All About ABM

What is ABM?

Account-based marketing (ABM) is the strategic approach to business marketing that emphasizes specific target accounts within a market and utilizes personalized campaigns in order to spark interest and generate leads.

This method strengthens the link between the marketing and sales teams as it requires both teams to identify, agree and ‘sign off’ on who those key accounts are. 

As a result, marketing gets to focus and measure success on generating awareness and engagement on those specific accounts. Sales focuses and measures in opportunities and deals closed with those specific accounts. Every other MQL/SQL or deal closed becomes a “nice to have”.

In short, ABM is an idyllic methodology that marries the best intentions of B2B marketers with the desires of their sales colleagues.

Both teams agree on the target accounts and the agreed audience within the company that would be classified as relevant. All (unharmful & peace loving) marketing guns are then aimed at those accounts until delightful opportunities are generated.

Marketing Envy’s Experience with ABM

Marketing Envy has worked with multiple clients on defining the strategy for and executing ABM campaigns. We’ve seen clients move from generating plenty of irrelevant leads to highly targeted, nurtured and relevant opportunities from the specified target companies/accounts.

Account Based Marketing (ABM) vs. Traditional Markeitng

Account Based Marketing solves issues that have emerged with the increased use of automation tools. Firstly, many CRMs have become junkyards for leads, with no organizational structure and endless old contacts who have moved on from their original contact company.

Secondly, while traditional online and offline lead generation techniques are fantastic for generating large quantities of top-of-the-funnel and largely unqualified leads, the process of ABM drives companies to qualify and then decide which of the companies they aim to progress further down the funnel.

In addition, by using targeted, more strategic techniques of marketing, such as ABM, marketers can solve several ongoing challenges at once that fall under the Sales<>Marketing Alignment umbrella:

Problem

Marketing defined target accounts aren’t worked by sales 

Sales defined target accounts receive generic outreach from marketing

Challenge

Marketing unaware of what sales consider a target account

No insight into sales outreach that would help refine who and how to target for outreach

Solution

Strong collaboration and closed loop reporting before and after outreach

Shared list of target accounts and contacts

Personalized messaging developed together

In short, Account Based Marketing minimizes the time spent on irrelevant prospects, while decreasing overall spending. In addition, as businesses are starting to realize the potential of personalized campaigns, ABM is quickly becoming the go-to strategy for B2B tech companies aiming to improve their marketing and sales alignment.

To learn even more have a read of our eBook

Key Stats

33% Conversion rate for personalized campaigns

20% Increase in qualified lead gen

20% Higher Conversion rate

13% Increase in target market reach

 

$27 Million in new pipeline opps

$57 Million progressed down the pipeline

The Benefits of ABM

ABM is a wonderful methodology but it does not replace good wider target audience marketing. Ideally, a B2B tech company’s marketing effort needs to be split between ABM and wider, still targeted marketing. In other words, mixing both marketing techniques, but also finding the correct ratio, is crucial to maximizing revenue potential. ABM benefits include:

Even More Results Oriented

Thanks to improved alignment of marketing and sales teams, organizations can expect a greater ROI. According to a recent study, 80% of marketers say ABM improves customer lifetime values, while 86% say it improves with conversion and click through rates (TOPO).

Greater Efficiency

Due to the fact that ABM involves extensive planning, marketers and sales teams can target their efforts at specific individuals within an account, thereby minimizing the investment on less relevant leads.

Personalized Content

By personalizing and adjusting the messages and channels to particular accounts, the B2B marketing campaign will be more effective. That is to say, targeted prospects are more likely to engage with content that is fine-tuned to them, their business, and their stage in the buyer journey.

Lead and Customer Experience

ABM caters to specific accounts and specific individuals. As a result, lead and customer experience is vastly improved. Increased Agility: The nature of ABM campaigns enables organizations to quickly and efficiently adjust to fit the changing environment and markets.

Improved Sales<>Marketing Alignment

ABM campaigns enhance the connection between the sales and marketing teams. Common goals are created, which should eliminate the agonizing ping pong debates of MQL/SQL statuses between the teams.

Account Based Marketing
Objectives & Results

Objectives

  • Increase touchpoints with decision makers and influencers
  • Increase number of sales meetings
  • Focus Sales & Marketing efforts on best fit companies
  • Smart/highly targeted use of marketing budget

Results

  • Higher sales velocity
  • More deals in pipeline
  • Increased lead to win conversion
  • Maximizing LTV/CAC

Key Success Factors for Your ABM Campaign​

Successful account-based experiences are made up of three core principles:

Collabaration

In order to maximize the efficiency of an ABM campaign, teams from different departments, especially those from the marketing and sales must converge and act in accordance with a shared strategy. As a result, teams involved in the campaign are using the same data from different sources, thus, creating a data-driven ideal customer profile (ICP). 

Coordination

Seamless coordination between sales and marketing teams provide prospects and buyers with an ongoing, relevant experience throughout their journey. Furthermore, the lead’s current state in the buyer journey is known from every angle and every team, which allows for marketing adaptations. 

Continuity

Beyond the fact that the lead should feel immersed in their experience with the brand, account-based experiences should be growing, adapting, and continuous. When performed successfully, prospects will turn into strong brand supporters.

Is ABM Right for Your Organization?​

Account Based Marketing
Objectives & Results

Lead Generation

  • Buyer Personas
  • Target Market / vertical • Lead Score
  • MQLs
  • Attribution to source of lead

Focus on lead quantity and marketing funnel

Account Based Marketing

    • Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)
    • Target Account List (Specific Companies)
    • Account Engagement Score
    • Marketing Qualified Accounts
    • Split attribution between touch points
    • Sales Pipeline “Target Account” Pipeline

    Focus on strengthening relationships as a core of the sales process

As noted previously, organizations of all sizes use Account-Based Marketing. We believe that ABM works well for B2B tech companies that fall into one or more of the following categories:

Companies that sell to large, key accounts (such as Fortune 500-1000s)

Companies that sell to accounts in specific industries, such as finance, tech, eCommerce, aerospace, agricultural, pharmaceutical etc.

Companies with a long sales cycle, typically 6 months and longer & multiple stakeholders

Companies with marketing & sales alignment deficiencies (they all have them ;))

If your organization falls into one or more of the above categories, you should seriously consider implementing an ABM campaign. 

By implementing an ABM playbook, you can improve alignment between marketing and sales, personalize your content, generatemore revenue, save time and resources, and improve customer experience.

How to Execute ABM Campaigns

As with any marketing approach, mapping out your strategy and taking the right steps ensures an efficient and successful campaign.

Build a Team

The first step in ABM is to build a team of marketers and sales folks who will lead the ABM campaign definition and execute it. In order to create an efficient multi-channel experience, marketers with varying specializations should be brought together.

Identify Accounts

There are many factors that can help you identify and prioritize target accounts, including:
  • Revenue Potential: Your target audience should be able to fall into your product or service’s price bracket.
  • Best Fit Accounts: Identify accounts and individual buyers that are aligned with your marketing personas. For example, if you are selling a cybersecurity product, the CISO and his/her security team would be personas; influencers would be CTO and the procurement dept, perhaps legal counsel.
  • Strategic Importance: Aim for accounts that match your company’s business strategy. Are they your ideal customer? Perhaps they are strategically important but may not be high revenue earners because you need their brand name on your website?
  • Geography: Targeting accounts in relevant regions, such as regions where your sales team is located, will facilitate the sales process.
  • Product Needs: Start with the low hanging fruit; identify accounts that can make clear use of the solution you’re offering. By doing this, you’ll be increasing the probability of purchase.
  • Competition: Consider identifying accounts using competing products. If your competitors are doing well with those companies, you should be targeting them as well.
  • Quick Purchasing Processes: Try aiming for companies that have quick(er) purchasing decision processes.

Build KPIs

Some of the most appropriate metrics /KPIs for marketers to use in ABM are:
  • Engagement Rates: For example, page views per target account and per role
  • Ideal Customers: How many companies match your ideal customer profile (ICP) tier Account- & Role-specific
  • Conversion Rates: Include meetings booked, deals created, and target accounts converted to customers.
abm-kpis

Funnel Stage

Unaware

Aware

Engaged

Opportunity

Cross Stage

KPI

Coverage

Awareness

Interactions

Personas

Conversion

Description

% of accounts visiting the website

# of touchpoints for a given account

# of interactions/touchpoints for a given account

# of personas associated with a deal

% of accounts moving from stage to stage

Attract Stakeholders

We all know that content is king, right? This is especially true for ABM campaigns. Targeting specific accounts requires personalized, relevant, and timely content. Creating relevant content is an ongoing process that requires continuous testing.

 Moreover, the publication of content needs to be spread across the different channels available to the team. By doing so, stakeholders will be put into a hyper-personalized bubble, where each channel creates an opportunity for engagement. 

By creating a multi-channel experience, the potential of attracting stakeholders increases dramatically. This is usually done by blending various forms of engagement, such as personalized messaging, blog content and online promoted ads, email marketing, multi-touch SDR strategies, and direct mail. Likewise, each stage of the funnel must provide the lead with relevant content.

  • The “top of the funnel” is the “awareness stage”
    Where people are looking for answers, resources, insights, and opinions. Top of the funnel content can take the form of a whitepaper, an eBook, a tip sheet, a checklist, a how-to video, or an educational webinar. The key point to remember here is to help the lead solve a problem. Basically, their value as a lead is low because there’s no guarantee or information about their current intent to buy or just research.
  • The “middle of the funnel” is the “evaluation stage”
    Where people are heavily researching whether or not your product or service is a good fit for them. Middle of the funnel content usually comes in the form of case studies, samples, FAQs, data sheets, product comparisons and demos. When a lead moves down into the middle of the funnel, you’ve successfully captured their attention. The key here is to show why your solution is the best choice for them.
  • The “bottom of the funnel” is the “purchase decision stage”
    Where leads are at the decision making stage and are likely evaluating your solution compared to a competitor. In this final stage, the content will most likely be in the form of a free trial, a live demo, a consultation etc. The leads need the final push to make the leap and choose you.

Create Relationships

Over time, leads will be nurtured and some will eventually become customers. Closing a deal with a lead is only the beginning; it’s the stepping stone of transforming a customer into a devout brand supporter. By continuing to engage with a customer past the point of purchase, they’ll slowly, but surely, reach the realization that they’re dealing with a company that actually cares about them, and not just their money.

Once this happens, you’ve basically found marketing gold. These new brand evangelists will market your product or service, as well as your brand, just because they’ve become so enveloped in the engagement bubble. The question is, how do you keep the relationship alive post-deal close?

  • Stay top of mind by sending high quality content that is relevant to them
  • Involve them in company product decisions and seek their opinions
  • From time to time, give them a call or send a personal email just to make sure everything is working properly, answer questions, and even show some interest in their personal lives.

Maintaining a gained relationship is equally important to creating one.

Creating an ABM Campaign in

There have been many advancements in marketing automation tools that enable B2B marketers to easily execute ABM campaigns. While HubSpot is our tool of choice, there are others out there that do a fantastic job, Marketo and Pardot are just two of those. 

An efficient ABM solution includes powerful lead and account-based capabilities that augment each other to create the perfect mix for your business without disrupting current efforts. 

In order to maximize the potential for your ABM, you’ll need to choose and implement a solution that can easily scale with your organization. 

Do your research, compare platforms and see which one fits your business most. There isn’t a perfect solution out there. The HubSpot ABM Paradigm is divided into six different phases, as well as a measurement phase that’s extended throughout the campaign.

 

BUILD

Build your sales & marketing team

ATTRACT

Attract stakeholders through engaging content spread across different channels

IDENTIFY

Define your ICP and identify target accounts

ENGAGE

Adjust your outreach by personalizing

 

CREATE

Create an account plan that aligns the different departments

MEASURE

Measure KPIs from the moment you identify target accounts, to the moment you close

ABM Dashboard

Target Accounts is HubSpot’s version of the ABM Dashboard. From here, you can view campaign-related information such as:

  • Accounts with open deals
  • Open deal value
  • Target accounts
  • Recommended target accounts

Account Overview

In account overview, you’ll be able to view account-specific activity and properties. For example, new contacts, meetings, logged calls, buyer roles, and last engagements. Thanks to this, you’ll be able to know exactly how each target account is performing in accordance with your strategy.

Setting Up Your Workflow

Workflows allow you to automate operations and tasks, which help you save time and resources. In HubSpot, the default workflow template “Sort companies by ideal customer profile fit” is designed as an example for ABM.

This template demonstrates how you can assign a tier value based on a company’s Annual revenue value.

Workflow by Company ICP Score

Here’s another workflow known as “Company ICP Score”. It does exactly what it says, it helps you score companies according to their ideal customer profile. This is similar to a buyer persona, except it’s built around targeting entire organizations, rather than individuals. With this, you can use ICP workflow templates to help you spot common traits that can be used to classify companies in your database by how well they match your ICP.

Setting up Ads Campaigns

Ads / paid campaigns are essential to any ABM strategy because they help drive leads by engaging with new audiences. Through HubSpot, you can use demographic information to send highly personalized messages to target accounts – even if the contacts within that account are outside of your database. In addition, Ads help you reach your target companies with relevant messaging throughout all stages of the buyer’s journey.

In HubSpot, you can build a contact list and use it within your Ads strategy, such as building a custom audience on LinkedIn.

Measuring Progress

As with any approach, measuring your progress is important to building and maintaining efficiency. For this reason, your ABM strategy needs to include actionable and available results. In addition, since account engagement is required to be one of the main success metrics for ABM that both sales and marketing must adopt, your strategy should also be able to measure overall account-level engagement across specific and multiple accounts.

HubSpot makes this really easy. By measuring, analyzing, and optimizing your metrics, you’ll be able to understand your strategy’s revenue impact. Some of the reports available for use in ABM campaigns include:

  • Ideal customers profile tier
  • Contacts created at target accounts
  • Target accounts by page views
  • Target account totals by source
  • Buying role by target account

Target Accounts by Page Views

Target Accounts by Source

Buying Role by Target Account

There’s much more that we can show you about options to run your ABM campaign on HubSpot, but we’ll leave it here and let you play around and enjoy.

Is ABM Right for Your Organization?

If you’ve read all of the above and still have questions about ABM and how it can fit into your business, or you already know that your business needs to set up and implement an ABM program, feel free to contact us. 

Marketing Envy helps scores of B2B tech companies large and small successfully execute effective ABM campaigns.