What Is Account Based Marketing
Account Based Marketing (ABM) and its various strategies have been designed for B2B companies to get in business with huge dream companies. It takes a certain amount of budget, time and effort from all the levels of your business. One of the notable features of Account Based Marketing is, every time from your organisation will need to onboard, and help concentrate their efforts towards the few key accounts you want to work with.
Every small and mid-size company has a list of companies they want to work with. Some dream of working with Nike, while some with Procter and Gamble. One of the many things common with these mega-companies is they have a complicated hierarchy and multiple decision-makers. To work with them, it would take the life out of a newly founded small or mid-size company. How can one even begin to get into business with any Mega-Company?
In this article we will learn everything there is to know about Account Based Marketing. In detail, you will see how your business can start with Account based marketing When you need to start implementing ABM Strategies, How companies like Intandemly is making it possible for small and midsize companies to implement strategies.
You will also learn how accounts are selected and how your business can start getting leads from your dream companies.
- What is Account Based Marketing?
- What is an Account Based Marketing Strategy?
- When Should I use Account Based Marketing?
- Why is Account Based Marketing Important?
- How does Account Based Marketing Work?
- Start by Selecting Accounts!
- Get in Touch with Decision Makers
- Engage with Decision Maker
- Steps to Account Based Marketing
- How to Select accounts for Account Based Marketing
- What is Tiering?
- What is Account-Based Content Marketing?
- What is Account Based Marketing Funnel?
- How to Approach People on LinkedIn
- Benefits of Account Based Marketing
- What Kind of Companies can Implement Account Based Marketing?
- Build an Account Based Marketing Strategy
- Identify your Key Accounts
- Align your Teams
- Focus on Social
- Identify your Channels and Craft your Message
- Qualify and Manage Accounts
1 What is Account Based Marketing?
Account Based Marketing is a very powerful concept derived by B2B marketing strategies. In its nature, it flips the funnel to form a focused group of account and diverting efforts to close these accounts.
Account Based Marketing combines the efforts of your sales and marketing team to work together by going after a few select accounts. Unlike regular marketing, Account Based Marketing (As the name suggest) requires the teams of your organisation to focus on individual accounts, rather than industry-wide. This strategy aims to establish a connection with the target accounts and generate a lead while creating a meaningful connection.
This strategy works perfectly for approaching large companies with multiple decision-makers. Allowing you to create a long term relationship even if the person in contact is relocated.
2 What is an Account Based Marketing Strategy?
Account Based Marketing Strategy involves a selecting of accounts and marketing to key people within an account with content specifically created to grab their attention. Account Based Marketing Strategy is said to have the highest ROI compared to any other B2B Marketing Strategy. Mainly do the focus being narrow. In comparison to Demand Generation Strategy where marketing and sales focus more toward the entire industry, in Account Based Marketing, the Marketing and Sale’s team focus is focus towards a few select accounts.
This enables the strategy to be an efficient exercise for all the teams. The Strategy begins with Selecting a few accounts which are more likely to convert. This is quantified based on multiple factors and can vary from company to company.
Most organisations pick accounts based on the product/service they are offering, and who would most likely benefit from being its customer.
Under Account Based Marketing Strategy, the efficiency of the entire organisation increases. This happens because the reception of new clients, managed by Sales and Marketing teams, is handled out both the team on an account level. In other words, since the sales and marketing teams are collaborating on the front, it makes it easier for them to exchange ideas, messages and reporting with each other. Making the journey made by new accounts much smoother.
3 When Should I use Account Based Marketing?
Account Based Marketing is highly suitable for B2B companies who are aiming to work with high-end clients. The entire process of closing a deal can easily take weeks, months or in some case, a year or more.
The underlying principle dictates a lot of waiting and budget expense, making it a suitable strategy for Large-Size B2B companies. However, thanks to advancements made in technology, and the rise of cloud-based applications, Account Based Marketing is becoming affordable for most mid and small size companies of all industries.
Some companies like Intandemly offers tools and platform for Small and Midsize companies, perfectly capable of executing account based marketing strategies and principles by a small team of 1-4 users.
Ideally, account based marketing should be implemented by B2B companies whose target customers are high ticket accounts. that is priced at a range of $1,000 Subscription, or a one time cost of $10,000 or more. These figures are just to set a ballpark for business to understand before considering applying Account based marketing.
Additionally, Account based marketing Expert Sampath Mallidi suggests new businesses getting into ABM should allocate only about 30% of their entire budget into account based marketing, and concentrate their majority of budget into other forms of marketing like Outbound & Inbound.
Since the closing of a deal through account based Marketing is time-consuming, companies starting with ABM need to plan to score most of their forecast leads through other strategies. Otherwise, a company might have to suffer due to insufficient cash flow.
To tackle this issue, most experts suggest starting, companies should first create a flow of leads through other strategies and after reaching stability in other methods, start implementing account based marketing by devoting less than half of their sales and marketing efforts into account based marketing Strategies and Platform.
It is also advised for organizations to involve the upper management like CEO and Finance Directors in the decision making the process.
4 Why is Account Based Marketing Important
It helps you focus.
Instead of going out in the market trying to target everyone, in Account Based Marketing, you will know the 300-500 accounts you want to do business with, and invest all your efforts towards them!
By dedicating your Sales and Marketing activities to these accounts –due to it being an exact fit– any return you get is naturally a higher ROI. There’s not much guesswork when your marketing team is creating content or your sales guys are approaching clients. All the efforts of your teams are instantly quantifiable since the results are directly co-relatable to each team!
Compared to the traditional methods of B2B marketing account based marketing allows you to concentrate your teams’ efforts & resources on certain selective accounts. This allows businesses to focus their entire strategy on closing the accounts that matter to the business.
Let’s say your company witnessed a sudden rise in IT Services and Consultancy companies in your city. To your business, you decide to launch a new high-value service specifically tailored for IT Services and Consultancy company. It makes more sense for you to follow the Account Based Sales & Marketing strategy for this, since IT Consultancy companies are huge with multiple key decision-makers, and your asking price can be placed fairly.
In this case, you target 300 companies, start identifying key decision-makers and creating content for high since the service you are providing would be high value as well!
5 How does Account Based Marketing Work?
The underlying principle of account Based marketing is very simple to understand. You have a few selected accounts that you want to penetrate. To accomplish this goal you divert your marketing and sales team along with their resources to close this gap.
The journey of an account in Account Based marketing through three stages. From finding the accounts you are interested in, and
- Selecting of accounts
- Getting in Touch with key people of accounts
- Engaging with the Decision Maker of accounts
5.1 How to Select Accounts!
Within the boundaries of account based marketing, selection of account is subjective from company to company. The primary objective of selecting an account should be based on the quality of the business transaction. The account you want to work with will naturally be the companies who can afford your offering, at the price set by your organisation.
Most companies implementing account based marketing tend to look for the following in an account before making a decision:
- The Industry account is active in
- The Annual revenue netted by the account
- The total number of staff working for the account
- The Requirements of the account and the business’s ability to meet these
5.2 How to get in Touch with Decision Makers
In the age of the internet, finding decision-maker is much easier. The people you are interested in is most likely active on LinkedIn. Besides LinkedIn, there are many platforms where professionals spend their time, a platform like AngelList and TechCrunch are some examples.
Sales and Marketing teams start by contacting these people on the platform they are most frequently see, and try to get a connection. Tools exist which can search for contact information around the internet. Intandemly’s Chrome extension helps to find the prospect’s email address from their social media profiles.
Alternatively, Intandemly’s powerful Sales Prospecting Tool can make it easier than ever for your reps to find contact information
5.3 How to Engage with Decision Maker
Engaging with a prospect Account is very similar to salespeople making a touchpoint. But In Account Based Marketing, it involves your entire organisation and all its teams contributing towards creating meaningful engagement. To the core, it requires your sales and marketing teams to align themselves on the account level and exchange ideas, content and messaging while creating meaningful communication and being on the front of your business.
It is the same reason, Most Account Based Marketing experts suggest Sales or Marketing Team take charge over a few accounts and Orchestrate their entire play.
Engaging on an Account level includes activities like:
- Making marketing videos
- Creating Demo Accounts of your SaaS product, tailored to an account’s needs
- Arranging Events targeted at solving problems particular to a certain account
- Sending personalised gifts through Direct mail
6 Steps to Account Based Marketing
The first step of getting started with Account Based Marketing is to select a few companies and organisation you are interested in. The process of selecting is completely depended on your organisation’s goals and varies from company to company.
6.1 How to Select Accounts for Account Based Marketing
Your business needs to figure out what your ideal customer looks like. You need to factor in a lot of things like
- What type of companies will benefit from your companies?
- Which of these companies will be able to pay your asking price?
- How Big these companies should be?
- How many employees should they have? More than 200? or more than 10,000?
- How much revenue should they be netting annually? $3 million or more.
- Should they be headquartered in your city, your country, or somewhere internationally?
This exercise should help you describe the exact company persona you are hoping to work with. These companies will typically benefit from your offering while paying the exact asking price you quote to them!
The list of ideal companies will differ from business to business. And depending on your industry and how populated your space is, it is totally fine to come up with 100 such companies to proceed with.
6.2 What is Tiering?
Once you have a lost of companies you are interested in, you need to divide them into 3 tiers. Tiers are made to give your business, a perspective of what the overall picture looks like. Segmenting and Tiering up your Accounts in Accounts Based Marketing is by far the most critical step if you want to execute ABM.
Account based marketing is a vast ocean. And the strategies can range from going very intensive about the mega accounts, to having a very scalable mechanism for thousands of accounts that you want to reach.
The most critical element here is how you tier your accounts. We would go through each of these 3 tiers.
Tier 1 5-10 accounts.
These accounts are the most ambitious dream account. Your strategy in this Tier would be to at an account level.
Creating deep and personalised content, engaging one to one, and establishing communication with the decision-makers. And the team involved in this Tier would be Sales, Marketing, (Sales Development Representative) SDR, Support and the Management team or the Executives team.
Since these accounts are your most ambitious companies with complicated hierarchy, you can easily expect to wait anywhere from a few months, to a year
Tier 2 10-100 accounts.
The accounts which are important to you but less difficult to get in to, compared to Tier 1.
The strategy over here is at a segment level. Meaning, you would have an industry focus, a solution focus or you would also look at the particular vertical focus.
The Team involved here would be the SDR team, whose activities would be like Emails, calls, and social.
And the marketing team would be doing direct ads, events or paid to add.
Tier 3 1000 or more accounts.
The game plan over here is mainly at a solution level, and the team involved here would be major, Marketing because 80% of the efforts over here would going on inbound. So that you know these accounts create interest and come on to your website.
This is usually an ongoing process. Hence describing a timeframe would not be ideal in this case.
In this way, a tiering up your accounts would give you a framework and view as to how much effort is going in into the accounts you targeted.
6.3 What is Account Based Content Marketing?
Creating content for account based marketing is not that different. Instead of focusing on the industry your marketing team will create content focusing on only a few companies.
However, there is still room for content overlap. Which means content created for a company in Tier 1 can some time also be used for other companies, and vice versa.
Some idea for content:
- Free trial of your product.
- Brochure for an Upcoming Conference.
- Link to an article on your company’s website.
- A video details your new initiative on an industry trend.
- A screencast explaining your cloud tool’s in-demand feature.
- Invitation to an event where your VP is going to give a keynote on a mutual topic of interest.
Every team of your company has a role to play in providing content of an account, and not just the marketing. Sometimes, if you are a SaaS business, your developer team will have to create a specific feature to win over an account.
Depending on the natures of your and your target account’s business, the content will vastly vary. The end goal of creating content is to provide account-level satisfaction and create a comfortable space for your account to agree to do business with you.
6.4 What is Account Based Marketing Funnel?
To understand visually, instead of the regular sales and marketing funnel, as seen in Demand Generative Marketing, Account Based marketing introduces an inverted funnel (a pyramid).
- The top of the pyramid, the smaller section signifying the small set of accounts (companies, Brands and Organisations) your organisation wants to target.
- The mid-section is much wider since at this state your Sales and Marketing teams start prospecting the decision-maker of each of these accounts.
- The larger section, the Base of the pyramid is where your entire organisation start engaging with the account. All the activities at this stage are targeted to score an account.
7 How Do I Approach on LinkedIn
Approaching on LinkedIn in 2020 is probably one of the best ways to reach key people within an account. Most business professionals have a LinkedIn account and are actively using the platform.
Ever since LinkedIn decided to include content on their platform, social media activities on LinkedIn has seen tremendous growth. To get a quicker response on LinkedIn we need to think of LinkedIn, Every business should focus on creating content for LinkedIn. This content can be of written, Infographic, or Video and Slidedeck.
LinkedIn offers a powerful lead finder tool called Sales Navigator. Most Salespeople use Sales Navigator to reach out to prospecting clients and identifying decision-makers.
If you are low on budget, we highly recommend checking out this SlideShare demonstrating a hack which does the same work as Sales Navigator, but for free. Perfect for you if your Startup is just starting, or anyone low on budget!
8 Benefits of Account Based Marketing
In its pure terms, The benefit of ABM is Higher Return on Interest!
In a more broad sense, You are not placing your marketing assets out there and hoping for someone to see and come. You play the reverse game and create content specifically designed for a few specific accounts. Since you created the marketing content for a few select accounts, any response you get from them is a win for you.
In the long run, the activity of focusing your teams will give you a higher return.
Freedom to Choose an Account.
Another benefit of Account Based Marketing would be the freedom to choose an account. Your business is free to explore the entire market before selecting the account you want to score.
When a marketing team member creates a promo video, let’s say, and the account’s VP of Sales likes it and decides to go ahead with the meeting Sales team were requesting for, it boosts the morale and energies of the entire organisation.
9 What Kind of Companies can Implement Account Based Marketing?
Major technological achievements have made it easy for even a Small Sales and Marketing Teams to implement Account Based Marketing.
Account Based Marketing is effective only for B2B Companies with high-value Product/Services.
The answer varies widely depending on various factors like the industry you are in, your product, the customer profile and much more. If a company ticks these checkmarks, then you need to follow these 5 steps:
- Build an Account Based Marketing Strategy
- Identify Key Accounts
- Align your Teams
- Focus on Social
- Identify your Channels and Craft the Message
- Qualify and Manage Accounts
9.1 Build an Account Based Marketing Strategy.
To begin with, we need a strategy which creates a strong foundation to build your Account Based Marketing team. If you are a new startup, you probably are low on headcount. Your Team, however small, need Goals. Think of what you want to gain from Account based marketing. Leads, converting into Sales!
If you are a small startup or just getting started with your business, this SlideShare should be of your interest
9.2 Identify your Key Accounts.
It might be very hard for you to sit and identify accounts because you are a small team, but you could start with 5-10 key accounts, to begin with. Call this your Beta, and along the way add or remove accounts to fine-tune your process. As you get better, keep expanding.
9.3 Align your Teams
What do we mean by Aligning the teams? For instance, given an account, all the teams have to speak the same message, as designed by the marketing team. When an account requests to test your product/service, the development team will create a user testing account with dummy data to demonstrate the power of your product/service.
9.4 Focus on Social
This should be easy if you selected the accounts, based on the relevancy of their need and your offering. For Instance, Let’s assume you are offering a Blockchain-Based Data Encrypting Platform, and you are targeting to work with Data Security Companies with 100+ clients. If the account’s VPs and Upper managements are sharing on social media about the importance of Data security for IT companies, you can chip in and share your opinions concerning Data Encryption for IT companies.
In the end, Your goal is to socialise with the accounts, build a relationship and show that you are human.
9.5 Identify Your Channels and Craft your Message
Your content has to speak to the key accounts. This gets challenging if you have 100+ accounts identified. The interaction here is one-to-one, and if you create mediocre content with generic fluff, people can tell. If you don’t grab their attention you’ll annoy them.
However, You can repurpose your content by tweaking it a little bit and using it for other accounts in the same tier. But when it comes to the Tier 1 Key accounts, you need to be creative and be very specific.
9.6 Qualify and Manage Accounts
Determine how you’ll qualify and manage the account. Set the criteria for when a key account becomes a marketing qualified lead, and identify when an account becomes an enquiry and when you wanna handle to sales! As you progress you will learn the process of understanding the stage of an account.
To make things easier, we suggest you use an ABM platform like Intandemly. The tools on our platform are developed to make it very easy for new startups to start implementing Account Based Marketing.