7 steps to start: How to do account-based marketing

Jennifer Mancusi 4 minute read

Account-based marketing (ABM) is a great way to increase marketing ROI. Yet, some people may ask why is account-based marketing important? The idea is simple – you aren’t trying to reach everyone, but focus on targeted accounts offering the highest potential value.

In this article, I cover how to do account-based marketing by addressing the following:

When you know how to do account-based marketing, it’s possible to say goodbye to marketing mystery and drive real results.

Learn ABM now in our exclusive workshop

What is account-based marketing?

Account-based marketing (ABM) is targeted and aims to build relationships with specific accounts rather than broad-based marketing to a wide audience. Think spear-fishing rather than throwing a net into the ocean and seeing what swims in. ABM has become increasingly popular in recent years, especially among B2B companies trying to optimize their processes for revenue generation.

If you’re new to ABM, getting started can seem daunting. But don’t worry – with a solid strategy and a few key tactics, you can begin to see the benefits of ABM for your business. Here’s how to get started with account-based marketing:

1. Make it a team sport

In many companies, ABM has been treated as just another channel owned by marketing. According to marketing expert Nirosha Methananda, that narrow approach is missing the bigger picture. She believes ABM needs to evolve into “account-based everything” – a coordinated, cross-functional strategy that pulls together marketing, sales, and other teams.

“If you’re looking at an enterprise account, you need to be strategic around it,” Nirosha said on the “Marketing, Demystified” podcast. “You need to understand who the players are, and you can’t just take a scattered approach.”

In other words, breaking down internal silos is key to ABM success. Here are three ways to drive that cross-team collaboration:

  • Involve sales and other departments in ABM strategy from the start. Get their input on target accounts, key contacts, and messaging. And keep an open dialogue to ensure the strategy continues to meet everyone’s needs.
  • Develop shared goals and metrics across teams. Instead of marketing having its own ABM metrics separate from sales, create unified targets that reinforce working together towards the same outcomes.
  • Consider embedding team members and combining marketing and sales talent into integrated account teams. Having day-to-day collaboration builds relationships and alignment from the ground up.

ABM expert Pam Didner said on “Marketing, Demystified” that getting the right level of buy-in from the right people is important before even starting.

“If you want to do ABM without budgets, you are setting yourself up not to make it work,” Pam asserted. For Pam, proper investment in technology, content, and human resources is non-negotiable for ABM success. So, while collaborative account planning comes first, the rubber truly hits the road when management commits to budget.

2. Define objectives

After confirming the need for ABM and getting buy-in, clearly define the objectives you want to accomplish. While driving revenue is the ultimate goal, think about what leading indicators can help you measure progress toward that goal. For example, objectives could include increasing brand awareness within target accounts, generating more sales-qualified leads, securing meetings with key decision-makers, etc. Whatever objectives you set, make sure sales and marketing leaders agree.

3. Define your ideal customer profile

The first step in ABM is to identify the accounts that are most likely to be a good fit for your product or service. Define your ideal customer profile (ICP), which includes characteristics such as industry, company size, location, and budget. Once you have a clear picture of your ICP, you can begin to identify the accounts that fit that profile.

Read next: Why Cutting Marketing Budget Costs More Than You Save

4. Build a target account list

Once you have identified your ICP, determine who to reach out to specifically. This list should be based on factors such as revenue potential, fit with your product or service, and overall strategic importance. You can use a variety of tools to build your list, including social media, industry publications, and online directories.

When building your target account list, don’t forget to consider the expansion potential of your existing customers.  ABM is not just for bringing in new logos from a list of companies you WANT to work with but can be a great tactic for growing revenue from companies you’re already working with.

5. Create personalized content

ABM is all about personalization, so you’ll need to create content that is tailored to each of your target accounts. This can include case studies, white papers, webinars, and other materials specifically designed to speak to each account’s unique challenges and opportunities.

Pro Tip: Start small! In order to execute a truly personalized ABM strategy, you won’t be able to target every account at once.  Start small and scale as you perfect your process.

6. Engage with your target accounts

Once you have your target account list and personalized content, it’s time to start engaging with your target accounts. This can include a variety of tactics, such as targeted ads, personalized emails, and social media outreach. Focus on building relationships with key stakeholders at each account and to provide them with the information and resources they need to make an informed decision about your product or service.  An omnichannel approach will yield the best results.

Another Pro Tip:  ABM does NOT equal tech! You don’t need an ABM display ad platform to do ABM.  Again, start small with how you deliver your personalized content.  You may not need the tech at all.

Read next: Transform Your Brand Positioning, Transform Your Growth

7. Measure your results

As with any marketing campaign, measuring your results and adjusting your strategy is important. You can use various metrics to track the success of your ABM campaign, including engagement rates, conversion rates, and revenue generated. By monitoring these metrics and making adjustments, you can ensure that your ABM campaign delivers the desired results.

Read next: 5 B2B Marketing KPIs You Should be Looking At

Final thoughts

Account-based marketing is a powerful approach to marketing that can help B2B companies build relationships with key accounts and generate more revenue. By following the steps, you can start with ABM and begin seeing the benefits for your business. Focus on personalization and building relationships with key stakeholders at each target account and ABM can be a gold mine.



Related content

Discover a wealth of topics, insights, and exclusive resources from our industry experts.