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8 min read

ABM strategy, the gateway to closing B2B Deals

If 86% of marketers say their ABM strategies acquire more customers than traditional methods, improving customer lifetime value by reporting up to a 76% higher ROI, and their sales and marketing teams have worked exceptionally well together, why haven't all companies implemented this methodology?

Despite positive statistics on the effectiveness of Account-Based Marketing (ABM), there are several reasons why not all companies opt to implement this methodology, including facing obstacles such as resource limitations, complexity, lack of internal alignment, and poor-quality data. Lack of understanding and misalignment with the business model also contribute to hesitancy in implementation.

Although implementing Account-Based Marketing (ABM) may seem challenging, its precise focus offers significant benefits. The strategy revolves around detailed personalization, enabling companies to specifically target high-value accounts. Imagine starting your strategy directly with accounts that match your Buyer Persona profile. The advantages are numerous, starting with not wasting valuable time on leads with a low probability of closing, but swiftly advancing in the sales cycle with your target accounts.

Given the statistics associated with account-based marketing, it's not surprising that interest in this B2B strategy has steadily increased over the past five years. This process is highly beneficial for B2B strategies, as it aligns sales and marketing teams to achieve common goals, such as promoting long-term business growth, satisfying customers, and increasing revenue.

Account Based Marketing (ABM)

Account-Based Marketing focuses on tailoring buying experiences to the needs of specific customers. This strategy stands out for personalizing service through campaigns and sales plans designed to target high-value accounts or clearly defined segments in a business audience.

Thanks to its successful outcomes, ABM has become crucial in companies' marketing strategies. Around 70% of B2B companies have allocated resources to implement Account-Based Marketing programs. This shows that it goes beyond being merely a trend in the marketing world.

How does Account Based Marketing work?

As mentioned earlier, the priority here is identifying key accounts. Therefore, the first step is to find those companies that fit the description of our Buyer Persona. Once you understand the characteristics that must not be lacking in that prospective client, you'll generate lists and gather the most important information to contact them. Remember, you could have a list of 2 or 500 leads, but you must select those that are truly high-value

Once you have your customer lists, you'll create strategies to attract them through personalized content, events of interest, among other methods. What we ultimately seek is ways to interact with them.

But remember, Account-Based Marketing is not the same as Inbound Marketing. ABM focuses on attracting customers considered as key accounts. It works because marketing and sales efforts are aligned and focused on a few points, rather than aiming for mass attraction; thus, it generates a stronger customer experience by dedicating attention to them.

Types of Account-Based Marketing

It's important to understand that Account-Based Marketing doesn't have a single way of being carried out. It's often thought of as solely customizing the customer experience, but let's look at some correct ways to implement it:

One-to-One ABM

Also called Strategic ABM, this requires more resources as it assumes the service must be 100% personalized for each target account. This doesn't mean creating completely customized content for each of the 20 target accounts, but rather creating content for companies that are prioritized in your attention hierarchy.

If you want to delve into this type of ABM, it's important to thoroughly understand the potential client, evaluating their specific pains and paying close attention to the resources and solutions you can provide.

This type of ABM ideally works when companies target a few organizations or accounts.

One-to-Few ABM

Also known as Sector or Segment ABM. This also focuses on personalization, but it aims for a similar experience for groups of companies with similar pains or frustrations.

With this type of ABM, you can reach more companies with the same valuable content. This way, you won't compromise marketing resources, as when thinking about a particular sector or segment, the solution you can provide will be the same or very similar.

One-to-Many ABM

Finally, we have Product or Solution ABM, which is used when targeting many profiles through various offers. However, it's rarely used because it ends up looking like a traditional segmentation strategy.

Now that we've identified the three types, let's look at the steps you should consider to implement your Account-Based Marketing strategy.

Steps to implement an ABM strategy

1. Create an ABM tracking and attention team

You need a team whose objective is to focus on key accounts. This team must have the necessary capabilities to manage important accounts, make decisions, and provide excellent service to contacts from those accounts. Additionally, the team will need to be fully trained in ABM, capable of implementing it, tracking progress, and measuring results. It's important that your entire team is aligned with the strategy. This will make it much easier for your business to create consistent experiences for the accounts and ensure that your plan is as efficient and straightforward as possible.

methodology ABM

2. Choose Key Accounts Aligned with Your Buyer Persona

This team should gather and select the accounts to work with through ABM. It's important to consider the prioritization of accounts so that your team of experts can follow up on those at the top of the list. Not all accounts require a high level of customization, so ABM should only be implemented for those that can be more profitable.

>> ABM Scoring: Lead Scoring for Account-Based Marketing (ABM) <<

Here are some recommendations to identify and choose your ideal group of high-value target accounts to invest time and resources in:

  • Set up search alerts for your ideal customer profile on LinkedIn.
  • Create a workflow that filters incoming qualified leads based on specific criteria (company size, industry, etc.) and tag them as an ideal customer type in your CRM.
  • HubSpot's Predictive Lead Scoring and its properties of Closing Probability and Contact Priority, powered by Machine Learning, can be greatly helpful here.
  • Ask yourself: "If we could replicate a deal from last year, what would it be?" Then, use the characteristics of that deal (industry, company size, value, for example) to help identify the profile of other suitable customers.
  • Choose target accounts based on a particular industry or geographical location.
  • Review large companies and leads that use and engage with your inbound content, but don't have (yet) an established agreement with you.
  • Identify guide accounts, i.e., those you could use as references.
  • Stick to no more than 10 accounts per sales representative.

3. Review and Update Your Customer Profiles and Study Them

Target accounts are based on your Buyer Persona profiles, so you must continually review and improve them, considering aspects such as number of employees, industry, annual revenue, financial numbers, etc. This way, you'll know exactly what to offer them, when, and even the tone to use in negotiations.

4. Work on Lists of Potential Buyers According to the Segments You Want to Target

Now that you have the list of companies, your team will need to work to find the information of the contacts to whom you will address and you must also know the profile of those people. Remember that in the end, although the strategy talks about creating strategies for companies, the decision-makers are people, and you must know who they are. It's worth noting that in an ABM strategy, you can communicate with more than one person from the target account; that is, you may have to go through acceptance filters, but ultimately we seek to find the decision-makers in the companies.

5. Generate Initial Contacts

The first impression is very important, so you must prepare every point of contact and every detail, for example, how you will introduce yourself, how you will talk to them, what you will show them, and what you will offer them. Once they provide you with a meeting space, you'll seek the best way to keep up with negotiations, and you must consider that in your first contact, you must make it clear why your offer is the best to solve their needs.

There are cases where you can only obtain the email address, so personalized nurturing strategies come into play, which you will build with the team; the goal will be to add value to your prospect and ensure that first meeting is scheduled.

For this strategy, it's beneficial to be proactive with your contacts. Therefore, we share some recommendations to effectively engage with them:

  • Create a radio podcast or videos and invite the account leader to be a special guest.
  • Create specific landing pages to address the problems of the companies you are targeting
  • Advertise on social media considering details such as location and job.
  • Share useful information in different places, such as blogs, social networks, or magazines, that is relevant to each company.
  • Use direct messages on social networks and emails or postcards.
  • Connect via InMail, easily on the HubSpot platform with LinkedIn.
  • Participate in the companies' social networks: join groups, share relevant and useful content.
  • Ask for recommendations from your current contacts and clients.
  • Support a booth at a conference or event of the company you're interested in.
  • Invite your contacts to events, either in person or virtual, and ask them to bring their colleagues.

6. Create Personalized and Exclusive Content

In nurturing, personalized content makes sense, and this is where Account-Based Marketing takes from Inbound Marketing. You will generate personalized and exclusive content for those key accounts, with the aim of attracting, educating, and providing value to them through your content. You can create a blog for accounts of this type or send materials to their emails. This will make them consider you above other competitors and keep you on their list of potential providers in case of making a purchase decision.

Throughout this article, you've probably noticed that account-based marketing is a team effort. Therefore, it's essential to ensure that members of the marketing and sales teams handling these accounts are involved in planning the content and who it's directed to. Additionally, make sure marketing and sales are perfectly familiar with the value proposition of your product or service and the differentiator they should offer to each account

7. Utilize Software Tools to Enhance the Strategy

Any technology that contributes to your campaigns is valuable for implementing ABM. It's essential to rely on tools that automate processes, track prospects, and facilitate content creation from a single place. Think of comprehensive software like an intelligent CRM, which provides everything needed to manage accounts, generate personalized content, and effectively follow up.

8. Measure and Analyze Your Results (and Repeat any Necessary Actions)

What isn't analyzed isn't improved, so you must always monitor your success as you work and when you execute the steps mentioned above. By reviewing and analyzing your results, you'll identify any gaps or parts of your strategy that need to be modified to transform it into something more effective for your business, marketing and sales teams, and accounts (and, of course, for your customers).

Here are some KPIs you can consider, based on accounts that will give you insight into what you're doing:

  • Deal creation.
  • Account penetration (new contacts added to an account).
  • Account engagement.
  • Deal closure time.
  • New net revenues.
  • Percentage of closed deals.

Now you're probably wondering, "Can my company do ABM?" The answer varies; not all companies can expect good results. Keep in mind that it's a strategy with high costs and personalization. Therefore, if your product or service has a high price, ABM is ideal for achieving a positive return on investment. Let's look at other questions to answer to define if ABM is the best option for your company.

Are you a B2B company? For B2B companies, sales processes tend to be lengthy and costly. For this reason, adopting an ABM strategy becomes an essential element to attract new customers.
Is your ideal Buyer Persona in a specific niche or represents a very specific type of company? In such circumstances, an ABM strategy is ideal due to its highly personalized approach tailored to particular situations.
Is the lifetime value of your customers substantial? If the average income generated by a customer consistently exceeds $20,000, it's time to seriously consider implementing an ABM strategy.

Do decision-making in your customers involve multiple decision-makers throughout the buying cycle? If acquiring your products or services requires the involvement of various stakeholders, an ABM strategy becomes a strategic option. With ABM, you can develop a sales strategy that addresses different levels of the organization, such as management, operations, and finance.
Is there alignment between marketing and sales, or Smarketing? Effective collaboration between sales and marketing is fundamental to taking your sales to the next level. The ABM strategy recognizes and prioritizes this joint work, ensuring effective alignment between both departments to boost results.

If you answered positively to several or even all of the questions, it's clear that your company is prepared and has the potential to make the most of this strategy. ABM is not only an effective technique for targeting specific customers and generating high-quality conversions, but it also drives alignment between marketing and sales teams, resulting in greater efficiency and success in closing deals. By adopting this methodology, your company can personalize and adapt its approach to meet the individual needs and challenges of each potential customer, significantly improving conversion rates and customer retention.

>> Account-Based Marketing on LinkedIn <<

We understand that taking the first step towards implementing ABM can be overwhelming, but our Advisory team is here to provide you with the support and guidance needed at every step of the process. From identifying key accounts to executing personalized campaigns and measuring return on investment, we'll be with you every step of the way to ensure your company's success in adopting this strategy.

Feel free to reach out to us to request a consultation with our team of experts. We're excited about the opportunity to collaborate with you and help take your company to new levels of growth and success in customer acquisition. Together, we can turn your business goals into tangible realities. We look forward to working with you and celebrating your achievements!

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