One of the most unique differentiators of inbound marketing is that instead of appealing to broader audiences like standard marketing tactics do, inbound strategies aim to target the most qualified leads who are highly likely to move further down the marketing and sales funnels and convert. The process of generating qualified leads takes hard work, detailed investigation, trial and error, and patience, but proves to be worth the investment for most businesses.
Establishing strong relationships with highly qualified leads or high-value accounts requires your business to create specific, personalized, and targeted strategies that will be geared towards your desired audience segments. The reward of solidifying relationships with your potential clients is that doing so not only strengthens your internal business practices but also maximizes your business and sales growth opportunities.
As marketers, we understand that the process of organically acquiring marketing and sales qualified leads is often a time consuming process that doesn’t always produce a reward reflective of the effort for businesses.
Now what if we told you that there was a way to bypass the tedious process of casting wide nets only to reach large, generic audience bases who may not be in the market for your services? What if it’s actually possible for your business to market directly to the most interested and qualified people? We know it may
sound too good to be true, but luckily, this is exactly what account based marketing allows you to do.
Account based marketing (otherwise known as ABM) is a strategic marketing method that crafts your marketing content and delivers it directly to your most qualified, high-value accounts. Marketing agencies that specialize in ABM can help you create personalized experiences and content specifically designed to attract, delight, and satisfy each of your target accounts.
Certain ABM tools and softwares such as those offered by hubspot make it possible to automate your marketing functions so that you can prioritize your personal connections with clients. Ultimately, many aspects of account based marketing will set your business up for long term success.
With all of this in mind, you might be wondering how ABM differs from the inbound marketing strategies we talked about at the beginning of this blog post.
To clarify, inbound marketing and account based marketing are similar in purpose but do not perform the same functions. However, when used together, the two tactics can increase your ROI and further drive any momentum you have with your potential clients.
Inbound tactics such as lead generation and nurturing can be used to draw in your target leads, but ABM takes it to the next level by then gearing your resources towards your most valuable accounts. By using both methods, you can organically establish a foundation and cover broad bases while still managing to focus your energy and resources on specific, high-value accounts to close more sales.
The appeal of ABM lies in the fact that it finds and eliminates your less qualified leads early on to save you the time, energy, and money that can instead be put towards marketing to your key accounts. Additionally, narrowing down your audience to prioritize your highest value accounts grants you the capacity to invest more into each individual account, fostering better relationships and communication between your business and clients.
Delighting your clients by creating a tailored, personalized experience is one of the most important parts of the marketing process. In the end, delighting your clients with your services and quality of work reinforces their perspective of the mutually beneficial relationship they have with you and can encourage them to become your biggest promoters. With word of mouth being one of the most personal and effective ways to help B2B marketers garner future business opportunities, making your clients happy and turning them into advocates of your business is crucial. Not only that, but customers who are delighted with your services are more likely to return and seek out your business again for their future or continued needs.
So what does this mean for you and your business practices?
First, let’s run through some of the benefits that an account based marketing agency can offer.
Benefits of Working With An ABM Agency:
- They have the experience and insight required to help you hone in your ABM strategy. As it provides guidance on the right tools, implementations, and strategies to execute, an ABM agency can help you keep track of your client data in CRM systems, craft and tailor your messaging, and create bespoke strategies necessary to please your clients. Similarly, an agency specializing in ABM can also help you determine which of your potential clients are most likely to be worth your time and effort as well as which methods will bring you the most success with specific client accounts.
- Helps you align your teams across all departments. The two most important teams that need to be on the same page in order for the most effective account based marketing strategy are your marketing and sales teams. By synthesizing communication, ideas, new developments, and budget goals between those teams, you can ensure that nothing gets lost in transition or missed along the way. Maintaining transparency between your marketing and sales employees doesn’t just benefit your business in the short term but can create a streamlined process where all client relations and needs are met by both teams in ways that build upon each other without conflicting or overlapping.
- Optimizes your client relationship experience. By delivering crafted, purposeful, and well-thought out experiences meant specifically for your key accounts can help your clients feel like they’re at the center of your attention. Although such meticulous personalization can take some time, it’s important to establish a consistent experience for your clients every time you interact with them in order to uphold a successful and trustworthy long-term relationship.
- You can see if it’s working. Like with anything in marketing, it’s unlikely you’ll succeed the very first time you try something. Account based marketing is a continual learning process that increases your understanding of personalization and investing in your high-value accounts. Taking a look at your KPI and ROI metrics that result from ABM tactics will allow you to make necessary adjustments to or continue improving your plan. On the flip side, observing these metrics can also be a huge motivator in pushing your strategy forward in order to obtain the results you wish to achieve.
Given the personalization required in ABM, it’s important to understand the benefits of honing in your efforts to make a significant impact with those high target accounts. As digital marketing has continued to evolve over the past few years, the industry has seen a higher regard for and investment in the consumer-centric approach. There is more focus surrounding appealing to your target audience than ever before, especially for many B2B companies.
In recent years, account based marketing has shifted its focus to customer marketing and customer retention. The progression towards a consumer focused approach is attributed to both the realized importance of retaining loyal customers as well as the 2020 global pandemic that forever changed both digital and B2B marketing. If there’s one thing we can take away from this knowledge, it’s that meaningful relationships are a necessity in account based marketing.
Next, let’s talk more about how to integrate some account based marketing practices into your business marketing strategy.
- Establish your target segments – In order to customize your marketing content, you need to know what your high-value client accounts need to see and hear from your business. This is a good time to think about how you could go above and beyond to meet their needs in a way that another business couldn’t. The audience segments you create can be based on a myriad of factors, from industry type, company size, annual revenue, or even geographic location. Without first identifying who your segments are, it’ll be impossible to continue in the ABM process.
- Connect your marketing and sales teams – As we’ve mentioned previously, there are major benefits of ensuring that your marketing and sales teams are operating in sync with one another. If client relations is one of the most important aspects of account based marketing, you should be making sure that the way your business deals with clients, stays up to date on their information, and continues to service them with excellence stems from the smooth connectivity between your marketing and sales departments. This way, your marketing team can focus on the details of your client information and interactions in order to be better equipped to guide your sales team on how to consistently follow up and carry your interactions to the finish line. Aligning these two teams prepares you to excel in ABM by creating a more seamless and engaging consumer journey for your potential clients.
- Do your research – After you’ve decided which of your best-fit accounts to prioritize and move forward with, do some research into their employees, the structure of their company and how it operates, as well as what they’re looking for. Utilize professional social networks like LinkedIn to find out who the decision makers are and better determine how to shape your strategy to appeal to them from there. Delighting influential stakeholders will ultimately contribute to your long-term success. These high-value accounts should include some of your main stakeholders who will bring high revenue values to your business.
- Curate personalized messaging – Speaking to clients in a personalized manner means you’ll have to pay close attention to the way you shape your content messaging. What is your marketing content saying about your brand or your relationship with your clients? As marketers, you want to show your high-value accounts that you understand their needs and are capable of providing specific solutions just for them to meet their needs. On top of being targeted and specific, your content should also be relevant and engaging for your target audience.
- Create strategic campaigns – If we’ve learned anything about ABM, it’s that it’s a far cry from a “free for all” marketing approach. ABM practices require detail, attention, and a strategic execution in order for it to be effective. Imagine if you had all the information and marketing content you needed only to have no plan on how to execute it? Creating a campaign keeps you and your teams on track while moving towards the goals that your business has set for itself. In doing so, you can also determine the best channels to market through, whether that be through paid SEM, content marketing, social media marketing, or any other relevant marketing channels you can think of.
Account based marketing is a multi-layered concept that can seem daunting from the surface, but it doesn’t have to be difficult in practice. There are many benefits to ABM that can contribute to company growth, best practices for your business, and ultimately your overall strategy as a marketer. Now is a better time than ever to start developing your ABM strategy!