How to make Account Based Marketing successful with agile marketing principles.
How many times have you tried ABM and it’s not quite worked or driven the success you wanted it to? Or even struggled to get everyone internally on the same page?
Some sales teams see ABM as a risk, narrowing your activation to a select group of accounts compared to being out there for all to see. Others see it as talking to those most likely to buy and therefore more efficient use of budget. Both are right.
ABM can be categorised in three ways:
1:1 – is your hyper-personalised, highly targeted campaign, talking to a select group of individuals.
1: Few – is slightly broader, talking to your selected accounts with some commonality. This could be vertical-specific or common pain points.
1: Many – this is your broader approach that will talk to everyone in your target audience with an overarching message.
The following steps apply to all three categories and will guide you to making your ABM campaign, a successful one.
In ABM, data is king. This might sound simple but selecting the right accounts and getting the correct data surrounding them is crucial. Get this step wrong and the rest is significantly less effective.
Starting with your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), building your Total Addressable Market (TAM) and then narrowing down your audience and understanding the Decision-Making Unit (DMU) composition. These are the foundations of your campaign. Take your time here and be confident that you’re targeting the best accounts that fit your brand and service offering.
What is ICP?
An ideal customer profile (ICP) is a detailed profile of your ideal customer who would benefit the most from your product or service, used to customise marketing and lead generation tactics.
What is TAM?
TAM stands for Total Addressable Market which refers to the total market demand for a product or service. It’s the most amount of revenue a business can generate by selling their product or service in a specific market. Businesses can use TAM to estimate a specific market’s potential for growth.
What is DMU?
The decision-making unit (DMU) is a collection or team of individuals who participate in a buyer decision process. Philip Kotler defines the decision-making unit or DMU as “all individuals and groups that take part in the decision-making process relating to the negotiation of products /services”.
Alignment & metrics
This is a small but crucial step. Make sure that all stakeholders agree with the campaign and its steps, for example, sales & marketing need to be aligned to ensure the successful and seamless delivery of the campaign. This might sound obvious but in the cold light of day, misalignment and internal non-engagement with campaigns will result in missed business opportunities.
At the same time, we all must agree on what success looks like for this campaign. Success for marketing and success for sales can have different success metrics, so defining KPIs is key for everyone to get the most out of every campaign.
Speaking to your audience
Now you have settled on who you want to target, and everyone is aligned internally, the next step is understanding how you’re going to talk to them. Persona research, common pain point analysis, industry trends and value proposition development are all elements, that when combined, will help to form your messaging hierarchy.
Now you need to define which elements will resonate with the targeted individuals? Why your business? What problem do you solve? Why risk change? So many questions we will need to answer to move targets into and through your pipeline.
Earlier, we said that data is king, and it is, however, a campaign creative is a very close second. With the marketing world becoming increasingly competitive and the cost of acquisition going up, standing out in a saturated marketplace is business critical. Creativity – conceptual and visual – can become the difference between winning and losing the attention of ICP’s in competitive business landscapes. Take a stand with your creative – be brave, be different and most importantly, be memorable.
One of our goals in marketing is to create memorable and actionable campaigns. This translates into business when you become one of your target audiences’ top three options when considering a change. That, in itself, is a success and will translate into pipeline opportunities.
Channels & execution
“Marketing is just LinkedIn ads, right?” This was an opening line from a sales director in a recent presentation. To a degree, he’s right and to a great degree, he couldn’t be more wrong. Whilst LinkedIn is a critical channel and one that has grown significantly during the last three years, it isn’t the only viable option available to reach your ICP. Direct mail, content syndication, sales development rep outreach, display ads, email nurture sequences, and many more options may be more appropriate, or impactful to get the right results your campaign.
This is where we go back to knowing our personas. Where do they spend their time? What do they value? Where and how can you get their attention? For some it is a direct mail landing on their desk and getting physically in front of them, for some it’s a catchy subject line from an email nurture sequence. Ultimately, no one channel will be the silver bullet. It will be a combination of tactics which all build towards moving you into their top three. Oh, and yes, LinkedIn ads are usually part of most campaigns nowadays. Music to the ears of the lovely Sales Director I mentioned earlier.
Data lead optimisation
Now, this is where we make the difference. Data allows us to see what is truly working and what needs more work. Which message is getting the most attention? Which image is driving the most clicks?
The crucial part of this is to not only review the data but to act on it. Make every touchpoint work harder. At Bright, we apply a test, learn and iterate approach to every marketing activity. This agile methodology gives us regular opportunities to review, assess and adapt to make sure your campaign is as effective and efficient as possible.
ABM is a great tool in the armoury of every marketer. Whether that is 1:1, 1: few, 1: many or a combination. Getting to the right people and propelling your business into their consideration options and ideally into that magical top three.
In summary; Be methodical with your data. Seek alignment, Speak to your audience. Be brave with your creative. Be agile, test, learn, iterate and follow the data.
At Bright, we pride ourselves on being world-leading B2B marketing experts, driving results through marketing agility. We embed an iterative and data-driven approach, leading the charge to better results, faster time to market, sustainable growth, and the ability to adapt and change at pace. Everything you need to have a successful ABM campaign and much more.
Shine the light on your marketing campaigns with Bright.