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Top Five Things To Know When Considering Account-Based Marketing

Published on December 08, 2016

This article was originally published on the Blog as a guest blog post.

Account Based Marketing (or Account Based Everything, if you subscribe to Jon Miller’s view of the world) is an industry hot topic. So hot that probably five of every ten conversations I have with clients revolve around ABM. The things we discuss most often are about what it takes to implement and execute a proper ABM strategy. Like most things, nothing worth doing is necessarily easy. The good news is, if done correctly, ABM is hands down worth the extra effort. 

Drawing from our most frequently asked questions, here are the top five things to keep top of mind when considering ABM:

  • Understand what types of accounts buy your product or service. This may seem blatantly obvious, but we all make assumptions about our target and ideal accounts based on perceptions, or on what the executive and sales team tells us. Ultimately, however, reality lies in the data. First, take a look at what your data highlights about your best accounts. In most cases, your CRM is loaded with rich opportunity data that can be leveraged to learn about the organizations that actually buy (or don’t buy) your product or service.
  • Know your buyer(s). This is simply an extension of understanding your ideal target accounts. Companies don’t sign a check, people do. More often than not, especially in the enterprise world where ABM is very common, multiple people are involved in a single purchase. It’s imperative to know who is part of the buying process and what their role is within the buying cycle. The big shift for marketers in ABM is understanding the personas of the buying committee and engaging them in an effort to fill the sales gaps. 
  • ABM is all about the data. It’s inevitable that you’ll find gaps in your data to support the business case for an account based effort. Data plays the same role with ABM as it does in any other type of marketing: it’s the foundation. Without the right data you will fail.

To ensure success, first analyze your data against your target accounts and buyer personas, then go enrich it. Enrichment in this context means to think about what you’ve already learned about your ideal target accounts and the buyers within. For example, determine what data you need to properly communicate with each account. Demographic and firmographic data points that help you segment and customize messaging are a great example.

Companies like ReachForce, ZoomInfo and D&B can help your data profile from that perspective. Additionally, there are behavioral or intent based data signals that can take your ideal customer profile and persona analysis to another level. Companies like Everstring can help to build a more robust data profile. There are a large number of great data partners out there that meet different needs. Find one that fits your business. 

  • Remember: You’re building an individual marketing strategy for multiple accounts. This is going to take effort and resources, so be smart. ABM is not a one size fits all approach. Consider ROI and how many accounts you can realistically attack with the level of personalization and attention needed to win with ABM. It’s impossible to manage 500 accounts with the level of personal touch needed in true ABM. The good news is that it’s okay! Create tiers of accounts and have a strategy for each that you can use to scale.
  • Create metrics. Anything that matters must be measured. Start by creating a scorecard for your ABM efforts. They are going to be different than the waterfall metrics from the demand generation days. I attended an ABM product launch a few weeks ago and one of the panelists had an awesome ABM measurement acronym. She explained C.A.P.E.R, which stands for Coverage, Awareness, Program Impact, Engagement and Revenue. Simple, yet it hits all the key aspects of ABM.

That’s it! Five things to think about regarding ABM.­­­ Good luck!