Most marketers are somewhere unique on their journey to getting more account-based (aka doubling down on impact-only tactics), but some get hung up on the idea they have to go ‘all in’ to get started. And it may be a surprise to some that ABM and demand gen are friends, not foes.
That’s right — you can ABMify your demand gen or inbound strategies that you're already accustomed to with some tweaks that help you get the most immediate value out of your efforts. And while there's a lot of rhetoric out there about the 'perfect way to do abm', we think the strongest marketers blend approaches that are already working for them.
Get in an ABM state of mind
A few things to remember as you embark on your ABM journey….
100% of customers were aware before buying
Most 1:many channels can be ABM-ified
Using 1 channel or 1 touch? You’re not going to have mega impact
Combine fir, intent, + engagement signals for wins
Along with implementing what already works, let’s dive into 3 fundamental pillars and plays that you can incorporate to amplify demand gen and inbound efforts.
The 3 Pillars of ABM
1. Identify high-value targets
This is the first step to getting more efficient with your existing programs — weeding out poor fit targets that just leak your resources and are unlikely to become customers despite best efforts. There are two layers of alignment you can follow as you identify your high-value targets.
The first approach is fit-focused targeting based on the volume of accounts that are available to you from your ICP. So essentially the total number of targets you should start with. Keep in mind that targets can go beyond one list and should be worked on alongside your GTM teams, not in silos.
Layers of fit-focused targeting - By Volume:
The second layer of alignment is fit-focused targeting based on priority. As you can imagine, this approach is relative based on the priority across teams and is subject to much more detailed segmenting compared to volume targeting. So much so that sub-segmenting is the first step in the layer of alignment, Ultimately, the goal here is to winnow down your broader list to action in-market deals, faster (versus relying on the slower inbound ‘wait and see’ approach).
Layers of fit-focused targeting - By Priority:
2. Double Down on Engagement
Once you've done all that foundational work of getting clear on your audience, you now have the right pool to double down on multi-buyer, multi-channel engagement. You not only need to reach various buyers, but you have to meet them where they're at.
With buying committees only growing, you also need to engage them through both coordinated (and balanced) marketing and sales programs. We’ll cover engagement plays a bit later, but as a start here is a baseline formula to achieve the sweet spot of engagement:
The Sweet Spot: Fit + Intent +/or Engagement
(*Tip: If you are getting started with ABM, it's the combination of all 3 that you want to focus on.)
Feeling overwhelmed? Not to worry, help is within reach. Leverage existing marketing and sales tools to ABMify your channels. These tools look like:
Gifting & experiences
Email & Email Signature Marketing
Advertising is the most powerful channel for ABMifiers because it's the only true channel that works at every stage of the funnel with personalization.
3. Moving Toward ABM Measurement
Just like any other campaign or project, you need KPIs and metrics to follow and reach. The same goes for measuring your ABM impact against shared team goals, looking at the most predictable indicators—pipeline and revenue.
This may seem like you're entering a whole new ball game, but you're just starting to zoom in on key accounts versus measuring every lead that comes your way. This will ultimately start to show you how much better your results really are once you ABMify.
To measure properly, you’re looking at the full funnel, starting from traffic all the way to sales-ready target accounts. Because TAL tends to get such a large portion of the budget, as a best practice, keep a close eye on what portion of traffic leads are from TAL to make sure there is alignment between your investment and outcomes.
The key pillars will help to bring in better opportunities, more sales accepted opportunities, a faster sales cycle and close rate, and increased revenue. It may seem like you needed to get the ball rolling yesterday, but you can start slow. In fact, take the time to identify your high-value targets and create marketing and sales programs set for engagement. Crawl before you run to know just how you’ll measure the impact of all your efforts that work for your business.
Now we get to the fun—it’s time to play! Here are 3 engagement plays for full-funnel impact.
3 Plays for full-funnel impact
Play 1: ABMify 1: Many Channels (TOFU)
The goal: ABMify your 1: Many channels through a change in targeting to maximize a full-funnel impact. Pro Tip: Expand your list if it's too small and consider retargeting TAL. On average, it takes 7+ touches to generate an opportunity.
Play 2: ABMify 1: Action in-market accounts (MOFU)
The goal: Isolate highly engaged accounts that are spiking in activity and offer content based on intent. Pro Tip: Don’t forget about offline intent, like new org acquisition and/or funding.
Play 3: Re-engage Lost MQLs and opptys (BOFU)
Goal: Wake the dead and create a re-engagement campaign for previously disqualified MQLs, or MQLS that never responded. Pro Tip: Mimic email comms as if SDR sent personally and considered Sunday sends.