If your company hasn’t already established ABM, the thought of starting a program from scratch can be daunting.
But how do you get started? If you’re a B2B marketer who is looking to set up ABM program within your organization here are some building blocks for success:
#1 Get Everyone on Board
Internal alignment is the first step towards setting up an ABM strategy. This can’t be a single sided effort. And while alignment needs to be companywide, Marketing and Sales must lead alignment for ABM to work. A study by Sirius Decisionconcludes that B2B organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing operations achieved 24% faster three-year revenue growth and 27% faster three-year profit growth.
In kicking off ABM, marketing leaders should take the lead in educating the organization on what ABM is and how impacts business. This means not just defining what ABM means at a holistic level but breaking it down into finer elements – the goals, marketing channels, operational infrastructure, roles and responsibilities, implementation plan and success metrics.
#2 Identify Your Ideal Customer
For ABM, you’ll need to build the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) before you can start your program. Use your CRM database to analyze your current customer data to identify your ICP. Remember that it shouldn’t just be based on persona pain points, include firmographic and technographic criteria as well. Once you’ve identified the criteria, align with sales on the criteria. This goes back to the first building block. You’ll need internal alignment on the ICP, and transparency breeds cooperation.
#3 Target Account List, Personas and Story Arcs
Now that you’ve built your ICP, it’s time to build the target account list. Lock in your target account selection and prioritization before beginning your ABM program. In one of our next blogs we will go over building a target account list in more detail.
But once it’s built, you’ll need to document what your prospects need and want to hear. Develop personas based on the list and then a story arc of what messaging will be most relevant at each stage of their buyer’s journey including key needs, pain points, conflicts, goals and desires. All this will help outline the content strategy.
Running ABM efficiently means developing resonant content that can be tailored for each account and buyer persona. If you are kicking off ABM, plan your content calendar wisely.
You’ll need content ready for both the pilot and the large-scale deployment. Highly tuned content has a lot to do with the fact that 92% of B2B companies see higher opportunity-to-close rates from ABM accounts. Messaging and content are cornerstones of ABM.
#5 Martech Stack, Sales Tools and the Right Staff
Before you undertake an account-based marketing initiative, you need to have the right technology and tools place. At the bare minimum, you’ll need:
- A sales CRM software to store and track your account data, contacts, and leads
- A Marketing Automation Software to engage with the accounts. The automation software can send customized offers and launch email campaigns.
Along with having the right tools in place, you also need talent. Employees with marketing operations and sales operations ability will help integrate and manage those systems effectively and use them efficiently.
Never start any demand generation without setting objectives. As you are building your ABM program, think about what you want to achieve and how you’ll measure success.
The measurement of results drives agility and effectiveness. And it also helps on each individual execution since you can focus on calls to action, offers and messaging that supports your objectives.
Keep in mind that while every executive team wants to see ROI, metrics for the pilot campaign might differ from when you roll out ABM. The point of the pilot is to test, learn and refine. If your industry has long sales cycles, a pilot campaign might generate higher engagement and coverage metrics than deal velocity. Plan and agree on metrics for all phases of ABM implementation before starting your campaign.
#7 Robust Marketing Programs
High-performing ABM plans put an account-based lens on all programs. That includes trade shows, field events, content syndication, displays and all other activities. You could start with few go-to channels to get those right and prove initial success before expanding to other marketing channels.
Implementing ABM can seem intimidating — but remember, success rests on building a solid foundation. These seven building blocks will give you the strategy you need to set yourself up for ABM success. In our subsequent blogs we will be tackling each of these in detail.
Diptii Tiiku, Senior Director of Marketing, Ridecell
Jackie Walts, Principal, Jackie Walts Consulting