Account based marketing (ABM) – what is it?

BY Anna Mitranka

Account Based Marketing (ABM) is becoming increasingly popular among B2B companies.

According to a survey conducted by ITSMA, up to 87% of B2B organisations consider ABM to be an important part of their marketing strategy. What’s more, more than half said they had increased their spend on account based marketing in the last year. The reason for the growing popularity of this strategy is that it allows you to more effectively reach targeted audiences within selected companies. All because the delivery of highly personalised and relevant campaigns to carefully selected audiences comes with measurable benefits.

What is ABM?

Account Based Marketing is a marketing strategy based on the premise that not all customers are of equal value to a business and that it is better to allocate resources to activities that focus on the most promising customers or accounts. Unlike traditional marketing strategies that target a broad audience, ABM creates personalised marketing campaigns aimed at reaching specific decision-makers. They are therefore activities tailored to individuals or small teams.

As a result, ABM requires a deep understanding of the needs, expectations and challenges of the direct communication audience. Based on this knowledge, marketers create personalised content and campaigns to reach the right people and encourage them to take a specific action, such as buying products or services.

Rather than spending marketing budgets on a broad marketing campaign that attracts thousands of customers and investing resources in customers who will mostly ‘drift away’ anyway, ABM relies on relations. It invests in building and maintaining relationships with key decision-makers to open up new sales opportunities in the future.

How does Account Based Marketing work?

Like any marketing strategy, ABM has specific goals and requires the implementation of specific actions. To launch a campaign, you need to define the objectives, identify the audience, develop personalised content and an action plan, implement the communication and then monitor and measure the results.

Are you planning to implement an ABM strategy?

Let’s look at this process in some basic steps:

  1. Identify your objectives, such as attracting new customers, increasing sales, raising brand awareness, etc.

  2.  To ensure that the quality of leads is as high as possible, it is necessary to verify each recipient (account) based on categories such as:
    • Market: industry, company size, competition
    • Company: revenue, market share, history
    • People: management, buying power, key roles, influential people
    • Relationships: organisational structure, reporting, buying teams
      [see also Steven Macdonald. Account-Based marketing: The complete guide (strategy, process, case studies and trends)]
      At this stage, it is crucial to secure contacts to key decision-makers. In practice – often teams of several people. The effectiveness of the ABM campaign depends on this.

  3. Determine the contact methods you want to use to communicate with prospects, such as emails, phone calls, business meetings, etc.

  4. Create personalised content that meets the needs and preferences of prospects. This could include e-books, reports, infographics, case studies, etc.

    The more personalised and relevant your content, the more likely a buyer will engage with you. Before you start creating new content, review the one you already have and consider which of them might be useful from your target customer’s perspective – and build it into your sales funnel so you know what content you still need. 

    If, on the other hand, you don’t have the right content, try to get information from your current customers with a similar profile before you start generating it. An interview, for example, is a good way to find out what content is valuable to them. Try to ask questions that will give you insight into their business challenges (What does your distribution network look like? How do you test your products? etc.).

  5. Develop an action plan. What specific steps will be taken to reach potential customers? What will be the costs and resources required to implement them?
    • You may wish to consider a variety of distribution channels and tools, including.
    • dedicated video on the LinkedIn platform, directing to a customised landing page,
    • IP tracking and retargeting,
    • paid social advertising and retargeting via Google and Facebook advertising platforms,
    • e-mail marketing – still a very effective way to reach a potential customer,
    • direct mail (80% of direct mail is opened).
    • Implementation of campaigns and measurement of results through analytical tools (Google Analytics, CRM).

As Steven Macdonald notes, in ABM, the traditional indicators are not part of measuring success. You need to look at broader measures such as awareness, engagement, relationships and ROI.

  • To measure awareness in a target account, you can report on website visits, social media mentions, social media shares and/or email responses.
  • To measure engagement, you can report on site behaviour, including site visits, number of return visits, time spent on the site and email permissions from the target account.
  • To measure relationships, you can report on the number of decision makers, content downloads and product trials or registrations.
  • Another key success factor is ROI. How does campaign spend and total revenue compare with traditional lead generation efforts?

    (For: Steven Macdonald. Account-Based marketing: The complete guide (strategy, process, case studies and trends)

What are the benefits of ABM?

If you’re wondering whether ABM is worth implementing in your marketing efforts, here’s a look at what you can expect:

  1. Better quality leads – ABM focuses on targeting prospects who are most likely to convert, resulting in higher quality leads.

  2. Better cross – departmental collaboration – this strategy requires an integrated approach to marketing and sales, which in turn requires better collaboration between different departments within the organisation. In the traditional view, marketers create campaigns that attracted thousands of audiences, from which sales teams acquire a small percentage of potential customers. At ABM, the two teams share a common goal. To reach the same account. In this way, sales representatives orient their activities around a qualified lead, instead of wasting energy and time on unqualified leads.

  3. Increased customer engagement – by focusing on tailoring marketing efforts to the individual needs of prospects, they are more likely to be engaged in the sales process.

  4. Higher conversion rate – focusing on the prospects most likely to convert results in greater sales effectiveness.

  5. Better ROI analysis – Account Based Marketing’s focus on individual customers enables better ROI analysis and tailoring of marketing activities to individual customers.

  6. Higher return on investment (ROI) – In research conducted by ITSMA, 87% of marketers measuring ROI felt that ABM outperformed any other marketing investment. Account-specific targeted activities generate less ad spend – simply because you are targeting fewer people. However, every penny in your campaign budget works to reach the right people for your brand.

  7. Greater revenue – 60% of companies using ABM saw a revenue increase of at least 10% over 12 months, while 1 in 5 companies experienced a revenue increase of 30% or more [source: Steven Macdonald. Account-Based marketing: The complete guide (strategy, process, case studies and trends)]. This is all thanks to ABM’s ability to increase average deal size (according to an ABM Leadership Alliance study, B2B marketers saw a 171% increase in average annual contract value after implementing an ABM strategy).

Want to find out more about the ABM strategy?

Here are some examples of account-based marketing:

The tools that can be used to build an effective ABM strategy are many. Some are commonly used and readily available to any organisation.

Instead of sending generic mass emails, a company using this strategy can send personalised emails to key decision makers in selected companies. This makes the messages more relevant to the recipient’s needs and interests, increasing the chances of a positive response.

It is also possible to create a landing page with content targeted to a specific recipient, such as information on specific issues and challenges related to their industry and the opportunities offered by a particular company.

Another tool used in ABM is website retargeting, a technique that uses information about users who have already visited a website and then displays ads to them on other pages where they appear. In the case of ABM, retargeting is applied to a specific group of companies that are key to the campaign.

When implementing ABM solutions, you can also consider personalised videos and presentations tailored to a specific organisation or decision maker, as well as events and networking meetings for key companies. This allows you to connect directly with decision makers and industry representatives. These types of meetings can be a great opportunity to showcase your company and products in the context of industry needs and challenges.

Some challenges and limitations in implementing ABM

Despite its many benefits, the ABM strategy can be challenging due to high costs, the need to involve multiple departments, the difficulty of identifying the target audience, the need to personalise content, the lack of data and the risk of information overload.

It requires a personalised approach to each of the companies you want to engage with, which can be costly, especially if the campaign targets a large number of organisations. Choosing the right audience can also be a challenge. Too small a target group can limit the possibilities of a campaign, while too large a target group can require too many resources. Creating personalised content can also be time consuming and expensive.

Another problem may be a lack of data or the difficulty in obtaining it. Also, if an ABM campaign is too intensive, prospects may feel saturated with information and lose interest.

How can an advertising agency help you implement ABM?

The help of an advertising agency in implementing an Account Based Marketing strategy can be very helpful for companies that want to achieve better advertising results and attract the right group of customers. Implementing a strategy can be complicated and time-consuming, especially if you have no experience in this area. An advertising agency, with its knowledge and experience, can help with this process by

Analysing data on customer demographics and geography to accurately identify the target audience and optimise advertising campaigns.

Creating advertisements tailored to the target audience based on demographic and geographic data.

Optimising campaigns by monitoring and analysing the effectiveness of advertising campaigns and making changes in real time to achieve better results.

Develop the most effective strategy for different audiences.
Achieve better results from advertising campaigns by optimising ad spend and achieving better conversion rates.

Executive Summary

Account Based Marketing is a powerful marketing strategy that focuses on a personalised approach to reach prospects more effectively and increase their value to the business. Despite the challenges and limitations, ABM can be an effective way to acquire new leads and increase their value. BM requires a change in thinking. Here, click-through rates or the number of potential customers are not the most important factor. The success of a campaign may be reaching one – but the right – customer. However, the results of this strategy translate into more revenue and a better return on investment (ROI).

Anna Mitranka

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