Account-based marketing or ABM is a marketing concept which is rapidly catching up among organizations that are in B2B space due to several benefits it offers them. For starters, companies having multiple customer accounts can witness a significant improvement in the annual contract value for large and strategic accounts. Organizations that have a small addressable market and depend on winning a large percentage of the market to benefit from ABM.


However, for account-based marketing to be successful for an organization, there are certain prerequisites that need to be in place. Here are the 7 steps an organization should focus on to successfully implement and execute account-based marketing.

Align your marketing and sales team

While identifying the right accounts for your marketing efforts is logically the first step, a key prerequisite for the implementation of ABM strategies is the tight collaboration between the marketing and sales teams of your organization. There needs to be a complete alignment between these two important teams, from the moment of identifying the right customer accounts to target, to developing the content that is tailored to and resonates with the key decision-makers of the account and running a successful campaign. WIthout teamwork, your ABM efforts is headed towards failure. Hence, aligning these two teams becomes the first step towards the implementation.

Identify your target accounts

One of the cornerstones of implementing successful account-based marketing is to identify the right accounts that fit your organization’s product or service. This step is similar to that of developing user personas for inbound marketing, however not the same. In inbound marketing, you are developing personas for people, who can be either organizations or the public. However, in ABM, you already know your customers and these are organizations.


Identifying your target customer requires the marketing and sales teams working together as data is needed from both teams. Data of these accounts include both qualitative as well as quantitative data such as location, size of the company, the position of the decision-makers and organization goals among others. 

Do a thorough research of your target accounts

Once you have identified your target accounts, the next step is to do an in-depth research of the account. When it comes to ABM, research is not an option but a necessity. Remember that in account-based marketing, you are creating content and campaigns that are tailored for your accounts. This means that you need to research your account as much as possible including elements such as the account structure, the level of authority the decision-maker has and so on, to identify how you can position your offering to the target.

Develop a marketing strategy

When you have an aligned marketing and sales team as well as the required account-related insights in place, it is easier for you to develop a strategy to connect with your customers. Creating a marketing strategy involves creating a content strategy, identifying the right channels to deliver the content and reach out to them, the kind of objections they may raise and the response you would provide.

Create tailored content

Once you have identified the accounts, done your research and have a marketing strategy in place, the next thing is to create the content. This may sound repetitive but it is important to remember that you are targeting individual accounts here and different stakeholders in these accounts respond differently to your content. Hence, it is absolutely necessary to keep the content specific to the account and the stakeholders if they need to respond positively.

Run your campaign

Your campaign is now ready to be delivered to your target accounts. Running your marketing campaigns requires a little care. Your campaigns need to be coordinated across channels in order to ensure that you are sending out a consistent message without ambiguity and repetition to a decision maker in an account. Hence, ensure that you are leveraging the channels you have wisely.

Measure the Campaign’s Success


Finally, it is time to measure the performance of your marketing campaign. You need to check if your campaigns were effective in achieving your goal or if they need any improvements. The metrics that need to be measured in ABM are, however, slightly different from those of inbound marketing. For example, unlike inbound marketing or traditional marketing where you need to measure the number of new leads, you need to measure engagements here. Similarly, you need to see if the right decision makers within an account are reading and engaging with your content. A few other KPIs you may want to measure include opt-in permissions from the accounts, the sufficiency of the coverage, appointments, and conversions.


Conclusion


Implementing account-based marketing may seem a little daunting. However, if you break it down into simple steps and follow these steps, it should be less overwhelming and relatively easy to execute it successfully.

Originally published , updated March 15 2018