ITSMA first coined the term “account-based marketing” in 2004 but it’s only really started to gain traction in the past few years. During this time, ABM has gone from being a buzzword to a proven marketing strategy.
In 2017, 36% of companies had an established ABM practice but by 2018, that number had grown to 61%. ABM tactics continue to grow in popularity as marketers realize just how effective they can be. If you’re still on the fence about implementing ABM, briefly consider the following statistics:
- 87% of marketers agree that ABM delivers a better ROI than other marketing activities.
- ABM improves customer lifetime value (80%), win rates (86%), and delivers higher ROI (76%).
- And companies that implement ABM report a 36% increase in customer retention rates.
5 ABM Tactics for 2019
ABM allows marketers to focus on the high-value accounts that matter most to their business. With this personalized approach, you can help speed up the sales cycle and waste less time on generic outreach efforts.
That’s why ABM is just as important in 2019 as ever before. This is especially true for B2B companies that tend to have more decision makers involved in the sales process. Let’s look at five ABM tactics you can utilize in 2019.
1. Tier your target or named account list
A named account list is a common ABM term. This is similar to a target account list but it’s taken one step further. Everyone on your named account list will be assigned to an individual sales rep. For some companies, you may even see named and target account lists as interchangeable.
Ultimately, this list will be the bedrock for your entire account-based strategy and determine how you reach the right accounts. These will be accounts that closely match your ideal customer profile and have a high probability of converting to customers. While making sure both marketing and sales agree on the target accounts is important, more critical is aligning on the detailed criteria that can be used to identify the accounts that present the best opportunities and prioritize (or tier) your accounts. Without this level of alignment and deeper analysis, lack of confidence in the list can spread, and it becomes more challenging to know exactly where to focus limited resources.
This is where tiering comes in. You’ll want to evaluate the attributes of those companies on your target account list and begin categorizing them based on a variety of factors. Each tier represents higher value to the organization, and thus merits greater investment, than does the one below it. Resources, internal and for program execution, must be aligned against each tier. A good rule of thumb is to target a 2x-to-5x difference in resources per account by tier to meaningfully differentiate tiers.
2. Take advantage of personalized ads
While traditional retargeting allows brands to continue serving consumers ads after they’ve visited a particular website and had their IP addresses captured by a cookie, companies can take this one step further. You should be sure to segment and personalize account-based ads to specific roles within a team in the midst of a purchase decision. After all, it takes an average of 6.8 people to reach a purchase decision and they each may be at a different sales stage or be swayed by a different value prop.
Beyond that, the key to success with account-based retargeting will depend on how well your ads have been personalized to a specific person on the buying committee. By utilizing the data in your CRM or marketing automation tool, you can serve ads that pull in company name, job title, or other personalized information. To see some examples to real personalized campaigns, get started with The Big Book of ABM.
3. Create a personalized email sequence
Creating a personalized email sequence can be very effective but it’s extremely difficult to pull off. If the emails are too personal, it can seem invasive. But generic emails will likely end up in the spam folder.
The best strategy for creating a personalized email sequence is to keep it helpful, friendly, and brief. Offer helpful suggestions about known industry problems without being annoying or pushy. Ideally your sequences will be aligned with other marketing tactics—especially your ad strategy. If you can personalize and align your messaging from browser to inbox, you’ll be far more likely to impact your key accounts.
4. Deliver a timely, personalized direct mail
One of the best ways to get in front of key decision makers at your target accounts is through some thoughtful research and outreach. Your accounts are likely bombarded by competitive messaging through most channels, on most days. You don’t want to slip through the cracks, and that’s where direct mail can make a big impact.
Does one of the contacts at your target accounts have a well-known hobby they tweet about? Are they a sports fanatic? Do they have alumni pride for where they went to college?
Tap into these wells of information by sending a thoughtful gift (this doesn’t have to be high-budget!) synced with your sales cycle. If a contact has gone cold or you gain other insightful information, this could be the right time to get them back into the conversation with something delivered to their desk.
5. Host events specifically for target accounts
As marketers embraced more digital channels, events began to fall off of the radar. But when you’re focused on a much smaller pool of prospects (your account list), there’s no better way to speed up the sales cycle than by meeting someone face-to-face. This could be a large industry event or you could host a smaller field event for certain target accounts.
To get the most impact and ROI, work with your sales team to make sure you have a curated invite list. You should shoot for at least 75% of attendees fitting within your ICP for maximum reach. By keeping alignment with your sales team around these ABM plays, you’ll be able to keep up the momentum.
If hosting your own event isn’t in your wheelhouse, then you can simply try seeking out target accounts at other in-person events they’re attending. The point is, find a way to meet your prospects so they can put a face to your company’s product. Also, don’t forget to have thoughtful follow-up after all events to make sure you keep your accounts engaged and ready to move further through the conversation.
Hopefully, this blog post has shown you that there are a number of ways to engage with your target accounts and further your ABM practice. None of these tactics will deliver overnight success because ABM is a long-term strategy.
But it’s worth it to start building relationships with those high-value prospects now. Of course, data will be a crucial element to any ABM tactic you choose to try.
About the AuthorFollow on Linkedin More Content by Caroline Van Dyke