Planting the Seeds for a Successful ABM Strategy

By Nick Price

Account based marketing (ABM) is taking off among B2B marketers, because of its ability to help increase ROI. In fact, according to new research from Demand Gen Report, 80 percent of the B2B marketers either already have an ABM strategy or plan to launch one over the next year and a half.
Getting a successful ABM program off the ground isn’t that different from establishing a demand generation program, but it does require two critical elements: precision and intelligence. According to the Demand Gen Report, 75 percent of B2B marketers are using targeted content tailored to specific industries and 51 percent are tailoring specific content by role. In addition, 49 percent are delivering personalized/custom content for each account. This kind of personalization and attention to detail allows B2B marketers to reach the various individuals across an organization.
Success in ABM requires targeting and marketing to specific people of named accounts. B2B marketers should implement a system that allows them to quickly identify existing opportunities from accounts in their database. Once these have been established, marketers should segment these accounts into lists based on factors such as industry, company size, geographic location, and vertical and then score them based factors such as firmographic and predictive capabilities.
Another key to succeeding in ABM is the ability to engage the right individuals, from high-value accounts, at the right time in the buyer’s cycle. B2B marketers should be connecting with key decision-makers from named accounts across channels and devices. Cross-channel approaches should allow B2B marketers to track prospects throughout the journey and target them with relevant messaging, from email and display ads to search and content.
Once this process has been established, it is important to look at the data. Successful B2B marketers are analyzing the results of their efforts and tracking how engagement can lead to conversions. Marketers must be able to show measurable results to the sales team and C-suite in order to benefit from investments in ABM. A successful ABM program can provide real-time, actionable and intelligent KPIs for each target account. It is also beneficial to track meaningful events that have occurred, such as downloading a late-stage piece of content or scheduling a demo.
In order to improve engagement with prospects, your organization must commit to collecting, analyzing and reacting to real time data. The industry has a lot of work to do in this area. According to ZoomInfo and Ascend2, only one third of marketers consider their data-driven marketing strategies “very successful” and 64 percent of this “very successful” group cited “improving data quality” as their greatest challenge in achieving personalization.
Because ABM is based on long-term relationship building for larger accounts, it is important that sales and marketing come together in the approach. Instead of focusing on campaigns, B2B marketers that are succeeding in ABM are finding ways to orchestrate and coordinate holistic inbound and outbound messaging that is consistent with what sales teams and account executives are communicating.
Not only do sales and marketing teams have to work together to make ABM successful, this approach also requires commitment from the C-suite. Strong leadership is required to commit to the benefits of ABM for it to work. ABM focuses on long-term results and requires the support of leadership within an organization to help coordinate teams across the company.
Effective ABM requires strategic planning, collaboration, commitment and attention to detail. B2B marketers that are willing to plant these seeds will benefit from the bounty of ABM’s harvest.

Nick Price

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