As account-based marketing continues to gain traction, more and more B2B marketers are looking to create the perfect campaign.
Although what constitutes “perfect” will be different for each company, there are general guidelines that one can follow to develop a reliable account-based marketing framework.
To start, ABM will never work without strong Sales and Marketing alignment. The teams need to work in unison to determine the target customers, how to market to them, how to follow up and what metrics determine a successful campaign.
In a recent webinar with Leadspace, Jon Miller, the co-founder of Marketo and Engagio, stated that Marketing talks about people while Sales talks about accounts. ABM is about bridging that gap and aligning Marketing and Sales under the same language and goals.
There’s a “Big 5” that Miller says are the core metrics of a workable ABM framework: coverage, awareness, reach, engagement, and impact.
Before the start of any ABM campaign there is extensive planning that needs to be done.
To make sure you are fully prepared, Sales and Marketing should meet to create a campaign that covers all the bases. From start to finish, how are you going to reach, follow up and sell these accounts? What metrics determine success?
Some important questions to ask when planning a campaign:
- What accounts are you going after, and do you have sufficient data to personalize outreach to each of those accounts?
- Which job titles or individuals are you targeting at each account?
- What marketing channels are you going to use?
- When and how will the Sales team follow up?
- Do you have the necessary tools in place to track and measure your efforts?
The foundation for awareness is understanding your prospects. Knowing exactly where each lies within the buying journey, defines how you will target the account. Do they know who you are? Or are you hiding in the weeds?
The goal here, is to have your company and product at the forefront of consideration. Make sure they are aware of your brand name and understand what your product does.
There are multiple ways to do this:
You know who these individuals are, their job titles and what company they work for. If you have an attribution solution in place, you know if, when and what, they’ve interacted with on your site. There is no excuse not to personalize outreach.
In an age where everything is done online, a way to really stand out and differentiate your company from others is to send something through the mail. Whatever you choose to send should be addressed to the CEO so it lands directly on their desk. This alone, almost guarantees brand awareness. If possible, make the contents of the package something relevant to your brand and that can be shared throughout the office to increase reach.
With the recent addition of its Audience Match tool, LinkedIn remains a strong platform to launch a B2B account-based marketing campaign. The tool allows for bulk upload of up to 30,000 accounts and layering of targeting options that include location, job title and seniority level. This means that companies can direct personalized ads to marketers with “manager” in their title, who live in Seattle and work for X,Y, or Z company.
Events are a powerful marketing channel for ABM, mainly because they allow you to meet prospects face to face. Reach out to target individuals you know will be in attendance to schedule a meeting or invite them to dinner. This allows you to have their undivided attention in a casual environment.
With each of these, there should be a set, detailed plan for follow up from the sales team.
Once you’ve planned out all the channels and tactics for your ABM campaign, it’s time to make sure you’re reaching the right individuals.
The only way to accurately do this is to have a set plan in place before you begin. Which stakeholders at which accounts do you need to reach to make the sale? Who is the researcher, the CTO, the CMO, the CEO? Marketing and Sales need to work together to outline each account and how you’re going to reach them.
Reaching thousands of individuals isn’t beneficial, if they aren’t the at the RIGHT accounts. ABM, even more than a majority of marketing, is about quality over quantity. Make sure your efforts are reaching the individuals you set out to target. What percentage of people who engage are from target accounts?
Having a dedicated attribution solution means you’re able to track all of your prospect touchpoints, ensuring you’re hitting the right accounts at the right time. If you’re not, adjust and move forward accordingly.
Similar to reach, is engagement. Once you’ve hit the right prospects, you have to measure their interaction with your brand. Are they spending any time with your content? Do they respond to emails from the sales team? Are they willing to meet you in person at an event to discuss product?
All of these are indicators that your ABM efforts are working.
Engagement should strive for depth and breadth. Not only is it necessary to reach multiple individuals at an account, but the depth of that engagement needs to continue to deepen.
For example, say you’re going after X account and multiple marketers at that account consistently open your emails and click links to the content included. That’s great engagement, but if you can’t get them to answer the phone when you call, or schedule a demo, then there’s work to be done. In this case, there’s breadth (reaching multiple individuals at the account), but no depth (they won’t engage past an email).
On the flip side, you may have an individual at X account who answers the phone, engages with content and may even schedule a demo, but they’re not the decision maker at the account. In this case, you have depth, but no breadth.
It’s necessary to engage with all key stakeholders at an account, that way when it comes time to make a purchase, each one of them knows your product, is engaged, informed, and has a positive opinion of your brand.
In B2B, deals are closed with accounts, not people; therefore, it’s important to make sure you’re measuring success the same way.
To accurately measure the impact of ABM efforts, leads must be mapped to accounts. If Jack from company X is engaging with content and Jill from company X is also engaging with content, we need to make sure that company X shows multiple engagements, instead of multiple companies showing a single engagement.
Company X = Jack + Jill, not Jack = Company X and Jill = Company X
So, after all the planning and work put into account-based marketing, what was the effect on results?
Since the sales cycle in B2B is long, especially with enterprise deals, metrics like deal velocity, close rates, and average deal size can help paint a picture of ABM success. Multi-touch attribution makes it possible to easily measure and track these metrics.
Use your company attribution data to keep an eye out for trends. What is the average number of engaged individuals per account? Does more engagement equal larger deal size, or faster deal velocity? Do direct mailers or event dinners push the prospect through to the next funnel stage?
There are many ways to approach account-based marketing, and although what works for each company will be different than the next, measuring coverage, awareness, reach, engagement, and impact with marketing attribution is a great place to start.