of value propositions, crafted for the target they choose. Ideally, the target has to be defined based on strategic imperatives and mindset of the organization, instead of traditional industry-based targeting. It is not for generic "we-do-it-all" agencies that try to compete on price. - Kashif Zaman, Pivyt
13. Use Empathy And Meaningful Language
In marketing, the overuse of jargon is an impediment to clear communication. If you truly know and understand your customer's pain points, using their language can be a powerful force that separates you from the pack. But it starts with truly understanding your customers needs -- which can only be achieved by systematic listening, conversation and smart application of analytics. - Megan Cunningham, Magnet Media, Inc.