Account Based Marketing is intrinsically strategic. ABM is a B2B marketing strategy that focuses on working with target accounts to market in a measured and structured way. If you’re entirely new to ABM check out our introduction guide to account-based marketing, then circle back to learn how to apply it.
In this post, we will explore how strategic thinking is applied to accounts organization and communication, and we’ll detail common ABM strategies for you to apply to your accounts, to grow your business.
ABM accounts organization
With account-based marketing, your first strategic move is to ensure your target accounts are organized in a way that will govern when, how and how often you market to them. This should align with your top-level business goals and values. For example, if revenue growth is your north star metric, it may suit your organization and marketing strategy to organize your accounts into ‘Platinum’, ‘Gold’ and ‘Silver’ tiers according to spend and spend potential. Alternatively, if your business goal is to grow the profile by signing the ten biggest Fortune 500 clients in your sector you may organize your accounts by their business size with the ten biggest being your ‘star’ accounts. The nomenclature is up to you!.
ABM record keeping
Whatever your size of organization, if you want to approach ABM strategically you will need a way to keep good records of your accounts and their organization) be it tiers or starred accounts). If you’re a small business about to embark on ABM as part of your marketing strategy you will still need to consider safe record keeping, how much data you need to market effectively and how it may scale if successful. It may make sense to consider third-party software, ready-made to help you manage your accounts. Ask yourself these five questions to assess if you are ready for an ABM solution. Aside from understanding and recording your accounts and their structure, the most critical considerations are integration with your marketing goals, and how your system will track, measure and report results to the C-suite.
Strategic account management
Now that our accounts are organized strategically, according to the business priorities, we then need to think about how we manage each account from a marketing perspective. This means a strategy according to the account priority. It follows that we may require multiple strategies if we have multiple tiers. We want to think about variables such as:
Frequency. How often do we market to each tier?
Budget. Which campaigns do we apply to all, mid-tier and top-tier accounts and what budgets are assigned to each?
Logistics. Do top-tier campaigns include in-person events? Do geography and circumstance facilitate this for our top-tier accounts?
Resource. Do we have the people and skills required to create multi-tiered campaigns tailored to our accounts?
Dig deeper into this aspect of ABM strategy with our free 56-page guide which discusses each of these ABM strategy elements in more detail and shows how ABM platforms help marketers achieve these strategic objectives.
Now that your accounts are organized strategically and you have a plan around your resources and logistics it’s time to get to the meat of your ABM strategies, incorporating your marketing channels. Here are some things to think about in mobilizing these channels in your ABM strategy.
Email Marketing. Consider creating lists that reflect your account tiering system. This may then govern which campaigns each list gets, the messaging and frequency.
Tip: Consider the prestige of your communications with your top-tier accounts. Could they get a monthly “letter from the CEO”?
Events. Events are a great way to develop deeper relationships with your top-tier accounts. ‘People buy people’ as the saying goes.
Tip: Add value and demonstrate your business’ knowledge and authority in your space by hosting an exclusive annual directors’ dinner with guest industry-expert speakers
Direct mail and merchandising. Your ABM strategy is all about making top-tier accounts feel special. In an increasingly digital world, there is something to be said for spending a bit more budget and creating tactile, physical campaign assets that your customers may keep.
Tip: Stay away from run-of-the-mill pens and mugs which may just end up in the landfill. Think of really useful, more valuable items that will be loved and used, such as branded speakers or portable chargers.
Personalization. Personalization should be key to your ABM strategy and with the help of your ABM software, you can build up and record a detailed (metaphorical) picture of each of your customers.
Tip: Use personalized marketing to add value. Create content that solves problems personal to each customer or account sector.
Ultimately ABM strategies are about building human relationships, so remember to enjoy the process as you get to know and grow your best customers.
Dig deeper into ABM strategy with our free 56-page guide which discusses each of these ABM strategy elements in more detail and shows how ABM platforms can help marketers achieve these strategic objectives.
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