Part 3 in PMG360’s ABM series examines the steps needed to create a successful ABM strategy. Requiring a great deal of customer and market intelligence as well as a strong collaboration between sales and marketing, a strong ABM strategy can deliver an impressive return on investment.
8 Steps to Creating a Successful ABM Strategy
A poorly executed ABM strategy can easily make your communication and messaging to clients disruptive and ineffective.
Step #1: Establish your goals and objectives. As with any initiative in your business, it is essential to first understand your goals and objectives. What are you looking to achieve? What are your lead goals? This can help you stay on course, track results and ensure success.
Step #2: Align sales and marketing. Properly aligning sales and marketing is essential for effective ABM. Set common goals and ensure that both sales and marketing are on the same page to avoid wasting valuable time and missing attractive opportunities. When sales and marketing are aligned, businesses are 67 percent better at closing deals. This is, in part, due to less friction. Alignment extracts 208 percent more value from marketing with 108 percent less friction.
Step #3: Identify target accounts. You need to identify your ABM target so tap into all of the client data that is available to you. Your own internal, or first-party data, is the gold standard but be cautious that it doesn’t present a too narrow picture of the total addressable market. This is why external data can also be valuable.
• Firmographic data is essential to help you identify high-value clients and develop meaningful market segments, but also consider additional resources like company size by revenue or number of employees, purchase intent data, and technographics or install targeting.
• Technographics/install targeting can help you better understand a customer by analyzing their tech stack and what it conveys about them.
As noted by Forrester, business technographics provides deep insights into who your buyers are and what they want — their priorities, challenges, investments, technology adoption behaviors, and purchase journeys. This can help, for instance, ensure that your product positioning, messaging, and content resonate with your target audience, and help you plan more effective marketing programs to engage target buyers and optimize spend.
Step #4: Identify buyer personas/decision makers/influencers. Now that you’ve identified the high-value clients you want to pursue, it’s time to take a deeper dive and learn more about how decisions are made within those target accounts. What are the buyer personas?
• Job function/title:
o Common job functions: C Suite (CEO, COO, CIO, CFO, etc.), accounting/finance, IT, sales/marketing and HR.
o Specific job titles like VP Finance, Director of Procurement, VP Marketing.
o What level of decision maker is involved with the purchase decision? Manager, Director, VP? All of this and also C Suite?
The better you define the buyer personas the more effective your campaign will be and the higher the ROI.
Step #5: Create personalized content/messaging. An effective ABM strategy hinges on your ability to provide personalized, relevant and valuable content that is helpful to your target accounts. Therefore, it is important to consider how your content and messaging addresses specific business challenges the target account may encounter. Consider these MarketingSherpa stats cited by Marketo: 82 percent of prospects value content made for their specific industries, and 67 percent say the same of content created for their specific job functions.
Step #6: Determine your channels. How can you best get your content in front of your target audience — telemarketing, email, sponsored content posts, webinars, events? When evaluating the channels, think about the industries and specific roles you may be targeting. Also, keep in mind ABM is not a set-it-and-forget-it tactic so, whichever channel you choose, test, test, test.
Step #7: Execute your campaign. With your sales and marketing team closely aligned, it’s now time to execute your campaign. Be sure you’ve coordinated your campaign across channels (telemarketing, email, digital display, direct marketing, etc.) to ensure your messaging is reaching your ABM prospect when it will have the most impact.
Step #8: Measure and evaluate your results. You need to know if your ABM campaign is producing the desired results; therefore, it’s important that the campaign is measurable and testable. Marketo suggests looking at the results of individual campaigns as well as trends at the account level and in the aggregate (all target accounts) to get a more accurate picture. From here you can see where you may need to make improvements or optimize your campaigns.
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