Account-based marketing (ABM) may not exactly be the Wild West, but it’s not old school either. Recently, The State of ABM Report showed that only 17% of companies that have implemented an account-based strategy have it fully embedded in their marketing plan.
This stat means more people than not could still benefit from an agency to help them get their feet wet with ABM.
And that news smells like a big opportunity.
ABM uses sales and marketing efforts to create tightly tailored messaging geared toward high-value accounts. Agencies employ ABM to help their clients align their priorities and effectively target key accounts.
While there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for success, there are some clearly outlined methodologies that offer proven results.
Want to help clients align sales and marketing teams, decrease the sales cycle, and grow their company faster? Here are 11 of the most impactful ABM strategies to assist you.
Use Teamwork to optimize your marketing project management.
Understanding the 3 types of ABM strategies
There’s more than one type of ABM strategy agencies can use with their clients. Each involves the marketing and sales team, and targets the company’s ideal customer profile. From there, the three differ in a few significant ways.
Let’s look at each one.
Strategic ABM: One-to-one
ABM campaigns should be highly targeted, which is why a one-to-one strategy works well for the highest-priority accounts.
This plan focuses on a client’s unique needs and crafts a consistent, specific message. It requires tight alignment with sales, marketing, and executive teams, as there must be a tailored plan for a handful of clients.
Agencies that help their clients develop a one-to-one ABM strategy must warn them that it takes a lot of time and resources to build and bring to fruition.
ABM Lite: One-to-few
For prospects that don’t rank as the highest level target account list but are still sought after and valuable, a one-to-few marketing approach is a smart option.
This strategy uses messaging that isn’t as highly targeted as the one-to-one content, but is still geared toward the potential clients’ unique needs. ABM lite requires sales and marketing to pinpoint five to 10 accounts with similar goals and pain points.
Grouping these accounts successfully is critical. From there, a positive outcome hinges on creating the right message for multiple accounts and automating some processes to save time.
Programmatic ABM: One-to-many
Just like the one-to-few approach, programmatic ABM groups target accounts with similar needs and then use content marketing to convey the company’s message. This initiative can reach out to hundreds or even thousands of targeted accounts for the agency’s client.
Programmatic ABM heavily depends on marketing automation techniques like:
CRM filters to group accounts
Specific landing pages for targets
While programmatic ABM can still include some level of personalization and tailoring, it's not as targeted as the other two strategies. It also doesn’t take as much time or resources to initiate and maintain, but still offers measurable results.
The one-to-many strategy works well for small companies with limited budgets.
Agencies can use the Teamwork platform to manage multiple clients with ease.
Account-based marketing strategies to elevate client success: 11 tactics and methods
Agencies can use different strategies for laying out and managing their clients’ ABM strategies. We’ve made a list of the 11 most valuable tactics that garner the greatest success.
Some of these marketing efforts work together, while others are best on their own. The combination depends on the company size, industry, goals, and targeted accounts.
1) Identify target accounts and personas
Determining which accounts your client should designate as “ideal” is a crucial part of the ABM puzzle. Go wrong at this step and, even if they close the account, it won’t be as profitable as they’d hoped.
B2B marketers and their sales rep counterparts should collaborate on the companies to target. The decision should factor in data like:
How much business the target would bring to the company
If the target is growing or stale (for scalability planning)
Knowing which accounts are partnering with your client’s top competitors
Combining competitor research, market data, sales reps’ personal knowledge, and public company information offers insight into if that organization should be on your client’s high-value accounts list.
2) Create personalized and relevant content
Content marketing programs are where ABM flourishes or fails. Find topics the targets care about and craft content that addresses their concerns (and personalizing it at every step). This type of content creates engagement and builds positive relationships with targeted accounts.
There are lots of channels for creating and sharing personalized content:
Create dynamic email campaigns.
Write blogs, white papers, or e-books.
Present webinars to the audience.
By sharing relevant content, the potential client gets to know your customer’s brand before they start down the buyer’s journey.
There are dozens of helpful tools to keep a content strategy organized and optimized so it performs well. Project management platforms like Teamwork are integral tools for planning, collaborating, executing, and measuring success.
3) Use a multi-channel marketing approach
Focusing on one marketing channel isn’t a good strategy and won’t net the results that using a multichannel approach will.
If targets aren’t exposed to the message, the efforts are wasted. Once you identify the ideal key account personas and create snappy, relevant content, the marketing message should blast out in multiple ways. The more places it’s shared, the more likely the target audience will see and engage with it.
Marketing channels can be either inbound or outbound.
Some examples of outbound channels are:
Social media pages and posts
Types of inbound marketing channels are:
Optimized web pages
Some valuable tools that can amplify your client’s success with multichannel marketing are Hubspot, Terminus, Demand Base, and Jabmo.
4) Engage and connect with key decision makers
A smart marketing approach and compelling content shared via multiple channels may get the company’s attention, but sales will need to take the baton and run with it to cross the finish line.
Sales can strengthen the relationships and continue building trust in various ways. Attending in-person and virtual meetings, hosting events, and continuing to provide valuable information that’s tailored to the prospect and personalized to their needs are a few ideas that continue warming up the prospect.
Marketing plays a supporting role in this stage of the strategy by developing more specifically targeted content, like case studies. A CRM such as Salesforce, Zoho, or Netsuite is necessary to keep marketing and sales aligned and informed of progress.
5) Run targeted online advertising campaigns
Another productive account-based marketing tactic is to use the power of advertising to deliver the message to high-priority accounts.
Designing personalized ads and placing them where you know your client’s targets hang out increases the return on investment from the ABM program.
Websites like LinkedIn are good places to run online ads. Many B2B companies have employees who visit the site daily. Industry-specific websites, online trade publications, and other niche websites are also good options for getting an ad in front of your client’s targets.
Online advertising does cost money, but running targeted ads to the ideal client personas is a more cost-effective campaign than generic ads that have no segmentation.
6) Network with target accounts on social media
The research marketing did on the front end to determine the list of accounts they would target is beneficial when you’re deploying this tactic. Knowing the social media sites your customer’s ideal persona helps you find a way to connect with them and start a non-salesy, pressure-free conversation.
Your sales team can then:
Join groups targets are members of.
Comment on and like posts they’ve made.
Ask them questions.
Share content that relates to their posts.
Invite them to be guest speakers on a podcast, webinar, or event.
Reach out on LinkedIn
By showing value first, this ABM tactic helps potential customers let their guard down and establish trust in the salesperson without the stress of dealing with a pitch. Networking in an unassuming way like this warms the person to your client’s brand and makes it easier to move them through the sales funnel.
7) Utilize email marketing campaigns
Email marketing plays a vital role in ABM's success and should never be left out of the plan. Email is still a priceless tool for connecting with accounts and sharing company information.
Certain aspects of an email campaign drive its success. Or lack of.
First, always segment specific accounts using filters, and personalize the email as much as possible. There are email marketing platforms like Hubspot, Constant Contact, and MailChimp that make it easy.
Then, rock the subject line. Smart marketers spend as much time crafting the subject line as they do writing the entire email.
Third, take mobility into consideration with graphic and layout choices. You don’t want the email coming across the target’s smartphone as a garbled mess.
Finally, give them an action to take. Add a call-to-action (CTA) for contacting sales, downloading an e-book, or registering for a webinar. The email should be a path that leads them somewhere further along the lead generation journey.
8) Build personalized landing pages
Sooner or later, if you’ve built an effective ABM strategy and got your client's message in front of the right accounts, they will eventually end up on a landing page. Make it count by amping up the page's quality and personalizing it to the contact’s needs.
Here are a few landing page best practices:
Make it relevant: The landing page should speak to the prospect’s need or pain point they’re looking to address.
Make it an offer they can’t refuse: Use value propositions to drive home the concept that the person will receive a personalized price and experience if they become a customer.
Make it flow: The landing page content should be clear, easy to read, and nicely laid out. Be sure to put the highest-priority information in the top third of the page. Add a personalized offer that’s easy to understand. They should quickly see “what’s in it for them”.
9) Leverage customer testimonials and case studies
As key accounts navigate the buyer’s journey, the nature of the content your client feeds them should change.
In the beginning, content that alleviated a broad pain point, addressed inefficiency, or created cost savings was the big winner.
As the contact gets closer to making a buying decision, the content’s focus must narrow to your client’s brand. It should lay out why their product or service is the best option and offer proof they’re as good as they claim.
Nothing helps tell this story better than testimonials and case studies.
Companies with customers happy enough to share their experiences build a potential client’s trust faster than a sales rep telling them exactly the same thing. Folding case studies and customer testimonials into the ABM strategy adds to its credibility and success.
10) Develop engaging and personalized video content
Readable content is essential, but video content is an additional way to make an impact on your client’s ideal buyer persona. Many people will watch a short video but would never take the time to read a blog or infographic.
There are many avenues to explore with video contact. Companies can use them for:
Short leadership talks
Announcements about special deals or promotions
Salesperson meeting follow-ups and thank-yous
Be sure to personalize the video to the target account and only use high-quality videos. Vidyard, Biteable, and WeVideo are exciting tools that can help you make compelling video content.
11) Keep a close eye on data and analytics to track your ABM efforts
Say it out loud:
Metrics matter monstrously.
If you aren’t helping your client track and measure finite analytics, then they have no idea if their ABM strategy is working great or failing miserably. This oversight is not a successful recipe for marketing campaign management.
There are several key performance indicators (KPIs) and objective key results (OKRs) to measure the campaign’s success:
Conversion metrics: Open and click-through rates give you an idea of how interesting the email was to your audience. However, the conversion rate provides more insight into its effectiveness. Did the target take the desired action? The higher the conversion rates, the more relevant and aligned the campaign is functioning.
Account-based engagement: Is the email campaign engagement increasing or falling off? Looking at this trend tells you and your client if the layout, personalization, subject line, and CTA are hitting or missing the mark.
Length of the sales cycle: Everyone involved wants to get those big customers on the books. One of the main reasons to use an ABM strategy is to decrease the time to close. Tracking how long your client’s process takes and comparing it over time is an important way to measure the ABM campaign’s effectiveness.
Return on investment (ROI): It’s always good to measure how much a campaign returns on what was spent to execute it. If the campaign is costing a fraction of what it brings in, you have a winner.
Enhance your account-based marketing projects with Teamwork
Agencies that assist their clients in formulating an ABM strategy can produce many results. A few of the big ones are a more cost-effective use of the marketing budget, getting sales and marketing on board, slicing and dicing the sales cycle length, and executing a smooth, low-pressure buying experience.
Using tools like Teamwork automates the process, saves time and money, and creates a more cohesive, consistent, and measurable workflow. Does your agency need a way to plan, keep an eye on, pinpoint problems with, and measure the results of your client’s ABM campaign? Teamwork’s intuitive platform provides a highly-visual way to stay on top of tasks and keep everyone in the loop. Learn more about it today.