The flaws to this methodology:
The marketing and sales teams operate in silos. Marketers market to people. Sellers sell to companies or specific markets. With traditional marketing, their different ways of thinking and acting don't always align.
Buyers are more empowered and well informed than ever due to the rise in available information online. The power in the sales process now lies with the buyer. They can go wherever they want when they are ready. A salesperson's place has been lost in traditional marketing.
Traditional marketing is disruptive and marketer-centric. It doesn't listen to the customer's needs. As opposed to being customer-centric where the marketers try to find out what the customers are interested in.
A New Approach: ABM
The strategic approach known as Account Based Marketing (ABM) is the next evolution of marketing. ABM does not target leads. Rather, it targets companies as a whole. This allows marketing plans to more accurately address your target audience. It shifts the focus from traditional marketing where you are casting a wide-net. This is the shot-gun approach. An ABM approach is targeted to very specific identified accounts. Namely, the ones who represent the best fit for your product or service. Moreover, targeted companies are more likely to engage with content when messaging is personalized specifically to them.
Now THAT sounds like a good plan, right?
ABM now exists to solve the overarching problem of interruption which has plagued marketing forever. Interruption and its cousin disruption are just not effective in gaining the attention of any target market. It is proven that relevant content attracts prospects. Rather than being interrupted, they are engaging with your company and brand. This is sharpshooting.
Creating Relevant Content
Creating and promoting content that is relevant to your targeted prospect and customers is more efficient than historically untargeted traditional marketing. ABM focuses on a hyper-personalized message to the right people and at the right time based on their buyer's journey. For optimum effectiveness, each targeted account should have a strategy tailored directly to them.
The fact is, when you make the message based on the specific attributes and needs of the account you are targeting, the result will be higher conversions for your business. Higher conversions with larger accounts mean more revenue. Simple.
Perhaps most importantly is that this method is customer-centric as it relies on your buyer personas and ideal customer profile to be able to create content in the right channel at the right time. It allows you to be able to better target prospects and replace disruption with relevancy. Your focus is always on your customer. Rather than on your message.
Preparing To Run An ABM Campaign
Defining buyer personas and ideal client profiles is a foundational step in your ABM strategy because, without it, there is no way to know if you are targeting the right accounts.
Your Ideal Client Profile needs to include the following customer segment criteria or desired characteristics:
- Industry: What does your target market provide? How does what you offer help enhance their business?
- Annual Revenue: Are they a Fortune 500 company? Or are they small businesses in the $5M-$50M range? Has their revenue increased or decreased over the last few years?
- Company Size: Are they a Fortune 500 company? Or do they have 50-500 employees? Are they a startup or an established industry leader? Are they growing or downsizing?
- Geography/Location: Where are they located? Is it in a major city? Or in a small town? Are there multiple locations or just one location?
- Stage in the sale cycle: Are they in a position to make a purchase now? Or are they looking for information to make a purchase at a later date?
In addition to your Ideal Client Profile, your ABM plan must include:
- Buyer personas: Who is your target audience? What are their roles? Are they a stakeholder? An influencer? Or are they a decision maker?
- Content-Based Lifecycle Stages: Are they a lead, Marketing Qualified Lead, Sales Qualified Lead, Opportunity, Customer, or other.
- Lead Status Sales Process: Clearly defined lifecycle and contact stages (in the buyer's journey) that the contact goes through. Who is specifically responsible for each stage? What are the exit criteria for each stage to advance to the next? (Pre pipeline, Pipeline, Post pipeline)
- Contact-based lead score: These are positive or negative attributes that assign an “engagement value” to each contact account.
- Contact Sources: Did the contact originate online or offline? Was it from networking, referrals or a sales channel? Or was it originated from social, referral traffic, paid search, or organic search?
Implementing Your ABM Campaign
After finalizing your buyer personas and client profile, following are the steps to launching and executing your ABM strategy:
- Define your high-value accounts using your Ideal Client Profile
- Identify key players within these accounts who match your personas
- Define content and personalized marketing specific to the Ideal Client
- Determine the optimal channels to reach them
- Execute the targeted campaigns
- Measure your results, learn from them, and continuously improve
Alignment Is Key
Implementing an ABM strategy will help marketers think like sellers. And help sellers to think like marketers. They are both required for success in this effort. That's alignment. In other words, this approach gets both thinking in terms of accounts, how to target them, and how to get meetings with them. It will allow tactical marketing to unite with defined sales goals. It is only with alignment in this way that any ABM strategy will reach its potential. Once it does, it will become a predictable revenue driver.
Want to see a case study of ABM doing its magic? Contact us and let us know!