5 Ways to Nail Your B2B Strategy with ABM

How does one apply an ABM approach to a winning B2B strategy in 2021? As an ABM strategist, I work with a lot of clients to make sure their ABM programs are optimized for the best results. Let’s break it down into five key areas:

  1. Focus on your best opportunities
  2. Take a journey stage approach
  3. Personalize brand experiences on digital
  4. Lean in on Sales enablement
  5. Measure what matters

So let’s dig in.

1. Focus on your best opportunities.

When working with Demandbase customers, I often hear, “But we don’t want to leave any money on the table. We want to make sure we are covering all bases.”

But here’s the thing: ABM doesn’t focus on all opportunities; It’s a systematic approach to focusing on those most likely to turn into pipeline and revenue.

An ABM practice is all about reducing waste. While there may be many logos you’d love to score, the truth is, only a certain percentage of them are in-market for your products or services.

Don’t send your Marketing team or SDR team on wild goose chases. When designing your ad campaigns, use intent and engagement data to ferret out the accounts that are most likely to become pipeline opportunities and closed/won business. The leads you end up sending off to your SDR team will be more qualified and therefore boost productivity. It’s what everyone wants.

2. Take a journey-stage approach.

The most common misstep I come across when working with ABM teams is that they advertise to an audience that is barely aware of their brand and send them to a form fill. I say digital marketing is like dating. You can’t ask someone to marry you on the first date, or they’ll run for the hills. And that’s precisely what a form fill requirement is like.

The visitor knows if they complete that form, they’ll be married to your email nurture program forever. Consider whether the audience you’re advertising to is ready for that step. Instead, you may want to send them candy and flowers—in other words, the content they find useful and delightful that doesn’t require their long-term commitment. Engage them with thought leadership, tips and tricks, and best practices without the obligation of completing a form (i.e., ungated content).

Remember that effective marketing requires lead nurturing to build trusting and genuine relationships with prospects over time. Only once your data shows they are aware and engaged does it make good sense to ask them to complete a form and enter into a commitment.

3. Personalize brand experiences on digital.

Not only do your B2B prospects want personalization (according to ITSMA, 60 percent of buyers believe personalization affects their decision-making), it makes great business sense for the bottom line. McKinsey and Company assert that personalization can reduce acquisition costs by up to 50 percent and increase Marketing efficiency by 30 percent. In today’s digital age, personalized industry call-outs in digital ads and on key web pages are a great way to start—and relatively easy to do with the right technology.

4. Lean in on Sales enablement.

Check out this chart outlining key activities of ABM teams, according to SiriusDecisions. See the most common activity?

Table of key activities of ABM teams. According to SiriusDecisions, 74 % say they work with Sales to define account goals and plans.

A full 74 percent of ABM teams say their chief ABM activity is working with Sales to define account goals and plans. That’s music to our ears at Demandbase.

We know that the Marketing teams of our most successful customers work in lockstep with Sales, sharing account and intent data with SDRs and Sales reps so they can prioritize and personalize their outreach, rack up more meaningful conversations, drive pipeline, and increase revenue.

5. Measure what matters.

And it’s not leads. The hard truth is, just over 2 percent of folks complete form fills today according to Adobe. And that percentage plummets if they aren’t coming from accounts that are already aware and engaged with your brand. Savvy ABM practitioners count, but don’t count on, leads.

Sure, track popular indicators like leads, but focus on moving the needle on the lower funnel metrics that spell out business success—things like pipeline opportunities, sales revenue, close rates, average deal size, and deal velocity.

Remember that ABM is not just a Marketing strategy; It’s a go-to-market strategy.

And, therefore, a big part of your overall business strategy. That means thinking in terms of what will move the needle on the business—opportunity and revenue generation—not hauling in a net full of leads that end up going nowhere.

When you’re focused on delivering relevant content and messages to the right accounts and enabling your Sales team with meaningful marketing insights, you’ll see real business results. In the end, that’s what ABM is all about.

Senior ABM Strategist, Demandbase

I partner with customers to optimize their operational capabilities, including formulating Account-Based Marketing plans and strategies and guiding them to fully leverage Demandbase capabilities. And I help them set overall marketing objectives and KPIs, measure performance, and quantify success. When I’m not carrying out tailored workshops, guided discussions, and other engagements with stakeholders at all levels of the customer organization, I’m coordinating with Demandbase Marketing, Product, Customer Success, and Sales management teams to deliver strategic services and support at key points in the customer journey.