Account-Based Marketing: what it is and how to put it into practice in B2B sales

 

Marketing campaigns, especially Digital Marketing, with low engagement rates and Sales areas with low conversion in the funnel. These factors frighten any commercial manager, after all, they mean greater effort to reach closing.

There is, however, a strategy that has been consolidated as a solution to these problems: Account-Based Marketing, also known as ABM.

In this article, we’ll explain what Account-Based Marketing is and who it’s for, and reveal the key steps to adopting this account management strategy that brings better return on investment and accelerates results.

What is Account-Based Marketing?

Account-Based Marketing has become a very popular subject among Marketing and Sales professionals, despite not being part of the routine of many Brazilian companies in a concrete way.

In other words, it still represents an opportunity to be explored by your business to get ahead of competitors.

Translating the term, its meaning is Account Based Marketing and we can understand it as a very qualified way of working Personalization Marketing.

By the way, personalization is another word that is gaining more and more strength in a scenario of more demanding consumers!

To meet this potential customer profile in a more targeted way and increase conversion rate, the ABM strategy is ideal. It impacts previously selected prospects and customers with a campaign designed specifically for them.

The result? On average, 208% more revenue for marketing efforts, according to Act-On.

At this point, you may be thinking: “but isn’t this Inbound marketing?” No, in fact both strategies must go hand in hand, complementing each other.

The main difference is that in Account-Based Marketing you choose as a first step exactly which leads you want to work with, starting with a much smaller top of the funnel in number of contacts.

In short: with ABM, you select which accounts will impact your marketing campaign, even before it goes live, focusing on maximum personalization.

Therefore, the result cannot be other than more assertive results

For which companies does ABM make the most sense?

ABM, however, does not fit all companies.

It is necessary to understand if it makes sense as a strategy for your business model, both in terms of the operating cost and the investment made to put the actions in the air.

Below are three characteristics that a company must have for Account-Based Marketing to return the best sales results:

1. Companies in the B2B segment

All Marketing and Sales strategies that include a lead nurturing process, with multiple actions and touchpoints, tend to make more sense within the B2B business scenario – those that sell to other companies, not the end customer.

That’s because B2B sales tend to have a longer decision-making process, involving more people and fulfilling more tangible requirements than intangibles.

2. Companies that sell value-added solutions

Likewise, an ABM strategy makes more sense for companies that market high value-added products and services.

This is because a major commercial effort must aim at a significant return in revenue.

In other words: it makes more sense to work with account-based marketing if you sell IT solutions than basic stationery items, for example.

3. Multiple decision makers

The ABM model also works well to address company profiles that involve more than one person in the decision process, requiring personalized approaches to these profiles (for example, Marketing, IT and Product professionals from the same prospect).

How to Create an Account-Based Marketing Strategy?

Now that you know what Account-Based Marketing is and have assessed whether or not the model makes sense in your business strategy, it’s time to put it into practice!

Get to know the step-by-step instructions for performing ABM actions:

1. Have your ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) very well defined

The first step to start working with ABM, without a doubt, is to have a well-defined client profile, also known as ICP.

We have an article here on the blog explaining how to define your business’ customer profile, but in general terms, you will need to analyze your sales data to understand which type of company brings the greatest return on business, looking at factors such as:

  • Company size;
  • Geographic location;
  • Business segment;
  • Vertical of action;
  • Type of decision-making process.

2. Select accounts to work

With your ICP in hand, it’s time to select the accounts that will be worked within the Account-Based Marketing strategy.

It is very important that they are within your ideal customer profile, since the goal is to convert those sales faster.

And where to find these leads? You can rely on both internal and external sources. Below are some examples:

  1. Current lead base
  2. Seller prospecting base
  3. Leads that are marked as lost, but within the ideal profile
  4. Campaigns to capture registration on Facebook Ads and LinkedIn Ads, using segmentation features such as company name and persona title
  5. Lists of key industry business associations
  6. Market databases purchased from trusted companies

3. Design the Marketing Campaign

After defining ICP and selecting your first accounts to work with, it’s time to structure a Marketing campaign.

Yes, ABM requires you to actually design a campaign, with actions, goals and metrics to be evaluated, much more than isolated actions. That’s how you can be assertive and also measure the results in the best way.

Also consider that your campaign has a test case, with a smaller number of accounts. With this, it will be possible to correct necessary points before putting the definitive version on the air.

It’s important to know at this point that your campaign can have multiple actions and points of contact, both online and offline, depending on what you think will best forward your prospect to closing.

Some suggestions:

  • Exclusive events
  • Remarketing and retargeting campaigns on LinkedIn Ads, Google Ads and Facebook Ads, from the loading of email lists
  • E-mail marketing
  • Sending direct mail
  • Sending gifts
  • Seller contact by email or phone
  • Demonstrations

4. Produce the necessary materials

With the structured Marketing campaign, proceed to the production of the necessary materials.

At this point, best practices depend heavily on the type of action that will be part of the strategy, but one rule is clear: you must deliver maximum customization!

This means, for example:

  • Create unique landing pages for each company or market segment
  • Use personalization settings with name and other details in emails and ads
  • Between others.

It is also necessary to keep in mind that more important than persuading is showing value.

Otherwise, it would be enough for the seller to repeatedly contact the prospect. Use every contact opportunity to deliver information that will help your client profile overcome your professional challenges!

5. Evaluate Results and Make Route Changes

There is no more room for Marketing and Sales strategies that do not measure the data, going from the top of the funnel to the closing of sales. And it couldn’t be different with Account-Based Marketing.

Even though the return on investment (ROI) is usually quite high in ABM, it cannot be ignored that its actions can have a high cost for the company.

Therefore, not measuring and not evaluating the campaign throughout its execution can result in a significant loss!

But what to evaluate? All sales metrics you already use though, comparing ABM with other strategies. But if you need a key metric, we recommend you consider Sales Velocity!

Incorporating ABM into the sellers’ routine

As with Inbound Marketing, ABM requires the Marketing and Sales teams to work together, from step one to measurement.

In this way, it will be possible to accurately assess what worked or not, taking actions to a greater scale.

Sellers are even protagonists in the story!

Because they are ahead of some touch points, they must follow the recommended actions and record all information in CRM. Besides, of course, contributing to the improvement of the strategy with his field knowledge and constant feedbacks!

Sell ​​on B2B and high value solutions? ABM needs to be part of the strategy!

In this article, you learned more about a strategy that is becoming popular in the Brazilian market, the Account-Based Marketing.

As we said, this also represents the opportunity to get ahead in your industry, starting activities of this model before your competitors do.

And if selling in B2B with complex sales processes is a challenge… we’re sure it will be a little less from then on!