Regardless of your selected ABM programme ('ABM 1 to 1', 'ABM Lite', 'Inbound to ABM', Inbound), all campaigns will need to include this activity:
Identifying good-fit target accounts, and the DMU
ABM centres all activity around precise key customer accounts (or verticals/ clusters). Unlike traditional lead gen focussed strategies, which focus on lead volume, the goal with ABM is to progress awareness and relationships with decision makers in your target account list.
So to run a successful campaign, you must first have a clearly defined view of your target accounts (dependent on your ABM targeting criteria; accounts, verticals, clusters etc), their attributes (ideal revenue, size, location etc) and their key challenges (at the appropriate account, cluster or vertical level) that your solution addresses.
Once you have a clear view of the attributes you're looking for, you can create a shortlist of good-fit targets who fit those parameters, and use them to qualify any current database contacts you already have. Ideally, when you know which accounts you want to target, your campaign should work to identify the best contacts within those accounts to connect with - those decision makers and stakeholders who make up the Decision-Making Unit (DMU), and work to raise awareness/engagement with them.
Developing insight and profiling accounts
A strong foundation of data-driven insight is integral to the success of any marketing campaign. Account-based marketing is no different; data insight must be used to develop bespoke propositions and messaging for each customer and stakeholder group.
Put simply, data insight is integral to steer your campaign.
Use your own customer/campaign data, account level data from social listening and even 3rd party intent data to identify accounts with the highest propensity to buy. This insight will also highlight where you should focus sales and marketing effort, and how to tailor campaign messaging for the best return.
Aligning sales and marketing
Increasing leads, improving retention and driving revenue are increasingly, a marketing goal. This means sales and marketing integration must be more cooperative, clear and comprehensive than either team may be used to.
Today, instead of marketing working to generate leads before handing them off to sales, both teams must align on campaign goals and activities as a whole, to ensure seamless support and campaign decisions through every stage of a prospect's journey. In any ABM campaign, both sides of the business must have clarity on precise account focus, campaign goals, responsibilities and more - and feedback frequently - if campaigns are to run successfully.
Reviewing your ABM toolkit
Before any activity can be considered, you need to have the right infrastructure in place to support your campaign. For seamless execution, campaigns will use a CRM, Marketing Automation platform, CMS, ABM content promotion tools, and social promotion channels - all of which should integrate for best tracking and reporting.
Creating ABM focussed messaging and content
ABM is about highly personalised, targeted marketing, that resonates with a specific account's challenges. So if you're not creating messaging and content that reflects that, you're not making the most of your strategy.
Once you have appropriate insight into your target accounts, consider the individual, company or vertical challenges (dependent on your programme) they have, that you help to address, and develop messaging accordingly.
From targeted, segmented email marketing, through social selling, to on-page content personalisation (or 'smart content') make sure every interaction your account has with your messaging and content is relevant to them (and personalised when appropriate).
As the focus with ABM is not primarily on lead volume, but on developing a relationship with a quality account, a range of other hard and soft metrics should be defined that can be mapped back to specific sales and marketing objectives.
When assessing success, consider: are you effectively moving accounts to opportunities? Are you focussing on successfully developing a relationship with the DMU? Are you on track to achieve your goals and ROI?