What’s your biggest struggle as a B2B company? Do you have trouble attracting leads or pleasing clients? It’s possible you’ve been going about marketing all wrong. Trying new strategies can help you target the right funnel segments to see the results you crave. Try account-based marketing (ABM) for B2B organizations. It’s all about making clients feel you’ve spent the time to get to know them individually. In this article, we discuss topics like:
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ABM strategy aligns sales and marketing to focus on company, account, and lead growth. With it, you can deliver targeted advertising to your most high-value clients. ABM flips the traditional sales funnel. It starts by focusing on a small group of leads that are most likely to convert or be your best prospects. In the traditional funnel you first target the widest group of leads possible. Then you narrow in on your most likely prospects through lead nurturing and expertly placed content.
For example, let’s say your company sells keyword research software. In a traditional funnel, you may first target anyone who needs a keyword tool. Then you’d pare those down by interested companies, or ones who need specific features. But that process takes a lot of time. By flipping the funnel in ABM, you target those best candidates first. You may personalize content for those who need specific research features. Or you may nurture leads in a particular industry. This saves you time, money, and frustration.
There are three common types of ABM strategies. B2B companies use them to attract high-quality leads. They include:
In 1-to-1 ABM, marketers work with account managers to develop highly personalized content and programs for each of their target accounts. These strategies include setting meetings and picking tools and resources that resonate with each account. Anything that deepens the relationship between the company and the lead account can fall within a strategic ABM plan.
Contextual intelligence company GumGum is a master at this. Its marketers like to single out big brand names, like McDonald’s, and hook them as clients. The company had a clever meeting proposal. It sent paper Big Macs to McDonald’s executives. When unwrapped, each ingredient listed a selling point for why McDonald’s should partner with GumGum. Spoiler alert: The company secured a meeting.
In a 1-to-few ABM, marketers create cluster content for accounts with similar goals. They may also do this for accounts in related verticals. If you think ABM is just for companies with large marketing teams, think again. This strategy works well for B2B organizations with mid-sized marketing teams. Campaigns include email marketing initiatives or attending conferences that cater to specific industries.
How can you make this strategy work for you? Segment your qualified leads into topic clusters. This may be by company size, industry, or another factor. Then segment your team. Who’s going to work on personalizing marketing for each cluster? The type of content you use may vary for each one. It’s important to know your team’s strengths to pair the right skills with the right clusters.
In 1-to-Many ABM strategies, the focus is still on accounts. But you secure them by targeting individual people associated with those accounts. Don’t try to appeal to the decision-making collective. Reach out to the key players individually with messaging personalized for each one. This can include content like digital advertising and email or web content. Retargeting is also a helpful programmatic ABM tool.
How does this work in the real world? Ask podcast company Sweet Fish. Instead of sending out cold sales emails to companies, it invited team members to be on a podcast. By working with individual decision-makers one-on-one, Sweet Fish charmed new clients and grew its business.
Use these tips to help put in place an ABM strategy for your B2B company:
Marketing and sales have to be in alignment for an ABM strategy to work. What would happen if they didn’t even talk to each other? Think about what would happen on Black Friday at Walmart if the store employees didn’t know about it. Marketing advertised big promotions for a month, but sales had no clue. Thousands of people showed up and total chaos exploded. And in reverse, what would happen if sales decided to slash prices by 50% but didn’t tell marketing. Nobody showed up. Not chaos, but crickets.
When the teams blend well, they share resources, knowledge, and strategy. This gives leads a better, more unified experience with your company. Get all your internal stakeholders on the same page about every account. This means discussing areas like:
Use an account planning template to personalize a marketing strategy for every lead. These documents provide an outline for teams to discuss steps of planning ABM for a specific account. Common template sections may include:
To gather data to include in your ABM plan, request your content marketing analysis report from CopyPress today. See how your content stacks up against three of your biggest competitors. The report also shows gaps in your strategy where you can better target the needs of your most desired leads. Then, contact CopyPress to start a partnership. With a free call, learn how working with us can elevate your content marketing strategy for every prospective account.
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Take members from your sales and marketing team to build an ABM-focused team. Not every team member in either department may have the skills to focus solely on ABM strategies. But for those with interest in this type of collaborative project, you can form a small team or task force. This group helps keep the full sales and marketing teams informed about your ABM efforts.
You may also consider creating smaller ABM teams for each account. Within those groups, assign a sales and marketing rep to each account. This increases customer satisfaction and personalization efforts. Adding copywriters and editors to individual account teams helps, too. They learn each client’s brand voice, and create personalized content for each one. Customer satisfaction representatives help nurture the leads into paying customers with personal relationships.
Saying that you target “high-quality accounts” is a useless phrase if you don’t set a plan for how to find them. Use your resources and technology to choose the right accounts to target with your ABM plan. Some methods include:
ABM doesn’t stop once you’ve made a conversion with a new client company. You want your high-quality accounts to stay with your company for as long as possible. The way to make sure this happens is by nurturing not just your leads, but also your current clients. Some ways to create these long-standing relationships from your very first communication include:
Collect data from your ABM strategies to influence future campaigns. These results tell you which areas of your strategy work. They also show where you have gaps so you can tweak and refine tactics to perform better. Some metrics that can give you information about the success of your ABM efforts include:
Below are answers to some FAQs about B2B companies engaging with ABM:
We’ll say it again: ABM works best when you align the marketing and sales teams. It sounds simple, but it can be less clear in practice. One of the easiest ways to get both teams in alignment is to get them to work together on the account plans. Some questions a meeting lead can pose to talk about both sides’ expectations for every account include:
B2B companies can use multiple factors to choose which accounts are their best targets. The primary strategy is choosing accounts that fit the company’s ideal customer profile (ICP). Organizations often use machine learning and other analytics to find this criterion. It looks at factors like client company size, budget, geography, and the industry.
Use ABM and inbound marketing together to make your account-targeting efforts more precise. ABM lets you figure out which potential clients to target and how to do it effectively. Inbound marketing makes it easier to execute that strategy. Inbound marketing also allows your team to attract high-quality clients to your products or services on their own. You do this naturally by creating valuable content, developing a great customer experience, and using SEO.
Inbound marketing allows you to provide more organic methods of sharing information with leads. This contrasts with outbound, which uses direct contact and interrupts their workday. Other beneficial ways ABM and inbound marketing work together include:
The best ways to attract high-quality accounts differ by industry and individual account. That’s one of the key principles of ABM. There’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to it. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a list of things you can try on each account and see which ones work. Consider adding some of the following based on client or lead needs:
Companies make software programs that help with your ABM strategy functions. Some topic questions to ask to determine if getting an ABM program is worth the time and investment include:
ABM for B2B companies makes clients feel they get all the individualized attention of a single customer. This helps increase brand loyalty and encourages good relationships among large stakeholder groups. When you’re ready to create content for your ABM strategies, turn to CopyPress. We work with agencies and their clients in multiple industries to provide tailored, results-based content, every time.
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