Account-Based Marketing: Guide to Innovative Lead Targeting 

Targeting high-quality leads with a reliable and personalized approach is a win-win. That easily shortens both the clients’ buying cycle and sales teams’ processes. 

This is exactly what account-based marketing (ABM) makes possible. By aligning sales and marketing, ABM can promote long-term growth to complement the more old-school sales values of short-term lead generation. 

Recent studies have found that over 74% of sales and marketers professionals consider account-based marketing a critical aspect of their overall lead gen and marketing efforts. 

In this guide, we’re going to give you a complete understanding of the fundamentals of account-based marketing and help you understand how to successfully use it for your own business. 

What Is Account-Based Marketing? 

Account-based marketing (ABM) is a strategic and personalized approach to marketing that focuses on targeting specific companies, rather than larger groups. The key to ABM is understanding the unique needs and challenges of these accounts and creating tailored marketing campaigns to build strong relationships and increase the chances of securing new business. 

Essentially, this reverses the traditional methods of lead generation. By starting at the other end of the sales funnel, you first identify the highest-value and most suitable accounts and target them on a personal level. There is a far greater focus on identifying your ideal customer and trying to suit their needs on a one-to-one basis. 

In a nutshell, the ultimate goal of ABM is to provide value and show the target accounts that you acknowledge and understand their unique challenges. It allows B2B companies to approach each customer with the idea of helping solve a problem or achieve a goal. 

Account-Based Marketing vs Lead Generation 

Lead generation, with the keyword: generation, focuses on generating a high volume of leads through various tactics such as content marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimization, and paid advertising. It aims to attract a large number of potential customers and capture their contact information for further nurturing and conversion. Meanwhile, account-based marketing focuses on targeting specific accounts or companies rather than individual leads. It involves a personalized and tailored approach to engage with key decision-makers within the target accounts.  

Account-Based Marketing vs Inbound Marketing 

The main difference between account-based marketing and inbound marketing lies in the target audience and approach. Account-based marketing focuses on targeting specific accounts or companies deemed as high-value prospects. The goal is to tailor marketing efforts and create personalized experiences for these accounts, building strong relationships and ultimately driving conversions. On the other hand, inbound marketing focuses on attracting and engaging a wider audience by creating valuable and informative content. The strategy behind inbound marketing is to build trust and credibility with potential customers through educational content, thereby attracting them to the brand. 

The Benefits of Account-Based Marketing 

  • Increase in Return on Investment (ROI) 
  • Develop Lasting Relationships with Valuable Accounts to Expand Your Business 
  • Properly Aligning Sales and Marketing 
  • Improved Customer Experience 
  • More Efficient Sales Cycles 

Factors to Consider Before Doing Account-Based Marketing 

Every marketing strategy sounds like a good idea when it comes to improving and strengthening your B2B sales and marketing efforts. However, just as leads are not created equal, there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for businesses. To determine whether you should start focusing more on account-based marketing, ask yourself the following questions. 

Question 1: How Many Clients Do You Have? 

ABM is not the best option for companies with hundreds or thousands of customers. It requires personalized attention and tailored marketing for each individual client, which becomes unmanageable at scale. However, for companies with a smaller number of major corporations as customers, ABM can be more easily and effectively implemented. 

Question 2: Do You Have Enough Client Information or the Resources to Get It? 

Account-based marketing requires up-to-date and accurate data to be effective. Without a reliable means of obtaining and maintaining this information, your marketing plans are unlikely to succeed. To venture into ABM, you’ll need a good data servicing platform and dedicated staff for research to fine-tune your personalized marketing strategies. 

Question 3: Do You Have the Content-Generating Power? 

Account-based marketing relies heavily on creating high-quality content for each client. Content will fuel your campaigns, and it should be informative, personalized, and consistent. This includes sending regular emails, contributing to relevant articles, and developing marketing materials tailored to their needs. Additionally, it is crucial to engage with clients on social media and provide them with external content that aligns with their interests. 

Question 4: Are You Willing to Invest in Nurturing? 

Account-based marketing is, at its heart, not about making hard sales. It is about customer nurturing, about creating, building and sustaining relationships that last and about encouraging customer loyalty. It requires constant dedication and resources for successful relationship building. ABM is not a quick fix or a sporadic effort, but a strategic approach that can lay strong foundations for sustainable business growth. 

How Does Account-Based Marketing Work? 

Instead of running generic and standard ads or email campaigns, you identify a specific list of key accounts: organizations and contact information that align with your ideal customer profile. 

You then gather data about these targets, such as their pain points, challenges, and goals. Based on this data, you create personalized content that addresses these specific needs. You then engage with these target accounts through various channels and personalized emails. Each touchpoint is customized and tailored to resonate with the target accounts, making them more likely to engage and convert. 

How to Implement Account-Based Marketing 

After considering the factors mentioned above, we will now guide you through the essential measures for executing ABM in your own company. 

Step 1: Define and Identify Target Accounts 

The first step is to identify your ideal customers by marketing to the entire organization instead of targeting specific personas and individuals. This can be challenging especially when you’re starting from scratch but is crucial not just for ABM but for overall effective B2B marketing. 

Here are some criteria: 

  • Size of organization 
  • Location of organization 
  • Whether you’re targeting a specific industry 
  • Annual revenue 

To identify the perfect accounts for your business, conduct detailed research. This will help maximize profits. Involve front-line employees, especially those in sales, as they have valuable client experience. Validate their insights with supporting data to ensure you’re on the right track. 

Step 2: Research Target Accounts 

Now that you have an outline of your ideal customer, focus on finding real-world companies that match your criteria. Assign your top sales strategists to this task as getting it right will make everything else easier. Once you identify a suitable organization, dig deeper to learn about the key decision-makers within it. Utilize social networks and gather insights from anyone in your company who has dealt with the target accounts before. With a comprehensive understanding of the company, strategize on how to appeal to them and influence the key decision-makers. 

Step 3: Create a Personalized Campaign 

Now is the time to put your research into action and create content specifically tailored to your target account. Fifty-six percent of marketers believe personalized content is crucial for a successful ABM strategy, according to Forrester. Focus on solving their problems better than anyone else and personalize the content to make your company the perfect fit for them. Collaboration between content creators, designers, sales, and marketing is crucial at this stage to ensure engaging content and personal messaging for the account. 

To ensure the success of ABM, launch your campaign through the best channels. Identify where your target accounts spend their time online, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or specific websites with Google ads. Remember to have a broad range of channels to target both individuals and organizations as a whole. Conduct thorough research for a seamless campaign execution. 

Step 4: Run Your Campaign 

Most of the hard work is done and now you run your campaign. However, do find a balance in releasing content to avoid overwhelming or underwhelming the audience. Perfecting this balance may take a few attempts. The campaign should feel natural and not harass prospects. Excelling B2B marketing excels at striking the right chord and knowing when to strum. 

Measuring Account-Based Marketing Results 

If your campaign has been running for a while, it’s important to measure the success of your account-based marketing strategy. Metrics like engagement rate, leads, and revenue can help assess performance and determine if any adjustments are needed. Don’t be discouraged if the results don’t meet expectations. The best part of digital marketing is that it allows for measurable results to track performance and identify areas for improvement. 

There are many ways to measure the success of the campaign, some of which can be answered by the following questions: 

  • Did the campaign generate revenue? If so, how much? 
  • Did the target client engage with you during the campaign? Did any other organizations engage as a result of the campaign? 
  • If the target client engaged, were you then able to close a sale? 
  • What was the strongest aspect of your campaign? Will you be able to repeat this in all future campaigns? 
  • What was the weakest aspect of your campaign? Can you improve this for future campaigns? 
  • Did you correctly identify an ideal account? 
  • Did the content you created appeal to the prospect? Was any of the content a waste of time? 

Build A Targeted ABM Campaign Using B2B Data 

We mentioned that you’ll need a data servicing platform in order to launch an effective ABM campaign, but once you have active access to DemandScience’s data ecosystem, you can search for and specify install base information for companies you are interested in targeting. Starting there, you can find out what products and services they currently use that are similar to yours – or if, in fact, they already have some of your products and services in use. 

From there, you can begin to create a solid, workable ABM campaign that targets their specific needs, offers upsell or cross-sell opportunities and begins nurturing a relationship with them to help you generate future business. 

The most important thing to remember about account-based marketing campaigns is that they need to specifically address the company’s needs, any shortcomings in their existing product or service suite, and also focus on relationship-building. 

Embrace the modern way of marketing with ABM. Contact us and let’s talk about the exciting things that await you.