Every marketer knows that when you try to appeal to everyone, you appeal to no one. You end up with bland marketing messages that have minimal impact. Nobody gets excited about bland, and they’re certainly not going to spend top dollar on whatever it is you’re selling.
Social media algorithms and responsive search engines have made the challenge even more, well, challenging. They’ve conditioned people to expect messages tailored to their needs and preferences. Consumers expect a small-batch experience, not a cafeteria style free-for-all.
By mixing up modern technologies with proven marketing and sales techniques, Account-Based Marketing makes customers feel like you’ve created something specifically for them. That’s the opposite of bland—and it just might be the secret sauce your marketing plan needs.
What is Account-Based Marketing?
ABM targets a clearly defined audience with personalized campaigns. Rather than creating content or marketing messages for a ideal customer persona, you’re crafting them for a real-life prospect. It’s like cooking a special meal for every guest at your dinner party. Everyone walks away satisfied, and they’re eager to get a second invite.
This isn’t an entirely new concept. Companies have been using something called key account marketing for decades. But lately, marketing companies have found ways to update this classic recipe for success. The new and improved key account marketing, now known as ABM, helps you nurture and sell to high-value clients, resulting in not just a positive, but a downright giddy return on investment.
According to ITMSA, 87% of marketers agree that ABM provides a higher ROI than other forms of marketing. It also improves your reputation and relationships with customers. In a study by SiriusDecisions, 91% of marketers said ABM increased the average size of their deals, with an increase of 21-50% for 30.5% of responders.
All this value used to come at a high cost, which was why only the biggest and highest dollar companies used it. Advances in technology, however, have now made ABM accessible to more businesses than ever before. You don’t have to be a giant to see a massive impact from ABM.
Using key insights from social media, web traffic, and your own customer relationship management system, ABM helps you connect with high-value customers in a meaningful way. Although ABM demands more resources than cafeteria style service of content marketing, you can use those resources more efficiently because data is more readily available than ever before.
Is ABM right for you?
If the description of ABM has your mouth watering, grab a napkin and listen up. ABM isn’t for everyone. It works best for companies selling high-dollar items to big spenders. Companies marketing directly to consumers probably aren’t going to see the same results.
Similarly, if you rely on high volume sales of low-priced services, ABM is probably not for you. The investment just doesn’t make sense when the payoff is a $5 sale.
For an ABM strategy to be successful, you need the right infrastructure in place. ABM relies on data. If you don’t have a solid customer relations management system, you’re going to struggle to target your audience. Focus first on getting your CRM established and healthy.
You might also struggle if your business is one of those where the marketing and sales departments don’t see eye to eye. If the two teams are operating completely independently from each other, you won’t get the most out of ABM. Harmonize their efforts and encourage them to share information before they tackle a fully integrated ABM strategy.
Alignment across sales and marketing is important because, both need to deliver the right message at the right time to achieve a truly account-focused result. Instead of throwing competing ideas at a customer, they should present complementary messages.
It’s the difference between presenting a thoughtful wine pairing versus plopping down on the table a bottle of whatever was handy. One improves the experience; the other looks careless.
How do you implement ABM?
The secret to ABM is great content guided by data. Each account you target should get targeted content, and that content should be fed to them at the right time in their buyer journey to achieve maximum impact.
Start by identifying your high-value accounts. What counts as high-value might vary depending on your business, but you’re looking for the major players. The people who are going to buy a lot of something, go for the most expensive package, or be ongoing customers
Next, drill down. You’re not just targeting an account. You’re targeting key decision makers on the account. So instead of targeting XYZ Company, you’re targeting Jill Jackson, the purchasing manager at XYZ Company. Maybe you’re also crafting messages for the Chief Information Officer Jack Jillson because Jill listens to his opinion when it comes to services like yours.
With your audience clearly defined, it’s time to create content and personalized messaging. Personalization should go way beyond using the decision maker’s first name in your emails (although a video where you call the client by name can make a huge impact). Go deeper and think about the specific challenges the account is facing. Offer them targeted solutions in video, email, social media—or, ideally, a combination of all three.
If personalizing sound like a lot of effort for one client, keep in mind that you don’t have to create a unique 30 minute video for every client or write each one a 3,000 word email The point is that the content you share with them is targeted for the questions and concerns they’re actually facing at that moment.
Jill might worry about how your solution will integrate with her existing technology. A purchasing manager at ABC Company might have that exact concern as well. Maybe you create a video for Jill that quickly explains how your product integrates with what she has. That same video would be handy for the ABC purchasing manager, too. And the purchasing managers at DEF, GHI, JKL—you get the idea.
The key is to deliver the content at the moment when it will be most effective. So instead of just pushing the video out on your blog, maybe you wait until Jill has entered her email address on your site. Then, a few days later, you send her an email with the video. Later on, when another purchasing manager reaches the same stage in their buying journey, you send it to them too.
Next, pick your channel and start sharing your content. Again, this is all about targeting, so if JIll prefers email but Jack keeps LinkedIn open on his desktop all day, email Jill and tag Jack in an article on LinkedIn. Coordinate marketing and sales efforts for the best possible impact.
You can also create content pushes triggered by a specific user action. Send emails or show ads based on their action on your website. You can even pick up the phone and call them to proactively answer questions.
Like any content marketing campaign, ABM works best when it’s flexible. Track your results and adjust strategies accordingly. One of the biggest struggles around content marketing is the difficulty in identifying your results. Because ABM is so targeted, it’s easy to draw a line between your marketing efforts and sales results.
And sales results are what you’re looking for. With your regular content marketing campaign, your goal likely to find leads and build customer relationships. With ABM, your goal is always conversions. The more tailored and strategic your ABM, the more conversions you’ll get.
Why is video perfect for ABM?
Having quality videos ready to go can help streamline your ABM strategy. Video builds engagement quickly and presents information in an accessible way. While customers see a custom email as a nice touch, a custom video will likely blow them away.
Creating a custom video is not as hard as you think. Contact Epipheo and start cooking up something your customers will love.
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