What's Account-Based Marketing and Why You Need To Know

Richard Fang

Why every US company needs to learn and execute account based marketing

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=0C1UhW_0YywtMwO00Account-based marketing has become a buzzword within the marketing industry in recent years. Targeting specific companies with a variety of campaigns has been the common definition of what ABM is.

However, most commonly, ABM is often misinterpreted as simply running some ads to some accounts on networks like LinkedIn or other platforms.

In reality, ABM goes much deeper than simply throwing some ads into the employees of certain companies. For startups especially, this is important when going after new business especially within the enterprise space.

Why is it in Right Now?

For many marketers, the days of going wide and far have been long behind us. Unlike decades ago, we’ve been fortunate to have various platforms to work with today to help us target different types of companies.

With more scrutiny into how companies use their marketing dollars, the most sensible thing for many is to action account-based marketing. This means there’s no wastage in targeting companies, especially ones that might already be in your books or irrelevant to your business.

After speaking to one of the agencies I work closely with, it’s obvious that businesses expect marketers to have specific account lists and have a more focused marketing approach. This is because, especially in a time of economic uncertainty, every dollar counts.

Not only this, but many businesses are running off digital-focused models and thus require a new level of diligence of targeting.

So Let’s Define What ABM is in More Detail

For those unfamiliar with what ABM is, this term usually applies to B2B marketers (although it looks like B2C is also an option) that are looking to sell into specific accounts. For example, if you want to sell into Verizon, you would be forming a strategy purely around targeting specific employees within that company.

This means using account-based data and technology to help target and engage and convert these accounts at scale.

Usually, a successful ABM strategy involves going after large enterprise accounts at a deeper level by identifying different characteristics within these accounts.

The basic steps for most ABM programs include:

  • Identifying your target account list
  • Allocating resources and planning marketing tactics (usually multi-channel) to these accounts
  • Execute marketing tactics alongside each other
  • Measure pipeline and revenue from target accounts

How it Works

Usually, ABM platform utilizes tracking via cookies, visitor IP addresses, and domains and map it back to company names and firmographics.

Many ABM companies focus on utilizing ‘reverse IP’ data to identify companies. To put it simply, this is like an internet version of a ‘Yellow Pages’ where corporate addresses can be identified.

In a time when working from home is more frequent, of course, this becomes less reliable. ABM vendors these days now rely on their own data, mapping out billions of addresses through 3rd party sources to help identify more accurately whos from where.

From there, content can be altered and served depending on who is identified. Usually, cookies are used first to help identify where a person is from before IP addresses are used to help source which company the individual works at.

Targeting and Engagement

Although target account lists are great, not all companies have one. This is especially the case if you’re a startup looking to target new businesses in various industries.

Generally, in this case, it’s ok to segment your audience based on certain demographics. This is also what B2C companies usually do since they don’t go after specific companies.

Some suggested filters to think about include:

  • Employee Size
  • Revenue Range
  • Industry
  • Specific interests

Beyond this, it’s also important to look at audiences that have actively engaged with your content. After all, we have limited resources, and going after low-hanging fruits should be the priority of any ABM program.

Some filters that can be used here include:

  • Last seen
  • Page view filters
  • Trending on-site engagement: Accounts that have engaged with you more recently versus a period in the past

Of course, without a proper platform, it’s harder to track this data via Google Analytics. Still, there are ways to manually do this, such as identifying leads that are coming through into your CRMs as well as social engagement.

Beyond these foundational approaches, there are many other ways to help target and influence ABM programs. Some more advanced platforms allow for tracking around website pages that might have a higher weight of importance.

An example of this is a ‘pricing page.’

A pricing page usually indicates that a customer is at least considering your product and thus is a perfect page to help identify potential customers and then route them to your sales team. Once a lead reaches this stage, usually for B2B companies, a sales team comes into play here.

This means either closing the lead or at least reaching out and discovering the interest of the prospect.

So let’s summarize in some steps what an ABM campaign may look like:

1. Build your target account list

Identifying your target accounts is the first but one of the most crucial steps. Going after accounts with the most opportunity and low-hanging fruits is the core of any ABM strategy.

There are usually many ways to identify these opportunities. Still, generally, you’re looking for buying signals such as product usage, business fit, budget, interests, and other relationships you may have with these accounts.

2. Create personalized experiences

Once your target accounts are identified, we need to focus on creating a tailored experience. This includes driving them to a personalized website (has the company all over the website) and messaging that speaks to the company's pain points at the time.

This can include creating a specific call to action for content, including forms to collect submissions.

3. Convert Via Sales

For most B2B companies, sales teams must convert leads that have engaged with the company via content through these ABM platforms.

Of course, some companies will have unique positions like Atlassian and have less of a need to use sales teams but will still have a funnel to help convert users into sales.

In my opinion, the best way to leverage a proper ABM program is to couple both marketing and sales in one holistic unit to go after specific accounts. Sales and marketing are often disjointed, which is when account-based marketing will not work as efficiently.

Final Note

Account-Based Marketing is definitely a subset of skills that are unique within marketing. It requires tailored content and specific targeting and a very diligent, focused approach to all your activity.

For many B2B companies, ABM is important for businesses to help penetrate accounts otherwise impossible to get into. Many businesses have their walls up, and account-based marketing is one avenue to get through.

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Editor at CornerTech and Marketing @richardfliu on Twitter

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