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What is account based marketing? A guide

Within the industry, you’ve no doubt heard the term “Account-Based Marketing (ABM)” becoming more popular. As a concept, more businesses are adopting this approach that focuses on targeting key accounts - rather than casting a wide net to attract as many as possible. 

From your content itself to the way that you release it through various channels, ABM is a holistic approach that covers your whole marketing campaign. It creates a fully personalised and tailored experience for your audience to immerse themselves in. As we know, personalisation is one of the most effective ways of engaging people with your content and brand.

So, what is account-based marketing? And how can you incorporate it within your business? Here’s everything you need to know about ABM and how it can help produce amazing results with your marketing efforts. 

We’ll cover:


What is Account-Based Marketing?

After the brief description at the start of the blog, we need to explore what ABM is further. 

So, ABM is a highly focused marketing strategy by which businesses target their ideal prospects and customers as if they are their very own market. From there, marketing teams can tailor their content, events and whole campaigns to ease their pain points and suit their audience’s every need. This is far more targeted than traditional methods of casting a wide net and trying to appeal to as many as possible. 

ABM is most commonly a strategy used by larger businesses, in particular, Business to Business (B2B) companies. But why? Well, they already have a large customer base that they can use to profile and pick out ideal candidates and other prospect companies. Whereas smaller businesses tend to prioritise acquisition and look to grow their number of clients by trying to attract as many as possible. 


what is account based marketing


This approach is more suited to B2B businesses as usually, they’re offering an investment opportunity, rather than an impulse buy, like Business to Consumer (B2C) businesses. This means that customers will require more touchpoints to nurture the sale. Plus, a more personalised service is an effective way of convincing them further and showing that you care about them - not just lining your pockets.

According to HubSpot, ABM is useful for targeting organisations that have multiple buyers or decision-makers. Part of the goal of an ABM strategy is to encapsulate the needs and pain points of all of these stakeholders. If you can do that, you’ll engage with your audience effectively and will be of more interest to the business.  


What are the benefits of Account-Based Marketing?

Before we jump into the benefits, ABM should be a supporting strategy to your wider marketing approach. If you’re only relying on targeting key accounts, you’re shortening your reach and creating a super-niche market for yourself. If you’re using ABM as an aid to your main strategy, there are various benefits it can propel your business with. 


It’s heavily personalised to your audience

Your marketing efforts will all be dedicated to the main decision-makers within a key account. So, it allows you to hone in on the personalisation of your campaign. Tailored content shows that you care and empowers the reader. They’re instantly more engaged if they can see that you've set aside the time and effort to create content specifically for them.

It can be hard to produce content that appeals to a mass audience - well, quality and effective content anyway. It’s ok though. ABM allows you to narrow down your audience pool so that you can focus on nailing your content and appeal to your select few personas. Personalising your content automatically makes it more intimate, which then sparks an emotional engagement from the reader too. 


It’s easier to see Return On Investment (ROI)

One of the biggest challenges that marketing departments face is calculating how effective campaigns are and breaking down the costs, especially with traditional marketing methods like billboards, printed advertisements and television adverts. There’s no definitive figure on how many people see these, which leaves attribution and conversion rates near impossible to figure out. 


what is account based marketing ROI


However, when you’re marketing to familiar buyers, for businesses that you already have a relationship with it can be easier to source the revenue that a particular campaign has brought in. Having this visibility and transparency is one reason why ABM is great for businesses. It easily allows business owners to see where their money is going and how successful their campaigns are too. 

Having a clearer ROI gives the business more confidence in your marketing efforts. If you can break down figures and show shareholders exactly where their money will be going, you’ll be able to convince them more easily. Rather than a forecasted attribution and ROI, they can't argue with cold, hard facts and figures - can they? 


More time-efficient marketing campaigns

Not only does ABM ensure that you’re getting a greater ROI, but it also ensures that your team isn't working too hard and for too long on accounts that aren’t worth that kind of return. In turn, this is a more efficient way of working as it ensures that your business prioritises key accounts, whilst giving the smaller jobs the allocated time and resources that they need to yield a positive return.

Setting aside some of your budget for ABM is a great way to stabilise your overall marketing department. On the acquisition side of things naturally, you’re going to have some months that are slower than others. However, ABM has a more effective and consistent return rate, so should the other half be suffering from a slower month, you have the marketing returns from your ABM campaign to lean on. 


Helps align internal teams

Notoriously, sales and marketing teams don’t always get on. If your teams aren’t producing results as good as they should be, marketing departments will likely blame sales for not converting their leads. Meanwhile, the sales team will blame the marketing departments for not providing them with quality leads. It’s a vicious circle. 


what is account based marketing teams aligning


However, you can easily dispel this classic situation by adopting an ABM strategy. Naturally, your marketing will produce better-qualified leads as you know exactly who you’re targeting with your efforts. Therefore, sales will likely be more successful in converting them and the working relationship between the two departments will be at an all-time high. 


How can you implement Account-Based Marketing?

Identify your target

The first step you need to take when implementing an ABM strategy is identifying your target or key account. Finding the right target is key to fundamental success with ABM, so you need to nail this step. Remember, you’re dealing with businesses, not people - so avoid making that mistake in this crucial step. 

Your marketing team should work closely with the sales team to decide who’s the perfect target for your business. The decision requires data from both sides, as well as considering the industry, business size, annual revenue and other key business factors. Plus, don’t forget key information conducted from client surveys and other qualitative means too. 


Research, research, research

Once you’ve identified who your target account is, it’s time to properly get to know them - inside and out! You need to be familiar with all the ins and outs of the business so you can optimise their content and provide them with an amazing customer experience. Rather than trying to develop personas here, look at the business more in-depth and more analytically to maximise your chances of engagement. 


what is account based marketing research


Platforms such as LinkedIn, are great for company research. You can easily find out business backgrounds, structures, employee bases and other valuable areas of interest for your research. LinkedIn helps you refine your search, so you can pinpoint businesses that meet your criteria, as well as see the areas that you can lean on too. 


Content creation

Your content shouldn’t only speak to various industry areas and job roles, but the business (or businesses) that you’ve especially picked out. Your content should be focused on single deals that you’re looking to make with businesses. Showcasing your business and putting it into real-life examples will help you convince and nurture any potential leads. 

ABM and inbound marketing interlock nicely - so, if you’re already using inbound marketing best practices within your content, the two will dovetail nicely and bolster your campaign. 


Choose your channels

Not only is the way that you speak to your key accounts within your content important, but the channel that you approach them on too. You could outline the perfect target but if you approach them on the wrong channel, then you could be finished before you’ve even started. Certain channels have different tones of voice that need addressing too, so bear that in mind when selecting them. 


what is account based marketing marketing channels


For example, LinkedIn requires a more professional tone than the likes of Twitter and Facebook. All of them are effective for businesses creating content but if you don’t optimise your efforts depending on the channel, then you’re not likely to get off the floor with your campaign. 


Red-Fern can help with your ABM

So, now that you’re up to speed with what account-based marketing is, it’s time for you to take the plunge and start implementing it. However, it can be daunting at first, especially if you’re not entirely sure with what you’re doing. But don’t worry, that’s where we can fit into the equation. 

Our expert team is capable of creating a fully tailored ABM strategy within a wide range of industries. To see how we can help your business, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Or, why not book in a discovery call with us? We’ll be on hand with insightful guidance to help you create the perfect ABM strategy. Book in a call today. 

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