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What is needed for a successful ABM strategy?

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Optimise your ABM strategy using Opportunity Finder to generate customers not leads – Part 1

Account Based Marketing (ABM) is not a new marketing discipline. On paper it sounds like a simple proposition to find and locate the various stakeholders or buying committees within an organisation, to communicate with them when a need is identified, buying intent established and to nurture the account to a point that they are ready to become a customer.

Usually considered a strategy for enterprise marketing and sales teams, if done well, ABM can offer companies the ability to engage with customers earlier, identify the buying committees within target accounts, and deliver relevant content to the right stakeholders at the right time. It combines the various marketing and sales tactics that would have traditionally been siloed by industry, product/service or channel.

In this three-part blog series we will discuss what is needed to deliver an ABM, the value it can bring and how BNZSA’s Opportunity Finder can elevate and enhance your strategy even further.

The building blocks of ABM:

While the dream of ABM is like performing a symphony by Mozart, using a highly trained orchestra directed by a world class conductor, the reality is often very different- using an amateur orchestra, without a conductor using a score with a lot of notes missing.

In many cases, companies think that just because they have a target account list, or they have an online platform that manages data about their accounts they are “doing” ABM.

Online tools and platforms on their own will not be sufficient to deliver a successful ABM campaign. To do it right, ABM requires an all-in approach with a joined-up sales and marketing operation with clear stakeholders and shared go to market strategy, which is not as easy as it sounds.

1. Data

The data you need must be analysed. Questions that need to be discussed include:

  • Who are our ideal customer profiles?
  • What buyer personas at these companies do we want to reach?
  • What does out target account list look like?

Once agreed, decisions on how to build out this data set or use third party tools and services is required. In a post GDPR world, it is always wise to verify and conduct due diligence on where the data comes from, if using a third-party.

2. Alignment between sales and marketing

Account plans are complex and require a shared strategy to align sales and marketing. Cross functional sales and marketing teams should be harmonised around the target accounts.

When implementing an ABM strategy, it is crucial to categorize your tactics by channel and clearly define your objectives. This will help you determine the level of personalization and targeting needed for each tactic.

For example, if you want to create tailored content for a specific persona, you would need a 1:1 tactic with highly personalized and relevant content delivered to that person. On the other hand, if you are organizing a webinar or event for your target account list (TAL), it would be a 1:Many tactic and may not require the same level of personalization as a 1:1 scenario.

By segmenting your tactics, you can effectively allocate your resources and time based on the desired outcome for each account. This will help you prioritize and tailor your efforts to maximize engagement and conversion rates.

Ultimately, ABM is about building strong relationships with target accounts by providing relevant and valuable experiences that address their unique challenges and needs. By strategically categorizing your tactics and objectives, you can create a more effective and efficient ABM strategy that drives long-term growth and customer loyalty.

3. Content

Once the right personas have been identified, relevant and timely content needs to be either created, repurposed, or recycled to ensure your company’s value proposition is front of mind of the persona you are trying to influence.

Sending complex IT ‘speeds and feeds’ about a technical product or service to the entire buying committee is not an effective strategy. Tools like ChatGPT will not replace the human intelligence needed to personalise messaging that is tailored to the interest of each potential stakeholder.

4. Harmonised automation technology

Like the symphony orchestra analogy, companies must look to orchestrate and automate content to deliver via the many channels available.

Lastly, ensure technologies that are enlisted or considered to be purchased to automate some or all of the processes to support your ABM strategy are harmonised with the aligned organisational structure.

Ultimately engaging in ABM is about getting better ROI from your highly orchestrated sales and marketing organisation to amplify the sweet music of closed won business.

Come back for the second instalment of this blog series where we will explain the added value of integrating a well-planned and managed ABM strategy into your pipeline generation efforts.