Back to blog

Step-by-step guide to starting your first ABM campaign

October 25, 2022 | Daniel Martin - guest blog

Different marketing strategies have been created over the years, especially with advanced technology. You have content marketing, social media marketing, and account based marketing (ABM), to name a few.

Account based marketing is a strategy that focuses on allocating resources to a set of target accounts. You engage each account with personalized campaigns, like marketing messages based on their needs. You can also engage them with a marketing message based on their specific attributes.

ABM takes a holistic view of B2B marketing that goes beyond mere lead generation. You can maximize the value of your largest accounts by marketing to existing customer accounts. You can encourage those existing customer accounts to upsell and cross-sell.

This guide aims to help you start your first ABM campaign, so we will walk you through the ropes. What are the benefits of using account based marketing, and how does it work? Where do you even start with this whole process and planning? Let’s go over those questions and discuss them in depth!

What are the benefits of ABM?

According to statistics, effective personalized outreach is the most effective lead generation factor. A solid 41% of marketers intend to use personalized outreach or ABM in their marketing tactics for 2022. So let’s discuss the reasons that attracted marketers to shift strategies below.

Your marketing approach is personalized

As mentioned earlier, ABM is about personalized messaging for target accounts. And that is one of the benefits of this marketing approach because customers love personalized treatment. B2B marketers take what they know about the customer and tailor their campaign’s creative assets respectively.

But before using ABM, how do you find your target accounts? This is where content marketing comes in because it focuses on strategies that generate leads. By attracting prospects, you’ll eventually find your target accounts. This will also lead to the refinement of your B2B marketing strategies.

However, content marketing covers various methods, like blogging and social media. You’ll need to either do lots of research or schedule a content marketing consulting session. The right professionals can help you get on track and started with content marketing, then ABM.

Your sales and marketing are aligned

Account based marketing encourages marketing teams and sales organizations to collaborate to become effective. They can identify target accounts, customize campaigns, and move accounts through the pipeline.

And all of these can be done before and after the lead conversion process. Their collaboration will be effective if they have clear goals to aim for—things that you must give them.

You’ll have shorter sales cycles

Usually, major purchase decisions involve going through multiple stakeholders. That slows down the sales process because it has to go up from the lower level in the organizational structure. And slowly, it works its way toward the primary decision maker of the sales process.

However, in account based marketing, the length of that cycle is shortened. That’s because all prospects are nurtured at the same time. This will then simultaneously increase customer satisfaction because of the speedy service provided.

ABM has a clear ROI

ABM is a precise and measurable method, giving you the highest ROI compared to other B2B marketing tactics. Statistically, 91% of marketers who use ABM noticed an increase in average deal size by 50%. With that, your ROI in using account based marketing is crystal clear.

You’ll have few wasted resources

A traditional marketing method would have you spend on TV ads, billboards, and newspaper columns. Those are all costly; despite that, there’s no guarantee that you’ll attract target accounts. Even content marketing uses up many resources just to generate leads.

However, with ABM, your time and resources are focused on a small number of accounts. And those accounts are most likely to be closed sales in the future. This frees up resources that might have been wasted in the past.

What is the step-by-step process of starting your first ABM campaign?

Build a strong and capable team

The problem when you think of getting into account based marketing is that it can get overwhelming. And that’s mainly because you think you have to master the method and project alone. But in reality, it’s the exact opposite of your fears and expectations.

To successfully implement an ABM campaign, you need to put together a capable team. The various departments of your company must each form a unit just for this method. And to do that, you need to align marketing and sales by establishing realistic goals and relevant metrics. By creating a well-structured team, you’ll have a well-oiled engine for your ABM campaign.

Set the right goals for your business

If sales, marketing, and management are all in the right direction, you now have to work out a joint approach. From a strategic viewpoint, it determines how potential customers are identified. The relevant factors to this are the budget, the number of employees, and the maturity of your company.

Then you need to work closely with the different departments to collect the relevant information. That information will be the basis for your team’s common objective or goal. For example, you might want to expand your market share in the existing market. Or perhaps you want to stand out from the competition and launch a new product.

The results of these analyses will be the basis for creating the accounts’ personalized campaigns. After which, you can set the course for the next steps in your strategy. But keep in mind that the content must be relevant for each target account. Hence, choosing the right channels to contact those people is significantly important.

Keep things under control with a tech stack

You must now move on to the implementation stage of policies and tools. You won’t have to tackle all of your accounts one-to-one and lose track of activities with supporting technologies. Hence, it’s recommended that you invest time and resources to create a proper tech stack.

Your tech stack includes tools for account-based advertising, management, and personalization methods. LinkedIn, for example, gives you various tools to implement your ABM campaign. Adobe also has a wide array of tools in its software to help you.

Just like your team and departments, your tools for ABM also need to be properly aligned. Hence, it’s important to choose them carefully based on the criteria for the tech stack. And if you already have a core set of tools, the new tools shouldn’t interfere with them. Every part of your tech stack should be connected to be effective.

Identify and analyze your customer base

At this point, your ABM campaign’s foundation is in place. You’ve collected the relevant information, created your team, and built a functioning tech stack. Now, you can focus on the so-called target accounts of the campaign.

Your approach goes beyond the general content strategy because you directly contact customers. You don’t address them superficially and instead, adapt to the client’s preferences in a personalized way. There’s centralization and prioritization regarding content and communication channels.

But a word of caution: don’t overburden your employees with assignments. Assign a fixed maximum number of target accounts per team. This will also promote efficiency in your work environment.

Create personalized content assets

Once you have your target accounts, start creating personalized content assets using further segmentation criteria. You can tailor content based on industry or job title to really hit the customer pain points in a specific way. Whether you choose to create content on individual companies or small segments depends on whether your campaign is made for 1:1, 1:few or 1:many customers. Your deal size should reflect that choice strongly.

Track your channels for optimal customer service

When looking for a communication channel for your ABM campaign, you’ll find a wide variety of them. You can have more than one and use them depending on your respective target account. And then, you can summarize the different content channels in one overview.

The overview you created can be used to map the different channels on the customer journey. This helps your team identify the necessary steps in maintaining contact with customers. And they can choose the best ways to do so depending on the defined deadlines and periods.

For this process, you can use the corresponding project management tools. They can display the customer journey map clearly and keep you on track.

Consistently optimize your campaign

Congratulations, your campaign is running well, and you can pat your team on the back. However, even if that is the case, there’s always room for improvement, even in ABM. Account-based marketing, like any B2B marketing, thrives on consistent optimization.

Because of that, you need to keep track of and measure your progress based on relevant figures. Then, you need to adjust or tweak your system accordingly.

Conclusion

An account based marketing campaign is one of the popular marketing strategies, as well as other forms of content marketing. The method offers many benefits, such as a personalized approach, aligned teams, and high ROI. You’ll also have shorter sales cycles and waste fewer resources because it’s a focused approach.

Hence, the steps to starting your first ABM campaign have been enumerated and explained above. You need an excellent team to work with, composed of your sales, marketing and management. All three of them need to be aligned in their objectives and methods, like the tech stack you’ll put together. You must also analyze your customer base and track your communication channels.

Once you’ve done all that and have a solid system, you have to watch out for the kinks. Something always needs improvement in an ABM campaign, and as they do, your customer satisfaction increases. It becomes an effective chain of obtaining target accounts and satisfying them. Hence, you’ll feel the said high ROI from utilizing this marketing method.


Related posts

Top personalization trends in 2022

Personalization is taking over many industries besides marketing and sales. Here's a few trends across different industries that have seen benefits from focusing on individuals or narrow customer segments rather than the masses.

Read more

#2 Buyer behavior and content personalization with Steffen Hedebrandt - CMO and Co-founder at Dreamdata

How does buyer behavior differ for companies of different size and industry when it comes to B2B software products? I had a chat with Steffen Hedebrandt - CMO and co-founder at Dreamdata - on how to personalize content for different accounts and buyer personas.

Read more