If you’re in Marketing — and you’ve been paying attention — you’ll have heard of Account-Based Marketing, or ABM. If you’re not already doing it, you may wonder why it’s getting so much attention. Fortunately, understanding ABM is simple, and implementing it can be the key to increased, ongoing revenue for your company.
Take it personally
Unlike traditional marketing practice, which crafts messaging broadly to appeal to a wide range of prospects, ABM focuses on very specific targets: namely, your Sales team’s list of existing and potential accounts.
More to the point, ABM’s methodology customizes messaging to the unique needs of these customers. Rather than thinking of the audience as a simple set of vague demographics, the goal is to understand exactly what makes them tick. What are their individual pain points? What do they need most to succeed? In essence, what are they like as people?
In all communication, it’s important to make a personal connection. Yet for decades, businesses have taken an impersonal approach when reaching out to new customer prospects. This approach was seen as somehow more professional, in the days of suits and ties as required attire. But society has changed in many ways, and the hands-off mode is no longer the best mode.
Think of it this way: you respond best to messaging that speaks directly to who you are and what you want, so why shouldn’t this approach work with your future business partners? You’re an individual who doesn’t like being marketed to with words that treat you just like everyone else. So you can think of ABM as also standing for Authentically-Better Messaging.
Step 1: Get smart
Now that you know why you want an ABM strategy, here’s how to make it work for you. The first step in any game plan is to gather intelligence. You can’t execute if you don’t know the details. In this case, knowing about your target’s specifics is a matter of aligning Marketing with Sales. You’ll want to identify those accounts that have the greatest potential yield for your efforts. For example, maybe you’ll want to focus your campaign on accounts that you know have budget to spend. Or maybe you’ve made a connection with a new account and want to strengthen that relationship. Whatever the goal, the end result should always be to ensure a lifetime partnership.
Step 2: Aim to please
Once you’ve identified your target account, create a targeted campaign that satisfies the needs of that account. Know their pain points, their desires and their overarching company-wide strategy. Helping them achieve their aims with a strong messaging campaign will go a long way to engendering trust, and will therefore lead to more opportunities with them — and chances are, they’ll spread the word.
Step 3: Deploy and discover
Next, execute your campaign on every front to which the account stakeholders have agreed, and be alert for other channels that might not have been part of the original plan. If you’ve planned a series of videos, suggest a landing page. If you’re creating a whitepaper, offer an infographic. There are always more methods to pursue when delivering a message, and your clients will appreciate your proactivity.
Step 4: Absorb the data
Last, measure your results. You’ll learn invaluable lessons from the outcomes of your campaigns, not the least of which will come from the account stakeholders themselves. In addition to the previously-mentioned word-of-mouth a successful campaign will create within the client company, the post-mortem analysis your target will provide will tell you a lot about how to optimize your next campaign for them. Things they liked, things they didn’t, how the step-by-step communication flowed (or didn’t), with whom their internal results were shared, etc. All of these learnings should be kept in a playbook that will guide further interactions with your client, and these will help you to strengthen your bond and provide even better, more personalized service, which is the entire raison d’etre behind Account-Based Marketing.
The golden rule
You’re armed now with the knowledge you need to begin developing your own Account-Based Marketing strategy, using Authentically-Better Messaging. Remember, it’s all about individualizing your campaign to the people who make up your target accounts. The more you speak to them as people, the better your results will be. Treat them as you’d want to be treated and reap the rewards.