4 Keys to Implementing Effective Account Based Marketing

Posted on by Yonatan Stern

Target DiagramThere’s no question that account based marketing (ABM) is beginning to make a difference for many B2B organizations.

Bob Peterson, senior research director of SiriusDecisions, reports that one client has seen its pipeline triple since implementing ABM while another has achieved a 20% increase in average deal size. Peterson says his firm’s research shows nearly three out of four B2B companies increasing their budgets for ABM initiatives.

Despite the impressive results, however, implementing an ABM strategy in the digital age is still a cumbersome task for organizations.

What’s up?

First and foremost, ABM requires a paradigm shift to occur internally before organizations can reap benefits. That mandate is not hyperbole or lip service. With such a targeted approach to growth, your organization must be aligned.

Needless to say, launching an ABM program doesn’t happen overnight. Here’s four steps to make ABM an integral part of your daily operations:

  1. Build top-to-bottom corporate commitment and collaboration.

Secure multi-level involvement. The C-suite needs to foster coordinated, customized attention with an eye toward long-term results. Sales executives must adopt and take primary ownership of an account-based model, supported by other functional groups. And, crucially, marketing needs to drive end-to-end planning, execution and enablement.

  1. Closely align sales and marketing.

Effective ABM implementation requires tight sales-marketing collaboration. Seventy percent of companies that use ABM report their sales and marketing organizations are mostly or completely aligned, compared with only 51% of those that don’t use ABM, according to a 2015 report from Heinz Marketing.

Working hand in hand with sales, marketing should take the lead in developing account criteria and listing target accounts, as well as creating personalized content to address those specific accounts.

  1. Select the right ABM strategy for your sales process.

SiriusDecisions’ Peterson describes these models when considering which accounts to target:

  • Large account – very small number of large existing or targeted accounts
  • Named account – moderate or larger number of defined existing or targeted accounts
  • Industry/segment – moderate or larger number of new or existing targeted accounts in the same vertical market
  • Customer lifecycle – moderate or larger number of existing customers that receive differentiated outreach
  1. Use up-to-date, thorough data to build and refresh lists.

With commitment, alignment and strategy in place, you’re ready to develop account and contact lists to help you connect and engage better with prospects. To maximize productivity, partner with a provider of accurate, constantly updated and comprehensive data on your accounts and contacts.

Unfortunately, quantity eclipses quality for much B2B contact information available. In a recent study by ZoomInfo and Ascend2, only one-third of marketers responding said they considered their data-driven marketing strategies “very successful” and 64% of this “very successful” group cited “improving data quality” as their greatest challenge in achieving personalization.

What’s possible? Select a business intelligence provider that offers a rich, continuous supply of data relevant to criteria you identify, based on variables like company revenue, headcount, industry, location and growth indicators, as well as individual contacts’ job function, title and location. Current, direct phone numbers and business emails will help you keep up with moving targets. The most advanced databases and tools also can feed you new lookalike targets to replicate success.

Creating this foundation will take hard work and time, but ABM holds tremendous promise. Think of what a 200% increase in your sales pipeline could do for your marketing ROI and your company’s growth. 

Yonatan Stern is the founder, CEO and chief scientist of ZoomInfo. He will deliver a keynote address at the Growth Acceleration Summit, Sept. 12-13 in Boston.

 

 

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