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account-based marketing ABM

The Complete Account-Based Marketing Guide: Do's, Don'ts, and How-To's

Did you know that among marketers that use account-based marketing, 87% say that ABM is more successful than any other marketing strategy? If it's that effective for the average marketer, imagine what you could do if you honed your skills even more?

In a way, ABM requires far more planning and precision than traditional marketing. You have more direct communication with your prospects, and each one must be planned and measured.

To get it right, follow these guidelines for each step of the process.

1. Finding the Right Prospects

Account-based marketing hinges on your ability to target your prospects with laser focus. That all goes to waste if your prospects aren't good candidates for your service. There are several ways to find your top prospects.

DO Use a Progressive Step-Down Approach

When identifying your prospects, start with a large pool and narrow it with set criteria. For instance, begin by identifying the industry you want to target. Let's say your service is specific to the hospitality industry.

Second, gather data on the businesses within that industry. Start with basics like revenue and staff size. Identify those within a target size you've chosen.

Third, pull as much data as you can about the companies that fall into that specific group. If possible, find out or estimate their budgets for the type of service you provide.

Finally, narrow the pool more by finding out which of those companies have the most need for your service. For example, if you offer accounting software, read their accounting employees' reviews to see if they complain about certain aspects of the process. 

DON'T Get Too Restrictive

You want a focused group of prospects, but that shouldn't be the only fruit of your research process. Create a tiered system.

Tier one prospects are your ideal candidates. Designate tier two candidates and tier three candidates who are less promising but are still options to pursue when time allows. 

2. Personalizing Your Messages

Personalization is a critical component of ABM, but there are right ways and wrong ways to do it.

DO Find Out the Right Person to Talk To

Investigate your prospects to determine who within the company makes decisions about your type of service. Start by checking the company website to learn about their leadership team.

For more details, look up the leadership team members on LinkedIn. They're likely to have their resumes and job descriptions, and this may tell you who makes the purchasing decisions.  

DON'T Overpersonalize and Sound Intrusive

When reaching out to prospects, you want to show you've done your homework. Include certain data points about the company that are publicly accessible.

However, don't go too far and include information you shouldn't have access to. For instance, "I've heard your accounting team is struggling to keep up" is too direct. It makes them question your methods and it may chase them away.

Instead, use that information to ask the right questions. You could try, "Could your accounting team use a more efficient process so you don't incur higher personnel expenses in the future?" 

3. Creating Customized Content

When you contact your prospects via the phone, email, or social media, you need to weigh your words carefully. You want to show that you're reaching out to them directly, not sending mass messages. 

DON'T Go Through the Receptionist if Possible

Since you've determined the decision-maker for your product, reach out to that person directly. Tailor your communication to them specifically.

If you simply call the receptionist and ask for "the person who makes decisions about XYZ," you'll sound like a cold caller. 90% of buyers won't take cold calls, so your ABM strategy could end with that call. 

DO Take Notes for Every Interaction

Customized content isn't just important the first time you get in touch. You need to build up the relationship.

Each time you interact with the prospect, take notes about what you discussed. That includes personal information you learn. The next time you call, you can ask, "How are Megan and the kids?" so the prospect feels the personal connection. 

4. Following Up and Building Relationships

You may dream of every prospect responding to your first contact and building a profitable relationship from there, but that's not always how it happens. Your follow-up process needs to be as on-point as your initial contact.

DO Give Prospects a Reason to Respond

If you're having trouble getting a response from a prospect, give them a concrete reason to get in touch. For instance, tell them about a special discount your superiors have authorized for them, but let them know that you can only hold it for a short period of time. This creates a sense of urgency.

You should also offer a different piece of information or invitation each time you reach out. Don't repeat the same pitch over and over. 

DO Use Multiple Channels to Nurture the Relationship

Emails and phone calls are great, but you can use social media to nurture your relationship with the prospect too. Connect on LinkedIn and "like" their posts, for example.

Simple gestures like holiday cards and birthday cards can go a long way too. Not every interaction you have with the prospect should be a sales pitch. Your aim is to build trust.

Perfecting Your Account-Based Marketing Strategy

Account-based marketing has huge potential for success for B2B sales. However, no one said it was easy.

Effective B2B is time-consuming and requires research, planning, and ongoing follow-through. If you want help throughout the process, get started with our B2B growth experts today.

Dora Fredenburg

Hailing from Croatia, Dora is best known in the office for her deadly side-eye her love of Instagram dogs, and her relentless pursuit to help her clients grow faster in a way that is both sustainable and good for their customers.

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