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B2B Account Based Marketing 101

For businesses looking to leverage B2B account based marketing (ABM), there are often challenges, from assembling the right people to limited resources and knowledge about ABM. Read on for a crash course in B2B account based marketing 101.

What is B2B account based marketing and how can it work for you?

Account based marketing is a tactical strategy that can help B2B companies improve sales, generate better leads and achieve long-term business growth. There are a variety of factors that B2B organizations must consider before deploying an ABM campaign and understanding the nuances and requirements of this approach helps to ensure its success.

ABM is used by marketers to target an account or customer persona to gain the best leads and sales. Often targeting criteria includes a variety of information such as prospect job title, industry, employer, organization size, professional interests, trends and more to build out a customer profile.

Marketing works to reach these prospects via a variety of digital, inbound, content and in-person methods, all of which are crafted specifically to engage with that ideal prospect. ABM is focused on sales and lead quality rather than quantity, ultimately using that “quality lead” to grow sales within a target organization.

Why is ABM important to B2B companies?

As the marketing landscape continually evolves, and the necessity to reach customers with digital tactics increases, account-based approaches can be critically important to a company’s success. In the initial planning stage, an ABM approach helps to align all stakeholders in an organization – providing understanding of just what types of targets a company should be pursuing and helping everyone focus resources on those targets. As a campaign is in development, it helps a company identify how well it is truly serving that target customer – what level of expertise does it have, what tools does it need to develop or improve, and what processes should be created to help improve the sales and order experience.

Beyond planning, account based marketing can help focus critical dollars on the leads and sales that help a company grow. As human and financial resources become more focused on the best leads, the quality of each sale improves, and ultimately the business is able to achieve greater results with the same amount of effort.

How is ABM different from other marketing approaches?

Unlike some marketing tactics which focus solely on promoting the benefits of a company’s products and/or services, an account based approach creates marketing materials that work to connect with target profiles, positioning a brand as a valuable, leading resource, and building a brand image within a key market segment. Beyond standard materials like brochures and sell sheets, AMB materials can include thought-leadership pieces, technical content and tools that helps those target prospects in their everyday lives by addressing concerns that are top-of-mind. Additionally, ABM helps to make sales connections “laterally” within a company, allowing a brand to grow within a customer group as it becomes known for having the information, tools and capabilities that the specific account is most concerned about.

How does ABM strategy work with B2B digital marketing?

Digital tactics offer great benefits in an account based marketing approach. With Big Data profiling becoming more detailed and valuable in B2B verticals, our ability to reach very specific targets has increased. Once a company has identified the ABM target profiles, and campaign assets have been designed to specifically engage with that target, a B2B marketing agency can leverage a variety of digital platforms, with information such as:

  • search terms people are using
  • content users engage with
  • websites people visit (from trade show sites to interest topics to industry-specific)
  • demographics including education level and income
  • job titles and employers
  • locations, including geo-fenced targeting to reach those attending an event, or generally focused to reach specific customer facility locations.

Beyond just one platform or one event, digital marketing allows us to leverage a variety of Big Data to reach specific ABM profiles on a granular level.

How can B2B companies leverage industry-specific data in ABM marketing?

Data collection has grown significantly in recent years, and B2B profiling has become more granular and reliable. While trade events, conferences and publications can offer opportunities, with AI and Big Data, marketers have access to a variety of detailed profiling information that is valuable in account-based campaigns. This not only includes information like geographies (to help reach target company locations), job titles and education – but also interests, the type of content that a user engages with, and even the websites a person has visited. Understanding how to properly leverage data and target customer personas is critical in ABM campaigns – and can be optimized through the services of a B2B marketing agency.

How can a B2B company use ABM in their business model?

ABM campaign development occurs not only within a marketing or sales team, but needs to have input across an organization to collectively identify which prospects are the ones that should be prioritized and offer the best value to the company. Companies must review lead-to-sale conversion timelines, how much nurturing is required during customer acquisition, the difficulty of engineering or customization support, as well as the efforts required by internal company resources. What may appear to be the “best” target for one department in an organization, may be significantly different to another department. Gaining understanding across a company can help refine business targets, goals and expectations – allowing marketing to achieve greater results that help drive a business forward.

What resources are needed from a B2B company before considering ABM?

First, there needs to be a cross-departmental commitment to invest at least some time in developing customer profiles, which needs to include representatives not only from marketing and sales, but also management, production, engineering/support, and accounting. If a company partners with an outside B2B marketing agency, that agency can help streamline the process and reduce internal resource requirements. A company needs to balance the availability of its staff, the value of their time, and the expertise of their marketing department in account-based campaign development. Additionally, it must be certain that the integrated marketing tactics needed in ABM approaches are properly created and deployed. To achieve the best results, all aspects of prospect profiling, asset development and inbound/digital/traditional/content mix must be carefully planned, executed, monitored and responded to throughout the life of the campaign. With a focused approach in ABM, reporting and data review is critically important in success.

A B2B marketing agency can partner with you to effectively allocate resources for the best results.

How does ABM work with a B2B marketing agency?

Working with a marketing agency can often yield better results than a campaign run internally. An agency’s integrated expertise and capabilities ensure resources are allocated properly along different channels – digital, content, trade and more. An agency can also help companies ensure their brand positions are maintained even when specific, focused account-based initiatives are running. Additionally, a B2B marketing agency has access to the platforms and “Big Data” that is critical in digital targeting. A true ABM campaign needs to run concurrently on a variety of platforms to ensure prospects are reached and nurtured through the sales funnel.

Let’s Power Up Your ABM Marketing

For two decades our B2B marketing agency has delivered proven results, and we are ready to help create an ABM campaign that generates results. Contact us today and see how we can help power up your marketing.

Stifel Marcin – The B2B Marketing Agency

Unlike many advertising and marketing agencies, B2B isn’t just something that we do, it’s all we do. We’ll work to help your brand achieve its goals through the strategic combination of creativity, communication and technology. Our focused client intake processes give us the ability to thoroughly understand your business, products and objectives, working to identify the competitive advantages and opportunities that will grow awareness, leads and sales. We develop innovative marketing plans with strategic, data-driven processes, presenting complex ideas and compelling messages that position your business ahead of the competition. As your cooperative partner, our integrated B2B marketing agency is dedicated to your success. If you have questions about account based marketing, our ABM experts are here to help. Let’s talk.

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