ABM has become a go-to strategy for many marketing organizations. Problem is, marketers who use it are having difficulties generating prospect data records and measuring the success of their ABM programs. And in today’s buyer-driven marketplace, they’re also facing challenges using ABM to effectively connect with known and unknown buyers and accounts that are in the market for their products and showing intent.
At Integrate, we believe ABM can be an extremely effective tool, but only if marketers stop thinking of demand and ABM separately. Buyers are online, researching on their own, charting their own paths to purchase. To succeed in this era, you must leverage ABM as part of an overall omnichannel, precision demand marketing approach.
To help get you started, we’ve pulled together some traditional ABM examples. As you’ll see, when you apply a more precise, omnichannel, buyer-focused strategy, you can more effectively generate both awareness and customer data records across today’s buying committees. In turn, you can set your sales teams up for success and deliver ROI.
Account-Based Marketing Strategies You Should Consider Implementing Now
1. Engaging Your Target Accounts With Educational Content
In a typical ABM approach, everything from informative guides, blog posts, and infographics to workbooks, webinars and whitepapers serve as powerful tools for attracting target accounts.
One very effective way to use such content is by recognizing a target account in a blog post. This doesn’t mean you should call out a company or person on a whim. Rather, write about a topic in which your target account or prospect has expertise, and then mention that expertise in your post.
This is a respectful way to set the stage for an introduction. It's delivered as a compliment, and it gives you the opportunity to interact with prospects via social media. As a rule of thumb, we recommend using Twitter as the first channel for any interaction, since it’s a bit more casual, but it still delivers the same message: “We saw what you’re doing, and we think it’s valuable enough to publish on our blog.”
When you use your blog posts in this way, the best-case scenario is your targets interact with your content and give you the opportunity to start a conversation. Worst case scenario, your targets don’t interact, but still see the content, making them more receptive to future marketing materials.
2. Sending Personalized Emails to Target-Account Contacts
Personalized emails to buyers can be among the easiest and most-effective ABM tactics in your arsenal. Just be careful. If handled poorly, your messages will land in the junk folder with the Nigerian prince’s.
For example, suppose you’ve identified 20 contacts at one of your top accounts who are likely prospects, but your sales team hasn’t been able to effectively engage any of them. One ABM tactic would be a series of emails personalized by role. Each email variation could contain content relevant to each contact’s known concerns. By passing these email templates to sales, you set them up for success. You empower them to boost the speed of their sales cycles rather than spending time crafting the perfect email every time they engage with a target account.
The first (and most obvious) thing to remember about email is that if it’s too personal, it can seem intrusive. Don't try to show how much you know about the contact personally. Instead, fill the email with helpful and creative content addressing the contact’s known concerns. The best emails are concise, conversational and relevant. The worst are the ones that tell the recipient everything there is to know about your product and the “amazing deals going on for one day only.” Frankly, it’s a lame tactic and it’s only going to get your email deleted or left unread.
Another easy way to kill your ABM email campaign is to spam your target accounts. We’ve all seen it: you fill out one form on a piece of gated content and suddenly you're receiving five emails a day with more whitepapers, more special offers, and more headaches. This email tactic only leads to mass unsubscribes from ABM lists, which is devastating to any campaign.
3. Leveraging Social Media to Engage Target Accounts…Tactfully
Social media is an ABM gold mine. By monitoring social posts, we can gather tons of information about target buyers without ever having face-to-face conversations with them. People tend to post about their pain points and challenges, which gives us the opportunity to respond with valuable content at the right time. By simply liking, commenting on, and sharing your buyers’ posts, you tell your target accounts you’re engaged and credible.
One of the most valuable tools we’ve used is the list-building feature in Twitter. Simply create a list in your Twitter account, add the usernames of your target accounts and the decision-makers at those accounts, and then monitor what they’re sharing. Find out what types of content (blog posts, infographics, videos, etc.) they tend to interact with, and then develop content based on your findings.
Social media interactions set the stage for more personalized ones. For instance, direct messaging on a social platform can be very valuable early in the sales process. Just don’t be the guy who automatically sends a cheesy pitch as soon as someone follows you: it's annoying and you’ll get a reaction opposite to the one you’re hoping for. Really? That was your best line?
4. Working with Partners to Engage Your Target Accounts
The greatest asset to your account-based marketing strategy is rich and accurate data on the buying committees at your target accounts. If you don’t have valid info for your target decision-makers, it could mean the premature death of your ABM strategy.
Rather than purchasing lists of data or scraping the internet for email addresses, effective ABM marketers often work with external media partners who already have relationships with target accounts. By combining all your great educational content with the account-targeted reach of third-party partners, you can engage and convert the decision-makers who matter most.
5. Implementing a Smart Account-Based Direct Mail Campaign
We live in a tech-savvy world, and direct mail probably isn’t on the top of your ABM to-do list, but it’s making a comeback. You should consider it as a supporting element of your ABM plan. There are a few ways to approach this tactic, all depending on what stage in the engagement game your target account is.
For example, send a personal offer to put your brand on the desk of a target buyer. Think along the lines of a small, personalized note with a specific offer designed for that target account. This does not mean the age-old “10% off if you call me today!!!” offer, but instead something of actual value you could deliver to your prospect. Use something along the lines of, “I know you’re struggling to [insert problem you help customers solve]. I’d love to schedule some time with you to discuss the steps we can take together to [insert prospects’ goals].” You can even add a relevant gift to increase the wow factor and set the stage for a social media “thank you.”
Caveat: Such tactics shouldn’t be the first step or even the second step in the execution of your ABM strategy. Direct mail is an account-based marketing tactic best served when specific individuals at target accounts have shown a relatively high degree of engagement with your content and/or brand. For example, if a prospect from a target account has downloaded a couple pieces of content from your website and spoken to a rep from your company during an event, then direct mail may be a good move.
6. Hosting Events Specifically for Your Target Accounts
No matter what you’re planning for the return of in-person events, one thing is clear: There’s no going back to the status quo. The days of planning and executing events as one-off occasions that end in a spreadsheet of bad data dumped downstream are over.
Marketers need to be ready to meet buyers on their terms with a holistic event strategy that connects the in-person and digital channels, and overlays with the entire demand strategy. Events must be planned and executed as one touchpoint of many on our buyer’s journey to purchase.
Learn more about how we’re enabling a more connected, buyer-driven Precision Demand Marketing strategy across your in-person, hybrid, virtual events, and webinars. See how our solution allows you to connect event interactions with buyers and accounts to your overall demand strategy, resulting in a comprehensive buyer-driven, omnichannel approach that drives more revenue at scale.
Account-Based Marketing Is a Long-Term, Holistic Strategy
Perfecting your ABM strategy takes time. It can be tough to predict which examples and tactics will work best for you. So, roll up your sleeves, develop your plan and starting testing.
Just make sure you know where the line between personalized and creepy is, and don’t cross it.
If you’re just getting started with your ABM strategy, the Enterprise Playbook to Account-Based Demand Generation includes step-by-step guidance that you can use to get your ABM efforts underway. Grab your copy now.