Account Based Marketing (ABM) is a highly-targeted approach that focuses on strategically selected accounts as markets-of-one. Simply put, ABM focuses on those key accounts most likely to generate revenue and meet strategic goals.
Many companies have a few very large accounts, which individually buy as much as a small market segment. ABM leverages this fact by treating the largest accounts as they were markets with a focus on quality, not quantity. It targets the most suitable and likely-to-buy accounts, as well as key decision makers within those accounts. Because of its highly-targeted and prioritized nature, ABM is essentially ‘qualified lead generation.’ Further to this, is the ability it affords to leverage customer-specific intelligence through the customization of messaging for each account, or even individual contacts. This approach “amplifies your content ROI,”[i] by delivering insightful, highly-relevant, and account-specific content directly to your target audience. As such, ABM is much more effective and efficient than broad-based lead gen tactics that reach a variety of contacts, many of which have dubious qualifications. ABM is also ideal for both broadening and deepening existing customer relationships.
1. Determine target accounts
- Work with sales to clarify your collective goals, understand how success is defined, and establish the metrics you’ll need to assess your success – and be sure all of these aspects support and align with organizational objectives.
- With these understandings firmly in hand, develop your criteria for account selection, and work with your sales team to target only a small number of accounts for ABM.
- Once you’ve determined your target accounts, get to know your buyer – intimately. What are their corporate strategies? How can your products or services help them to be more successful? Gather both firmographic and psychographic data. Develop a keen understanding of both the buyer journey and buyer personas.
2. Define content needs
- Use your intimate knowledge of your buyer to develop personalized and effective messaging that motivates behavior by appealing to both their rational and emotional needs.
- Map your content needs using a matrix that qualifies the when, what, and where of it; i.e., mapping content to the appropriate buyer stages, in the preferred formats, via the best channels.
- Create a content-quality checklist to ensure that each content piece effectively addresses the needs it has been created to meet.
- Audit your existing marketing collateral in light of the content matrix and checklist for your targeted buyer, adapt it as necessary, and develop new assets where needed.
3. Deploy targeted campaigns
- Speed and relevance are the name of the game in campaign deployment – getting the right information, to the right audience, at the right time, in the right format (which, incidentally, happens to be IDC’s definition of ‘sales enablement’). Establishing a robust content matrix will help ensure that you are hitting the right balance – developing it in collaboration with sales will help ensure that it’s being used effectively.
4. Measure, analyze, & optimize
- To accurately assess the success of your campaign, be sure that you include both qualitative & quantitative measures (e.g., increased mindshare, deeper relationships, ROI, and a shortened sales cycle).
- Analyze content consumption to determine the effectiveness of your message, and adjust your content matrix and checklist accordingly. Solicit feedback from sales on how content is and is not enabling the sales conversation.
- Use analysis and feedback to optimize for campaign success!
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[i]Insightera’s December 2013 eBook, Why your demand gen plan needs account-based marketing