What Is Account-Based Marketing and How Can It Help Your Bottom Line?

If you work in the B2C sphere, you’re likely familiar with the fact that customization is key, and today’s consumer is interested in receiving tailored, customized marketing messages over the generic, blanket outreach approaches of old. In fact, research reveals that 81% of customers want brands to understand them more accurately and use that information to know when to approach them and when to back away. For years now, companies around the globe have sought to overturn legacy marketing approaches in favor of more advanced programs that enable them to reach their target audience on this granular level. Digital marketing and CRM systems have fueled these efforts, allowing industry leaders to turn Big Data insights into personalized marketing platforms that make every client feel seen.

Yet, this type of client attention isn’t just changing the B2C game. Rather, B2B companies stand to benefit from taking a more direct and personalized outreach approach, as well. The standard technique for marketing to business accounts is to establish a generalized practice and apply those same steps to nurture every account. Yet, as any account leader will tell you, the faces and personalities behind each can vary drastically. As such, forward-thinking ABM leaders in this space are turning to account-based marketing (ABM) to create stronger, more effective messages that stick.

Advantages of Applying ABM and Why It’s Effective

At the end of the day, everyone wants to feel special. That is as true for the account executive a few suites over as it is for a grocery shopper picking up dinner on a weekday. No one wants to receive an email and automatically discern that it was simply a mass message, with the exact same wording sent to thousands of others around the world. To that end, consider how much more effective a B2B lead generation campaign can be when the emails sent take into account the feelings, preferences, goals and history of the recipient. The results are impressive, as 97% of marketing executives cited in a recent study that their ROI has improved after applying an ABM approach at work.

The reasoning behind these results is simple. If you focus your efforts on one particular account at a time, you’re better able to craft meaningful and compelling messages that are ultimately more effective and profitable rather than wasting your time reaching out to dead-end leads that will cost more to maintain than drop.

Quick Guide to Getting Started

Before overhauling their existing marketing approach completely, B2B companies should take a slow and methodical approach to integrating ABM practices. The most laborious part of the process is getting started. Once you’re up and running, the ABM model simply needs to be tweaked to fit your growth scale and future plans for expansion.

To start, consider what your ideal account looks like. You might have a general buyer persona in mind, but take it a step further and look at the account as a whole. That means you’ll still be interested in personal demographics, such as age, gender, location and more, but you’ll also be interested in more business-centric data including industry, size, pain points, executive teams and scalability.

Then, gather as much CRM data as you can around every viable account. That might mean interviewing personnel to gather the information you need, especially if it’s been a while since you’ve reached out to that account. For instance, you may have created a special content package, such as a white paper, for one company but you never followed up to see how it helped their organization. Now is the time to do so. Contact the key decision makers and determine how your solution helped them, if they still have any outstanding issues or pain points, and what their overall budget is.

Once you have that data in place, it’s time to start crafting compelling, interesting and relevant content that appeals not to a general audience as a whole, but key leaders in specific niches. For instance, you may create a white paper or data slick on Food and Beverage (F&B) technology trends in 2019 for an F&B client in your space. You can deliver this content in a variety of ways, from traditional hard copies to developing microsites on your main homepage that direct readers toward the information that most interests them. You can take the personalization a step further by including the company’s name on the content piece itself, labeling it, for instance, “A White Paper on 2019 F&B Trends Prepared for Company XYZ.”

Remember, your entire contact list shouldn’t find the content especially compelling, and that’s a good thing. The goal is to appeal directly to those who do, and nurture those leads through the thought leadership you’ll establish.

Getting Started and Succeeding with ABM

Ultimately, standing out with ABM is a matter of forethought. If you can use advanced data analytics to capture, organize, store and digest the Big Data your company intercepts, then use the actionable insights obtained from that information to create customized content your account leaders crave, success will follow. The key is understanding not only your target customer, but the characteristics of your target account as a whole. Then, you’re better positioned to create the kind of content they need, which will in turn generate more buzz and interest around your capabilities.

Remember that as you begin to see the fruits of your labor with ABM, it’s equally important to keep track of all those new metrics. Make notes of how both marketing and sales are impacted at the account level. Replicate your successes and learn from your setbacks and before long, you’ll be setting the stage for more meaningful and profitable client partnerships.