Account-Based Marketing: How B2B Brands can acquire more clients
The knowledge of growth will be almost inconsequential without understanding the growth channels and how you use them. I mean, channels like Facebook Ads, Search Engine Optimization, Email Marketing, Account-based Marketing, etc. can help you drive growth significantly only if you know how to use them.
I spent this week understanding the different channels in the channel-specific growth track of my Growth Marketing Minidegree with CXL Institute.
The channel-specific growth track is so detailed I doubt that I’ll be able to do justice to a full review here. I’ll herald this review on Account-Based Marketing and some Content Marketing.
For the most part, I believe the use cases for the great content delivered in the Minidegree are focused on eCommerce, SaaS, and not much emphasis was placed on how businesses can acquire more enterprise-level clients.
I loved that the ABM particularly x-rayed this concept. Some other key things I picked up will also be valuable for the work that I do as a growth professional at a B2B brand.
But, What is Account-based Marketing (ABM)?
ABM is a business marketing strategy that involves the sustained, coordinated, strategic approach to identifying, engaging, closing, and growing the clients/deals/accounts that we know we should win.
ABM seems to be coming back to the front burner for B2B businesses as it possesses the potential to facilitate acquisition and business growth.
What are some Account-based marketing tactics for Businesses?
Account selection — Knowing how to select the right account — is central to determining if a marketing campaign will end up being a success or a waste of time and money.
Selecting the right accounts and making sure that you have the full buy-in of all stakeholders on the decision is slightly more complicated than it sounds. This process requires great data presentation and articulation.
After selection, the next step is to define tiers and clusters. And this is a strategic step. What we’ll do subsequent to this is to identify the right contacts in each account.
Now, data comes into play. Because, just like I’ve detailed in previous reviews, developing an ideal customer profile requires insights from qualitative and quantitative research processes.
When determining what channels to use for targeting your already identified accounts, do not limit yourself to digital-only. See if some traditional here and there fits.
A good approach, here, is to plan the plays and the channel cadence in a way that moves an account through a methodological process from an initial state to a new one.
Yay! Now you’ve got your account list, and your tier and cluster strategy. Next, you need to determine who, exactly, you need to engage and what approach and messaging strategies will resonate with them.
Here are an example;
In the early hours of this course, Steve Watt introduced us to a story about a little red Ferrari. After identifying the right contacts in each account, a box with a small gift was sent with a $30 miniature red Ferrari. This hit the ego of the right contacts and with additional touches, via digital, many demos started to be scheduled.
Key takeaway: The experience must be hitch-free, multi-channel, multi-touch, and highly targeted.
The pilot — How do you start with Account-Based Marketing?
There is no gainsaying that marketers are typically more data-driven when compared with sales professionals.
Data is the ultimate weapon. When you state facts backed by data, everyone listens — stakeholders, sales guys, etc.
B2B Account-Based Marketing has a cross-functional alignment between sales and marketing.
As all great stories go, the best way to get started with ABM is to have a solid pilot program. For this you need to:
- Get some leadership buy-in for B2B ABM.
- Involve as co-owners of the program sales, customer success, and other vital stakeholders.
- Go for the right size pilot: big enough to show relevant results but small enough to be manageable.
Not all pilots are created equal, hence once it is in the market there is still a lot of work to do. No matter how good your selection is, it will still be less efficient and less effective compared to what it has the potential to become.
The one thing that probably every stakeholder will want to know is the key results from the aftermath of this process. So in terms of testing, measuring, and communicating the work is never 100 percent complete.
Are Personas Obsolete in Account-based Marketing?
There are three different types of marketing — one to one, one to few and one to many. These are quite self-explanatory.
Personas are needful in ABM but they have to be smarter. Especially for one to many programmatic ABM. One to one strategic ABM doesn’t require personas as they require a more individualized approach. One to few is a bit on the fence on this one.
Some cool helpful tools
Predictive Tools: 6Sense, Leadspace, Everstring, Mintigo, Infer, Radius, Lattice.
Intent Tools: Bambora, Madison Logic, TechTarget, TrustRadius, G2 Crowd
Website Personalization Tools: DemandBase, Jabmo, Optimizely, Triblio
Enhanced Content Delivery Tools: Pathfactory, Uberflip
Dimensional Mailer Tools: PFL, Sendoso
IP Target Ads Tools: Demandbase, MRP, Terminus
Personalized Video Tools: Idomoo, Sundaysky, Vidyard
Measurement Tools: Bizible, Bright Funnel, Engagio, Full Circle Insights
Remember, You can’t buy ABM, you have to build and scale it
But how? We’ve discussed aspects of building earlier. To optimize the building process like a growth marketer, however, you need to bake testing into every stage — test the value prop, CTAs, channels and cadences, messaging etc. This will ensure maximum learning.
To scale, you may need to:
- Train your existing employees or team members to tackle new challenges
- Think broadly about ABM hiring
- Harness the experience of an agency
Here are some other key takeaways you should keep in mind:
- Maintain focus and momentum once your pilot is in-market.
- Consistency is key! Build a predictable, repeatable results-driven machine.
- Ensure effective ongoing communication to lay the foundations for scaling ABM post-pilot.
- Master the strategies, tactics, metrics, and wisdom you need to become an ABM leader and accelerate the growth of your company and of your career.
- Evaluate the three types of ABM and determine which one(s) are best for your company (One-to-One, One-to-Few, One-to-Many).
- Gain enthusiastic executive and cross-functional alignment and co-ownership. Marketers who try to do it alone, more often than not, fail.
- Develop an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), tier strategy, cluster strategy, and contact identification plan that goes well beyond basic demographics and firmographics.
- Understand the ABM technology landscape, what tools may be right for your particular challenges, and when to introduce them. Don’t fall into the trap of buying new technology too soon.