What is Account-Based Marketing?

min read

Account-based marketing is not about appealing to a mass of leads. Instead, use targetted content to convert the big account that makes it all worth it.

account-based marketing

Why you should consider account-based marketing for your own business.

Account-based marketing is a lot like big-game hunting - instead of appealing to a mass of leads and potential customers, you use targetted content in targetted areas to capture your ever-elusive prey - the big account that makes it all worth it.

Not all customers are created equally. Each of your customers can be judged by their value to your company. The customers and accounts that offer big deals and long-term return-on-investment are the customers that are worth going the extra mile for. The same logic is used in sales and marketing with an account-based approach.

This blog will explain exactly what account-based sales (ABS) and account-based marketing (ABM) is, why you should use it and how you can adopt it.

What is Account-Based Marketing (ABM)?

To understand what account-based marketing is, you need to get an idea of what it isn’t. A regular approach to marketing is a lot like using a net to catch a certain fish. Sure, you’ll be able to net yourself a whole lot of fish, but you’ll have to go through them all to find the few you’re looking for. Account-based marketing takes a more specialised approach to the same problem.

“Account-based marketing (ABM) is a business-to-business (B2B) strategy that is used to focus sales and marketing resources on target accounts within a specific market.”

Account-based marketing entails using very specific bait and very specific lures to land the accounts you want while filtering out the less-valuable accounts. Instead of a net of a whole bunch of irrelevant leads, you only hook what you’re looking for.

The advantage is that it saves you a whole lot of time trying to weed out the leads that are likely to go nowhere or offer less value for your company. This enables you to focus your efforts on landing big deals and spend your time and resources efficiently.

Why would you use account-based marketing?

From the offset, it sounds like account-based marketing is an exclusive approach to marketing. After all, it seems to be about saying “no” to a lot of potential opportunities in order to secure a single ‘yes’ from a single opportunity that matters. The truth is, account-based marketing isn’t for everyone and every business, but it does have a few benefits that should be considered.

Encourages marketing and sales cooperation

Over the years, marketing and sales teams have drifted from a collaborative relationship towards a competitive one. While marketing wants to point to lead generation and engagement, sales want to generate new accounts and revenue. If sales struggles, they tend to blame marketing’s quality of leads, while marketing points to the leads they create and declare they’re doing their part.

What account-based marketing does is align both teams towards the same goal. Both marketing and sales essentially play the same game with the same points - and the best part is, they’re now on the same team.

With account-based marketing, sales and marketing are focused on the same goal and the same, specific accounts. Success is not determined by two separate metrics, it’s determined by whether the accounts that are targeted become customers or not. This encourages both departments to share resources, information and content to promote consistency.

Enables a high level of personalisation and engagement

Because account-based marketing is hyper-focused on specific accounts, there’s less of a need to appeal to the market as a whole. This means that your communications can be tailored and personalised to address the specific challenges and preferences of individual accounts which means a higher likelihood of engagement.

In other words, account-based marketing increases your chances of success with the accounts you want to focus on and saves your resources, and attention for the big wins your business wants.

Ability to close more with less

Due to the focus on a smaller number of accounts, accounts-based marketing enables you to close more deals with fewer resources without hurting the bottom-line of your business.

Successful account-based marketing ensures that the accounts you target and close are fundamentally worthwhile for your business in the long-term. Accounts closed with this approach are all a business needs to keep running successfully.

Improves customer retention

Many customers may feel like they do not receive adequate attention or that the provider they deal with misunderstands them. This can lead to customers becoming dissatisfied with the service they receive and ultimately cease to continue their business.

The result of account-based marketing is often laser-focused on the specific needs and goals of your customers. You will be able to speak their language and on their terms, helping you understand them on a fundamental level. With account-based marketing, you have the resources, bandwidth and ability to provide the attention and service your customers want, increasing your retention rate.

How to implement account-based marketing in 6 steps

If you would like to begin using account-based marketing for your own business, we’ve prepared a few steps to help you get started.

Step 1 - Identify and select your ideal accounts

You can’t expect to win prized accounts if you don’t know what you’re looking for. The first step towards account-based marketing is to identify what those accounts look like for your specific business.

There are many factors that you could consider for these accounts, but the first and foremost question you have to answer is ‘what value would this account add to my company?’ Once you answer this question, you can begin to fill out other, more specific details about your ideal account.

Here are a few to get you started:

  • How much revenue must the account be worth?
  • How much competition is there for the account?
  • What location is relevant to the account?
  • Can you upsell the account?
  • How long does the account need to be nurtured?
  • What industry does the account concern itself with?

Now, once you have the answers to these questions, research different companies who match the qualities you’re looking for. These will be the accounts you want to target for your account-based marketing.

Step 2 - Research stakeholders

One of the most important aspects to remember when executing account-based marketing is that you’re not targeting their segment, market or industry, you’re targeting a specific organisation made up of individuals with specific objectives. The companies you have identified above consist of stakeholders that should be the real target of your marketing content.

As an account-based marketer, you need to find out about these people and what makes them tick. Begin by creating personas for these people. The company website is a good place to start, but if you really want to get intimate with your target, LinkedIn is a great resource.

Here are a few of the questions you want to establish when thinking of the people involved in the account you want to target:

  • How is this person involved in the decision-making process?
  • What are their pain points and challenges?
  • What are their objectives?
  • Who do they report to?
  • What do they need to know before making a purchase?
  • What metrics do they deal with on a daily basis?
  • What tools and systems do they have access to?
  • Where do they go for information?
  • Who are their competitors?

Step 3 - Assemble your team

Once you know who your content should be targeted, you need to know who will create and deliver that content. For each of the companies identified above, you must assign at least one marketer and one sales representative to that account. These team members will be dedicated exclusively to that account - no exceptions.

These team members will create and publish content for accounts as well as work to manage and close business deals with each account’s stakeholders. It’s important to note that your team should focus their efforts on the answers to the questions above to generate personalised, authentic engagement.

Step 4 - Create your content

When creating content for account-based marketing, you want to go as personalised and as targetted as possible for stakeholders. The content itself should address specific challenges, concerns, objectives and opportunities for the stakeholders of the account you are targeting.

We recommend that your content have multiple touch-points, encourage two-way communication and generate the kind of engagement that feels very unique for the stakeholders you want to appeal to.

It’s essential that your team thinks about the stages each of the targeted stakeholders needs to pass through in their own buyer’s journey and the amount of information that should be presented at a time. Nurturing programs for these accounts can be long and have a slow progression, but it should be noted that these big accounts are worth it in the end.

Step 5 - Publish your content, contact your leads

Now that you have your content, it’s time to publish it in the most likely place to find your stakeholders. This could be LinkedIn, Facebook, Google or any other channel you have identified that the person may use. The key is to gain that person’s interest and contact details so that you can further nurture them towards a sale.

The nurturing process itself is one of the most significant aspects of account-based marketing. Forging a strong relationship with the stakeholders of your target account should be the highest priority for your marketing and sales team. This is likely something your team will work on for extended periods of time.

Here are a few ways to build the trust of stakeholders:

  • Provide education based on their interests and objectives
  • Personalise content
  • Always look for opportunities to communicate one-on-one
  • Address their concerns and enquiries quickly and efficiently
  • Ensure that there is always a personal contact for the stakeholder to use

Step 6 - Analyse the results, tweak the approach.

With so much effort being put into a small number of accounts, you cannot afford to miss out on the opportunities for those accounts. This is why you must monitor and analyse the results of your account-based marketing efforts.

By regularly reviewing your results, you can identify any weaknesses your approach may have and tweak it accordingly. This will boost the performance of your account-based marketing and provide more insight into how your targetted accounts operate.

Here are a few metrics you can consider when evaluating your account-based marketing:

  • Sales cycle time / Buyer’s journey lifetime
  • Account engagement
  • Close rate
  • Account feedback timelines
  • Challenge resolution time
  • Net-new revenue

A complete approach to achievement

Account-based marketing is just one of the many approaches you can employ for your own business needs. By incorporating inbound, outbound and other forms of marketing, you can present a holistic approach to your digital marketing. Supporting these initiatives with engaging content, smart workflows, and dependable automation is vital to getting the leads you want and the success you need.

Demodia can offer this support from strategy creation down to implementation and reporting. With over a decade of digital marketing experience, Demodia is the marketing partner you need to achieve success online and for your bottom-line.
If you would like to discover the potential of your business to reach leads, make sales and ensure success, contact Demodia today for a free consultation.