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So you’re thinking about launching an account-based marketing programme?
You’re not alone. Many businesses have achieved an ROI (return on investment) from their ABM efforts that has outpaced other types of marketing.
There’s also a whole raft of online tools that can streamline your strategy. These new technologies make it easier than ever to implement and scale a revenue-driving ABM programme.
In this article, I’m going to give you seven tips for success. By implementing them you’ll ensure that your new ABM programme gets off to a flying start.
1. Be clear about your goals
Before you begin, it’s important to be clear about what your goals are and what their timeline is. Every stage of the ABM process, from identifying and profiling accounts through to launching and measuring your first campaign, needs to have clear objectives and timeframes attached.
Specifically, you need to focus on input-based metrics.
Where output-based data measures the results of your campaign, output-based metrics are under your control. They relate to the activities of your marketing and sales teams and measure things like the number of tasks completed, targets reached and ad campaigns run.
2. Bring together sales and marketing
A marketing team’s job is usually limited to getting potential customers through the door. Then sales take over. With account-based marketing, this process is different. Because ABM relies on hyper-targeted messaging, along with very clear target profiles, marketing and sales teams need to be closely aligned.
Design your digital workspace so that sales and marketing can work closely together when necessary, allowing for information to be exchanged freely. Integrate CRM (customer relationship management) and marketing tools wherever possible.
Also make sure there are clear processes for swapping data and insights. If, for example, your marketing team has pitched tailored product features to a target account but your sales team isn’t prepared for that product demonstration, there’s going to be a problem
3. Offer unique product features based on target profiles
In comparison to traditional marketing strategies, where a single message is delivered to a broad audience, ABM utilizes unique messages that are tightly focused on small groups of individuals.
The first step in any campaign is to identify which accounts to pursue and build detailed profiles of them. A lot of ABM campaigns stall, however, when it comes to tailoring their marketing content to the unique needs of their targets. The assumption is that only the message is important.
One area where you can gain a key advantage is by tailoring the features of your product to your potential customers. Granted, this won’t be viable for everyone. But it’s certainly possible for your high-value accounts. Think in terms of bespoke software functionalities, dedicated customer service and even personalized training.
4. Take advantage of online tools
A new generation of ABM-focused online tools can help you streamline your whole campaign. Low-skill tasks can be fully automated while those that require input, like filtering accounts, can be speeded up significantly.
Albacross’ tracking software, for example, can accelerate target acquisition by pinpointing which companies are already visiting your website. Other types of online software, like lead scoring tools, use complex algorithms to evaluate prospects based on everything from historical data to social media activity.
The other crucial advantage that online tools will give you is the ability to scale. Once you’ve found a winning formula, you can ramp up all aspects of your processes. The fact that your team knows how to use the appropriate tech will prove invaluable.
5. Take a multi-channel approach
Once you’ve set clear goals, put a great infrastructure in place, and have identified your key targets (both existing and potential), it’s time to talk to them. The key to a successful ABM programme is a multi-channel approach.
Every account will have multiple points of access and research suggests that a prospect needs to interact with your content 6 to 8 times before they convert into a lead.
As prospects move down through the sales funnel, these channels will become more focused and it’s likely that a smaller number of methods will be used to communicate and engage with prospects.
In the early stages, however, it’s important to target clients by offering a range of touchpoints.
This may sound daunting to smaller companies. Online tools, however, can drastically simplify the process. Albacross’ ad-serving platform, for example, makes it possible to quickly set up and launch ads across numerous publisher networks.
6. Picture the whole buyer journey
ABM doesn’t end at client acquisition. A successful ABM programme accounts for all stages of the customer journey.
What happens after you’ve netted a new account?
It’s vital to plan for after the sale!
Create processes for cementing new customer satisfaction, driving upsells and even encouraging evangelisation. Remember that existing customers can be a big source of new accounts. They will likely have large networks, social media followings and important connections.
7. Metrics, metrics metrics! (And more metrics)
I’ve already mentioned the importance of input-based metrics. But performance, or output-based metrics are the key to determining the success of your campaign. Though everybody’s metric mix will be different, here are a few you should consider:
Awareness - Measuring web traffic is one of the easiest ways to track awareness.
Engagement - How much are potential customers engaging with your ad material? This is one area where slight changes can lead to big results so it’s important to measure and split-test.
Lead conversion - At which point does a prospect become a lead? There are varying definitions but generally speaking it’s the point at which they give you permission to pitch your product. If you have good engagement but low conversion then there might be something wrong with your messaging or opt-in.
Sales - Measuring the number of sales associated with a specific campaign will give an immediate ROI and act as a barometer for the health of your ABM efforts.
Long-term value - How much is an account worth over six-months or a year? By honing in on this metric you will be able to gauge the success of your marketing and sales beyond initial acquisition.
Properly measuring performance metrics can mean the difference between a campaign that leads to dozens of new customers and one that flops. The value of good analytics software and a data-based approach can’t be understated!
Now is the time to start your account-based marketing programme. With the tips in this article you can structure your campaigns so that they cut through the noise and speak directly to those most likely to benefit from your product.
By taking an intelligent approach, making use of online tools and drawing on the talents of both marketing and sales (and any other relevant skillsets), you’ll quickly generate an ROI that simply isn’t possible with other methods.
If you’re interested in learning about how online tools can help boost your results, check out Albacross’ free tracking tool. It will give you a head start by enabling you to target big accounts that are already interested in what you have to offer.