Better B2B Marketing 48 - Getting results from Account Based Marketing
Getting the best from Account Based Marketing

The direct and tailored approach has long been the holy grail of business-to-business (B2B) sales. If you want to win a specific new customer, then directly wooing them can pay dividends!

Within B2B marketing, Account Based Marketing – or ABM – has become a key tactic which makes the salesperson’s job easier.

Whilst they are having face-to-face chats and making introductions at events and networking, Account Based Marketing can provide the drip, drip, drip of personalised and effective marketing.

So, what is Account Based Marketing and how can you apply it to your business to win new clients and contracts?


What is Account Based Marketing?

As an integrated and focused approach to marketing, Account Based Marketing can provide significant results for businesses who sell to other companies or organisations (B2B) and can clearly identify their target customers.

As the name suggests, Account Based Marketing involves tailoring your marketing approach for a single client, account or prospect.

It requires close alignment between sales and marketing teams to ensure every marketing material, communication or touch-point is highly personalised and uses specific messaging to target individual clients and ease them along the sales journey.


Why use Account Based Marketing?

Account Based Marketing is more intense and requires greater resources than general or broader marketing.

As such, it makes most sense when there is a lot to be gained from winning a specific new client – or selling more to an existing client.

Account Based Marketing focuses activities on those current or potential relationships which represent the greatest likelihood of conversion and the highest potential value.

A highly targeted approach can help break through the noise of more generic or competing marketing, by putting highly targeted and personalised marketing in front of decision-makers.

When there is much to be gain by winning or growing a specific client, Account Based Marketing can be very worthwhile and effective.


How does Account Based Marketing work?

At its heart, Account Based Marketing helps ensure marketing and sales teams share the same aim and develop a successful joint strategy.

When marketing and sales share the same objectives, they can collaborate on what is most effective to win the client and increase their chances of success.

Account Based Marketing is a wholistic approach which takes into account the client’s likely journey down the sales pipeline.

Whilst the ultimate aim is to land new clients – or do more business with an existing one – it’s best to first identify the smaller goals that will progress them towards this goal. For example, receiving a positive response to a piece of marketing, arranging a meeting, providing a quote or discussing T&Cs.

Focusing on each of these steps together will make both sales and marketing teams more likely to succeed in securing a sale.


Which clients should Account Based Marketing target?

An important element of Account Based Marketing is analysing your existing customer base and identify your ideal customer.

They are typically those who are most profitable, loyal and easy to work with – and often those businesses which get the most benefit from what you provide and keep returning for more.

However, your ideal customer can also be aspirational and a type of client (in terms of size, location or characteristics) which you have not yet engaged with.

Once you’ve specified your ideal account, you can identify your existing clients who could be developed to join them. You can also look outside your current customer base at the companies and organisation you’d like to land.

These are potentially the best candidates for Account Based Marketing.

Ensure the companies you identify have a current or likely need for what you deliver and be realistic about your chances of success. It is best (in the first instance) to select the lower hanging fruit, rather than focus your resource on trying to gain a potentially unobtainable customer.

Decisions in business are typically taken by a group of people. Therefore, your Account Based Marketing needs to target various people with influence and attempt to create a shared desire to select what you sell.


How can Account Based Marketing influence your marketing messaging?

Account Based Marketing relies on creating tailoring messages for the organisations and individuals you are targeting.

Whilst multiple recipients within a business may respond positively to the same messages, they may also have differing needs. For example, whilst operational staff may be most interested in the features of your product or service, the senior management may be more concerned by the cost benefits.

Success from Account based Marketing is greatest when it is aligned to where the recipient is in the buying process. If they are in the early information-gathering stages, a hard-sell message may be inappropriate.

You can align messages and content with the interests, needs, influences and the challenges they may be experiencing. A unique value proposition can be created through relevant content aimed at each stakeholder.

To demonstrate your organisations expertise, you can use real world examples and show your company is a diligent partner or supplier.

If your messages and marketing are persuasive, recipients may even share them with other stakeholders in the buying-decision.


Which marketing methods should Account Based Marketing use?

The Account Based Marketing-mix is best when it utilises the marketing methods and channels most likely to successfully deliver your message to each target client.

You can begin the process by identify the channels which the recipient is perhaps most likely to prefer themselves when searching, researching and selecting new products or services.

Account Based Marketing typically includes email marketing, direct mail (e.g. mailers), social media (including direct messaging and advertising), digital advertising (targeted at individuals or specific audiences), printed materials (like bespoke brochures) and invitation-only events.

However, the most effective marketing channels may even vary amongst decision makers and influencers in a single target organisation, so it’s best not to assume one-size-fits-all.

Before commencing an Account Based Marketing campaign, it’s important for sales and marketing to plan out the activities and timings so both teams can play their part at the ideal time. Regular progress meetings can help ensure everyone is on schedule and discuss results.


What makes Account Based Marketing so effective for B2B?

Many businesses already utilise elements of Account Based Marketing without being aware. For example, they send personalised emails to organisations or personally invite individuals to corporate events or hospitality.

Most businesses can also identify those clients which they could sell more too – or those companies or organisations they’d love to count as a customer.

Account Based Marketing simply focuses marketing efforts and ensures both marketing and sales work together to progress accounts along the buying process.

Marketing success is often dependant on timing, especially when selling B2B products or services. The need to buy can often take time, so an email or brochure landing on a decision-makers desk can have instant results.

Whilst it is resource intensive, if delivered successfully, Account Based Marketing can have dramatic results in growing customer-value and landing bigger and better clients.


Get the best from Account Based Marketing

Account Based Marketing can deliver superb results for B2B, especially when sales and marketing teams work closely together.

Often thought of as a tactic for big businesses – with big budgets and big customers – it can also be very effectively for medium and smaller companies too.

As East Anglia’s leading B2B marketing agency, we help our clients use the principles, tactics and lessons of Account based Marketing to target and win the customers they need.

If you’d like help implementing and benefiting from ABM, get in touch here