The growth of Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is undeniable; legions of B2B marketing and sales teams are getting on board. But one universal question abounds for ABM marketers everywhere: “How do you go beyond all the hype and actually execute ABM campaigns?”
Getting your ABM band together doesn’t have to be hard. But, like most success stories, it doesn’t happen overnight. Here’s your backstage pass to the Account-Based Marketing tactics that’ll deliver results for your organization and make you an ABM rock star.
ABM Tactic 1: Build an ABM Leadership Team
The very first step toward rock-star ABM status is pulling together the right team. Getting leadership in place to set ABM goals, track progress, and measure results is absolutely crucial.
First, find an “Executive Sponsor” who believes in your vision. She will provide credibility to your project, make introductions, and open doors which might otherwise be closed. Next, get leaders for sales, marketing, and operations. Here’s why:
With the right people in place to lead these groups and collaborate, you ensure a cohesive ABM program with an eye on metrics, deliverables, and buy-in across the organization.
Rock Star Move: Establish a Funnel Working Group
ABM rock stars often create a cross-functional funnel working group. Meeting regularly, this team focuses on funnel metrics and includes key functions from marketing, sales, and operations. Review where you are with opportunities and pipeline across your businesses and key segments. Discuss what’s working, what’s not when it comes to your ABM strategies. Be sure to assess your marketing campaigns and lead generation programs—including content marketing and social media efforts. Identify key pain points. Work to determine next steps. These meetings can be uncomfortable, especially when expectations aren’t being met, but having a forum for honest discussion using a common framework helps maintain sales and marketing alignment and lets you create solid plans of action.
ABM Tactic 2: Reach Your Audience
After getting leadership in place, the next step is to build your target account lists. These may contain prospects, customers, partners. The goal, of course, is to make them diehard fans.
How do you build this list? Many companies start with lists that match a specific company profile or they might use look-alike modeling to match the current customer set. But these methods are limited by either human processing or available data. Artificial intelligence (AI) is playing an increasingly larger role with account selection by allowing companies to analyze more data sources including signals from across the business web which determine the level of intent accounts are showing for what you offer and the level of engagement accounts have with you.
Rock Star Move: Leverage Real-Time Intent Data
What if you could create a target account list of individual accounts who meet your company profile and are right now showing intent for what you sell? What if you could see which keywords they’re researching? And what if you could determine which customers, which specific accounts, are at risk because they’re researching competitors? Using Real-Time Intent data, you can. ABM rock stars use this tactic to create or supplement their target account lists for their outbound and inbound marketing efforts. They benefit from sales velocity and close rates that are significantly higher than target segments from their more traditionally selected lists.
ABM Tactic 3: Make it Memorable
Every great rock star has at least one song which sticks in your head. Look at your sales and marketing efforts as an opportunity to surround your targets with a message about your product or service that they just can’t shake—and then move them to act.
For example, while direct mail has been a commonly applied Account-Based Marketing tactic, it’s even more effective when combined with other ABM tactics:
The more times your targets are exposed to your message, the more likely they are to remember you and engage.
Rock Star Move: Invest in Sub-segments
Sub-segment your campaign audiences to create specific tactics for each. You most likely have an integrated sales and marketing campaign for your broad audience. But there’s a real pay-off when you can invest more for those high-value accounts, such as sending more expensive direct mail packages, providing better promotional offers or complementing existing efforts with P2P outreach.
ABM Tactic 4: Choose Your Gigs Carefully
Rock stars really only want to play the concerts that help them connect with current and new fans and gain bigtime exposure. With ABM, you have to pick the right shows, too. Successful ABM events can run the gamut from sponsored events to tradeshows. Too often, organizations have so many “must-do” or “must-attend” events that bog down both sales and marketing with preparation, attendance and follow-up. Worst of all, many events are a bust in terms of ROI.
Enter your ABM event strategy. This will help you focus your energy and budget on only those which reach the right accounts. How do you do it?
Rock Star Move: Make It Extra Special
Delight the target accounts onsite. Ask them to an exclusive party, have a gift basket waiting for them in their hotel room, schedule time with your consulting team, or offer a meeting with an executive. Be sure to keep the conversation going with your target accounts after the event with personalized outreach and pass along any intel to relevant stakeholders or members of your sales team.
Claiming your spot in the Hall of Fame
In the end, a successful rock band is a true partnership of both business and creativity. For ABM, the same is true between sales and marketing. Account-Based Marketing tactics may look familiar to traditional marketing plays, but it’s an entirely new approach and mindset.
ABM in action
Check out our customer case studies–and see how Demandbase is delivering impressive real-world results for some of the heaviest-hitting brands.
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