Developing A B2B Account Based Marketing Strategy
To make B2B account-based marketing work for your benefit, you need to have both your sales and marketing teams on the same page. You also need to invest time and money to carefully plan and strategize your approach with your account based marketing vendors—including coming up with the materials that adapt to what your ideal customers want to see.
Another important thing to remember is that an account-based marketing strategy needs to evolve. If you keep using your tactics over and over again, you’re bound to start seeing diminishing returns as time goes by. Brian Balfour of Reforge calls it the Cycle of Growth Tactic Effectiveness. Simply put, as you—and even your competitors—keep using an effective tactic, people start to get tired of things and respond less effectively.
Proven ABM Tactics That Convert
We are going to cover the ten most effective ABM tactics that we have observed in action over the past years. We are throwing in a lot of them so you can mix and match as needed to create an evolving B2B account-based marketing strategy to apply to your sales efforts.
1. Build a Solid Target Account List
87% of marketers have found that ABM delivers a higher ROI than other marketing activities that requires a target account list to focus your efforts on. To begin with, the advantage of ABM lies in focusing on accounts that are a perfect fit for the products and solutions that you have on-offer. You can build a B2B target account list based on the companies that you’ve done business with or who are obviously going to benefit from what you’re selling.
It’s worth considering getting help from a reliable B2B data service provider. The advantage lies not just in fleshing out key details on your target list-- but they can also provide look-alike lists that match the characteristics of your ideal audience. Accuracy is key when it comes to successfully leveraging account lists to bolster sales efforts as inaccuracies can be costly in terms of time and money—you want to be talking to the right decision-makers in the companies you’re reaching out to, after all.
2. Use Content Syndication to Warm Up Leads
Many people approach ABM campaigns thinking that they need to go in cold. While that’s a feasible option, you’re likely to get mixed results. One thing you can do is to warm up your leads with content syndication long before your sales teams engage them. The idea is to put your most meaningful and relevant content in front of your target leads. These can take any form—from whitepapers to articles, ebooks or videos, and more—but they need to answer possible pain points a lead might have.
There are many ways by which this content is delivered—via a dedicated platform, email, calls, and even social media. One advantage of a dedicated platform—like that we have at Internal Results—is that we can provide additional key engagement data like how much of your content was read, how much time was spent with your content, as well as whether it was shared to their network or not. All of these are great indicators of interest in what’s on-offer and also primes your leads for follow-up calls.
3. Send Personalized Cold Email Campaigns
There’s still value in the cold approach—reaching out to prospects on a list without warming them up. The key, however, is that you shouldn’t just dive right in. Targeted and personalized emails still count for 58% of all business revenue. That’s why you shouldn’t just lazily go for a cold email blast—it’s going to take you nowhere. More likely, emails sent out via a blast either get ignored or marked out as spam—leaving you less opportunity to reach out down the line.
Now, personalization isn’t just about slapping on a name to the email and calling it a day. Personalization should extend to the body of the email itself. Make sure that you at least touch upon the key pain points and problems that your target is facing and what customized solutions you have for them. Sure, call them by their name respectfully, but back that up with content that also speaks directly to your audience.
4. Use Intent Data to Find In-Market Buyers
Currently, only 25% of B2B businesses leverage intent data to refine their leads list to those most likely to buy. At its most basic, intent data are the signifiers and activities that show that a particular person is interested in a specific product. The depth of the data gathered determines just how close (or far) that person is from actually making a purchase. Whatever level of intent data, it is invaluable in narrowing down a leads list to those you can effectively target with account-based marketing.
There are many sources of quality intent data. The most immediately accessible is your website traffic. How many times a particular person has visited your site, what pages they perused, and how long they actually stayed are good indicators of interest that you can leverage. Additional sources include keywords used in search engines, content engagement, or even the digital footprints a person might leave on different websites.
5. Use Intent-Based Advertising
One great thing about intent data is that it allows you to tailor your advertising efforts accordingly to serve your account-based marketing efforts. For one thing, you can use built-in tools like Google’s own Custom Intent Audiences to target the right people. For another—and this is key—you can customize the content of your ads to respond effectively to the pain points that drove your target audience to search for solutions to begin with.
The key, really, is putting yourself front and center as being the go-to solutions providers that they need, given their particular problem or challenge. Rather than just throwing out a general message and hoping it sticks, you can use intent data to position your company and your products/services advantageously. In this way, your ad budget is more efficiently utilized.
6. Use LinkedIn to Your Advantage
Of all the popular social media platforms that businesses have used to sell, arguably the most effective of these for B2B is LinkedIn. A staggering 52% of buyers list LinkedIn as the most influential channel during their buyer’s journey. In fact, as recent as January 2020, it was found that over 663.3 million people were targetable by LinkedIn ads. It’s clear from the numbers that there is a lot of trust placed on the platform.
More than just the trust, however, it also boils down to the fact that LinkedIn is designed with businesses in mind from the get-go. The professional nature of the platform primes people to be more receptive to thought leadership and marketing content than in any other. You can also count on unique and more laser-focused segmentation of audiences when you do decide to push for paid promotions—more so than other social media platforms would offer.
7. Promote Great PR
Most of your paid ads will follow the tried-and-true direct call-to-action format. This is great for buyers who are already near the bottom of the sales funnel—those who are essentially good to go. It might not be so effective for those who are top-of-the-funnel. These buyers might not even be familiar with or aware of what you have to offer. In this case, consider ads that angle toward good PR your brand has received. These include awards won, recognitions earned, or particularly good case studies.
These types of ads have particular strategic advantages to offer given leads that might not know you yet. First, it boosts your credibility and builds trust. It speaks to your reliability in that you stand out positively. Second, it creates positive awareness, particularly with regard to the solutions you may have to offer them. Lastly, it forms a good foundation for reaching out to your customers. They won’t be as resistive with positive associations to your brand—just make sure to nurture them properly.
8. Create Personalized Content
68% of marketers have found that personalization of content has a high impact on ROI, while 74% have found it has a high impact on engagement. These are two metrics that are the most appealing to B2B brands, so why are only 19%of marketers doing it? It comes down to understanding what personalization entails. It isn’t that you should name all potential customers by name in every bit of content—that’s impossible, really.
Rather, it is understanding the deep needs, the internal questions your ideal customers are likely asking and looking for answers to. It is then about providing those answers in a clear and very specific way. This moves beyond your traditional marketing and sales talk and pitches, but rather providing concrete answers for your ideal customers to ground their decisions on. This can mean anything from a whitepaper to a well-researched article, webinars, videos, and even email campaigns.
9. Co-create Content with Complementary Brands
Another way to expand your reach and more effectively execute a focused, account-based marketing campaign is to collaborate on content with brands that complement yours. The thinking behind this is that their audience—which, in some cases, might even be more significant than yours—becomes yours and vice-versa. A common way this is done is guest posting in each other’s blogs with authoritative, insightful, and useful thought leadership pieces—particularly with the leaders from both companies.
Collaboration in content production also benefits each brand’s own audience as it opens them up to more options to choose from in terms of solutions and relevant products. You might, for instance, cover gaps in a wider service need that your co-brand doesn’t cover. It’s a win-win, really, provided the terms of collaboration are fair and carefully detailed to ensure that both parties get the maximum amount of exposure through the efforts as possible.
10. Publish Quality Research
Finally, it’s worth saying that if you intend to laser focus on specific accounts through ABM campaigns, you better be ready to prove you’re worth their time. Mere marketing speak just isn’t going to cut it. You need to prove that your solutions and products are really worth purchasing. The way you do that is by going to the numbers. Data backing your particular claims and benefits does wonders to push your ABM campaigns forwards.
Whitepapers and research materials, guides, and ebooks, all perhaps seeded to a broader audience via content syndication are a great way to go in this regard. Of course, the key is quality and veracity. You can’t just fudge the numbers here, you really have to show that what you offer works. Case studies integrated within these other content forms are a great way to go as they show you “in action”, so to speak, and allow your audience to see parallels between these success stories and their own companies.
Now, which account-based marketing tactics you apply will depend on what you want to achieve and—to a certain extent—your budget and manpower. You might start with a few and throw a few of these other tactics in to bolster your efforts. The key is to adapt. Build on what’s working and change up what isn’t. In that way, your campaigns never stagnate, but rather evolve in the face of the circumstances and situations you face.
If you’re looking to get ahead in your lead generations campaign or need reinforcement of your account-based marketing efforts, talk to us. At Internal Results, we not only specialize in quality, verified, first-party leads, but we also put a premium on usable intent data. We can help guide your content syndication efforts, so your best work gets placed in front of the people who matter. Reach out to us today. We’re sure we can help you.