Charts, frameworks, and other organized forms of visualizations are a great way to learn and better understand marketing. That’s why we’ve been working hard to create more of them -- like this B2B marketing sophistication framework and this ABM orchestration template.
ABM, as a marketing concept, is relatively new and complicated. There are tons of elements, from lists and demand channels to content and measurement. It can be hard to sort them all out in your head.
That’s why we built the Periodic Table of ABM Elements. It’s a way to visualize and organize each part of ABM that's fun and memorable. Using the individual elements, you can start to build your ABM campaigns and see exactly what each campaign requires.
Here it is:
ABM BUILDING BLOCKS
In the first column, we have the basic pieces of ABM. The atomic unit is the Contact, which is ABM’s version of a lead. All contacts belong to known accounts. Furthermore, for accounts to exist in your CRM, they must match your qualification criteria, meaning they are good fits for your product. Because all contacts must belong to these accounts, all contacts are therefore qualified, as well.
The last element in the first column is the Account Grade, the method by which you qualify accounts in your CRM. You should have a criteria for each of your grades that helps you determine how qualified your accounts are.
This is the basis for your ABM initiatives.
In the next two columns (2 and 3), we have the list building elements. When planning their ABM strategies, companies start by identifying their “universe” of potential customers. What industries, firm sizes, or other firmographic indicators make for a good fit for your product? With this criteria, you can start to identify as many accounts as possible. This is your universal account list.
Once you’ve begun your marketing and sales initiatives, you can start to create more targeted lists within the universal account list. Two common ABM lists are the engaged account list and the focus account list. The engaged account list is comprised of accounts that have shown some degree of interest by clicking on an ad or finding one of your articles through Social or Search, for example. The focus account list is made up of accounts with high account grades that you are willing to spend more resources in order to engage.
In the third column of the table, we have the methods and tools to build, define, and use account lists.
The next block of elements (gray) comprises the various demand channels you can use to reach your target accounts. As you will notice, these look similar to the marketing channels for a demand generation marketing strategy. What’s different is how you use these channels, which are discussed in the next two sections.
Column 7 (red) covers personalization. In addition to targeting, personalization is one of the most important ways in which ABM can be a more effective strategy than more traditional B2B marketing strategies. When content is personalized, it’s more relevant, helpful, and persuasive. While individual personalization is ideal, it’s not always possible or cost effective.
Some broader ways B2B marketers can personalize their ad messaging and copy, website materials, collateral, and other content is by account, persona, geography, and industry.
In the teal and light teal block, we have the types of content that can be used in ABM initiatives. The light teal elements comprise content for the pre-customer stages. These are things like blog articles, ebooks, and case studies. It’s important to have industries and personas in mind when creating these types of content. That way, they can be effectively targeted to the right contacts through the demand channels.
In the slightly darker teal block, we have content that is created for customers. This is intended to both create better customer advocacy and open opportunities for upgrades.
Next, we have the technology that allows marketers to implement, manage, and measure their ABM initiatives (orange). From left to right and top to bottom, the elements are ordered from the top of the funnel to the bottom of the funnel. Orchestration platforms help deliver content to the right accounts at the top of the funnel, marketing automation nurtures contacts and accounts through the middle of the funnel, and optimization platforms help improve the quality of content.
Now going vertically, starting with Attribution, the elements focus on ABM measurement technology. Attribution is the process of connecting marketing data to sales data in the CRM (element 47). In ABM, this is critical, as Marketing and Sales must be well aligned and work in tandem. Two key components of ABM attribution is multi-touch capabilities and lead-to-account mapping. Marketing to accounts naturally gives rise to two measurement challenges: multiple touchpoints and multiple people. Multi-touch attribution addresses the first challenge in that it can track and measure multiple touchpoints and distribute partial credit among them depending on the model. Lead-to-account mapping addresses the second challenge in that it maps touchpoints from multiple individuals to a single account, creating a single account journey.
This leads us to the last two columns, which cover the key metrics of ABM.
The last two columns (purple) contain the key metrics of ABM. Key metrics from demand generation marketing still exist. Opportunities and pipeline are still important metrics to measure. Many organizations that do ABM put a priority on impacting velocity.
And finally, in the last column we have the “noble” elements of ABM, if you will. ABM is about targeted engagement, and each of these engagements with contacts is called a touchpoint (element 2). Every touchpoint has a marketing channel or source and a landing page. Sometimes, they will also have a page in which a form was filled out, such as a content download, a request for more information, or a demo. These touchpoints form the data representation of the account’s buyer journey.
The makeup of each account’s touchpoints comprises account engagement. Are there a lot of touchpoints? Are they from one contact or many contacts? How frequent? How recent? These all describe account engagement.
As you can see, there are many dimensions of account engagement, which result in many metrics to keep track of. Through advanced data analysis and modeling, they can be distilled into a single predictive account engagement score (element 24) that summarizes an account’s total level of engagement and readiness to move down the funnel.
Last, the most important metric in ABM is still revenue (element 37). The ultimate goal of every organization is to generate revenue. When marketers are able to accurately measure revenue and their impact on it, they can focus and optimize their efforts for it.
Want more information on ABM? Check out the CMO’s Guide to ABM Orchestration -- a marketing leader’s perspective on how to run ABM initiatives.