It’s no secret that the number of daily interactions between brands and consumers is at an all-time high. In fact, as consumers, we come into contact with about over 4,000 brands per day. This rise in the quantity of messaging brings with it the need for hyper-targeted marketing efforts. According to Forbes, 72% of buyers expect B2B companies to personalize communications in a way that suits their needs. But have no fear, ABM is here.
A B2B account-based marketing strategy employs personalized messages to a clearly defined set of target accounts. It’s an alternative to casting a wide-net—and instead uses insights and segmentation of a curated prospect list. It makes the one-to-many world of digital marketing feel more like one-to-one communication. Although ABM is time and material intensive—and therefore can be a more expensive strategy—if done thoroughly, it leads to a higher ROI than traditional inbound marketing. At redpepper, we not only help our clients navigate ABM, but we believe in it so wholeheartedly that we use it to market ourselves. Heck, it might even be what brought you to this blog.
Here are 4 key learnings from our Account-Based Marketing playbook.
1. It Takes 2 (Lookin’ at You, Sales and Marketing)
Sales and marketing alignment does more than just boost inter-team morale. It has tangible benefits for your target audience—it mitigates conflicting messages and unintentional repetition. Repetition can definitely drive your message home, but it’s pretty obvious when you’re hearing something for the second or third time and the person telling you has no clue. And in case you’re a numbers person, according to Marketo, sales and marketing alignment leads to nearly 40% higher sales win rates and over 65% higher marketing lead conversion rates. Truly a win/win.
When it comes to attaining this alignment, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all method. Factors such as your teams’ sizes, proximity, and goals can really impact what will work best. We recommend gathering everyone in a room for a facilitated workshop to find the right solution and rhythm—leaving room to iterate as needed. When all is said and done, each team will be encouraged to think and make decisions with the other team in mind.
2. Leverage LinkedIn
LinkedIn’s targeting capabilities directly align with the goal of ABM—specifically, the ability to target by employer. And since LinkedIn’s original purpose was networking, the likelihood that employer is identified and accurate is much greater than on other platforms. A couple of other key features: LinkedIn’s Matched Audiences feature you can upload a list of your target accounts, and LinkedIn gives you access to about 40 million decision-makers. It’s also cited as a purpose-driven platform, making users almost twice as likely to engage.
Just make sure to do the legwork before launching LinkedIn ads—gather insights and segment your lists based pain-point—making sure to develop messaging that speaks to each segment. Then, let LinkedIn deliver those messages directly to the decision-makers at all of your crush accounts.
3. It Doesn’t Stop at Digital
What sets ABM apart is the integration of multiple mediums and channels. While your strategy may start with digital, it should extend into what we call “next-level tactics”—think: webinars, trade-shows, hosted events, and most definitely a consistent direct-mail strategy. When it comes to any of these tactics, think through your budget and spend money where it makes sense for your prospects.
And lest we forget email follow-ups. This is where sales can really shine—using a messaging hierarchy to make the prospect feel cared for while also gathering insights to bring back to the marketing team. When it’s all said and done, an ideal ABM strategy should look a little something like this:
4. Play the Long Game
The chance that you’re reaching each of your target accounts at the exact moment they need your services is slim (if you are, go grab a lotto ticket because it’s your lucky day). If you’re looking for quick one-off sales, ABM might not be the way to go. But if you’re in it for the long haul—nurturing your prospects and laying the groundwork for future conversions and long-term relationships—then we highly recommend you give this strategy a go.
Celebrating wins along the way can help remind yourself and your teams that you’re making the investments in the right places. Strong inter-team rhythm, growing ad engagement, high event attendance, and positive email responses are a few signs of a healthy ABM strategy—one that will set you up to be the go-to partner for the accounts at the top of your list.