Account Based Marketing (ABM) is being talked about everywhere. Why? Well, it’s a strategy that can help you accelerate your sales and save money on marketing by focusing your efforts on high-value accounts. You do this by identifying those target clients, understanding their needs and pain points before you engage in a conversation. In this article, I’ll explore how ABM differs from traditional lead generation tactics, why it works so well and how to get started with an ABM strategy of your own.
What is Account Based Marketing?
Account Based Marketing is a strategy that focuses on the individual prospect rather than the segment. It uses data and technology to understand how each potential customer will respond based on their stage in the buying journey.
ABM aims to win new business from your A-Class target list. To do this effectively, you’ll need to understand what problems your customers are facing and then present your products and services as the solution to demonstrating your deep understanding of their business.
Why Account Based Marketing Works
Account Based Marketing (ABM) is a strategy that helps you identify and engage with your most valuable prospects. It helps you focus on the right customers, leads, and partners by using a customer-centric approach instead of just selling to anyone who comes your way.
Focusing on accounts that are more likely to buy from you than others, will enable more targeted marketing efforts, which can lead to better results, in terms of revenue generation as well as engagement with your brand or product.
With ABM, you can:
- Increase sales pipeline velocity by targeting the right accounts at the right time
- Improve conversion rates by communicating directly with decision-makers during their buying cycle
How to Use Account Based Marketing Strategy
Let’s imagine you’re a technology company. Your target account list might include:
- Small businesses
- Enterprise organisations
- Government agencies and departments, including education, healthcare and defence
- Non-profit organisations that need to scale their operations quickly and efficiently (e.g., work in disaster relief)
Each of these different types of customers has its unique needs, challenges and drivers for success – therefore requiring a very different approach from your marketing team. Developing an account based marketing strategy for each group will be challenging and time-consuming. I recommend that you narrow your focus and go deep on your best-fit buyer and organisations you are perfectly positioned to assist.
The Challenges of Account Based Marketing
Account based marketing is an effective way to target your ideal customer, but it takes work that, unfortunately, many software and technology businesses are unwilling to do.
Some challenges can include;
- 1 – Choosing your target market: This can be more complicated than it seems. Take the time to break your clients (current and desired) into three categories (A,B,C) This is not A=good and C=bad. I want you to think about your customers as either Absolute = Absolute perfect clients that tick every box, including paying on time, providing referrals, not a burden customer service etc. B= Beneficial – Beneficial clients, represent a fair trade and exchange of money for service or product. C Class clients ( that’s not for Crap) – is for Convenient. A convenient client may be easy to land but a nightmare to service, they drag their heels paying and will never give you a referral. Just this exercise alone can provide some much-needed clarity.
- 2 – Being clear on the product or service: You also need a good idea about what type of product (or service) would best suit their needs, while still making sense within their budget. If there’s no logical link between what they give up by choosing another provider versus how much value they stand to gain with yours instead, then there will never be any incentive for them to move in your direction – so make sure that everything makes sense and is in their context (not yours)!
- 3 – Being clear on value proposition: Have a phrase like “I help (businesses) to (outcome) through (secret sauce)
How to Get Started with Account Based Marketing
Once you’ve defined your target market, creating a buying persona for each customer is next. A buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer – for example, “Michael Smith, Chief Technology Officer at XYZ Company.” It’s important to get as specific as possible here, so you can create content that speaks directly to this person’s needs and interests.
To do that, ask yourself:
- What are their pain points?
- What has kept them from deciding in the past?
- What have they tried in the past (and why didn’t it work)?
- What information do they need before they can make a purchase decision?
- Why is it important to do this now? (ROI report is a great way to motivate your prospects)
Once you have answers to these questions, you’ll be able to craft content with just the right tone and format for each type of person in your market segment.
The next step is defining the value proposition for each customer type – in other words: why should they buy from you instead of someone else? You may already have some ideas about this – if not, then now’s the time to brainstorm!
Of course, one of the best tools that anyone can use is LinkedIn. You can filter by Industry, role, location, company size and much more.
It can initially seem overwhelming, but the best way to learn is by doing it. Create content that your prospects care about – don’t think about creating for the industry, create for the individual.