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Account-Based Marketing: Best Practices

To implement an account-based marketing (ABM) user acquisition strategy, experts recommend that organizations kick-start their ABM process using artificial intelligence (AI), make data-based decisions for all high-value accounts and partnering with the sales team. Experts recommend a partnership between the sales and marketing teams for an effective account-based marketing program.

1. KICK-START THE ABM PROCESS USING ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI)

  • According to Marketo, an Adobe Company and leader in marketing software & solutions, organizations should kick-start their account-based marketing (ABM) strategy implementation using artificial intelligence (AI).
  • According to Infer, artificial intelligence is like fuel needed to power/fire up account-based marketing strategies.
  • Identifying and calling individual users (prospective accounts) by phone for marketing without the help of AI/data analysis does not give satisfactory results for modern buyers. Internet users leave a digital trail which comprises as many as 700 signals that if decode accurately using artificial intelligence, can reveal if they’re an excellent prospect for targeting.

2. PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN SALES AND MARKETING TEAMS

  • Forbes web recommends alignment between the sales and marketing teams to build an effective account-based marketing program.
  • Senior managers that are managing, and executing account-based marketing programs are encouraged to do so in partnership with the sales executive and demand generation teams as this will drive faster platform adoption.
  • Collaborating closely with the sales unit to develop strategies, processes, and content is required to achieve best-in-class ABM programs and “substantial in-account pipeline growth.”
  • By aligning its marketing and business development teams to worked closely together to gain a deep understanding of a prospective customer account (VITA’s) issues, priorities, and needs, Northrop Grumman leveraged on account-based marketing techniques to win a $2 billion contract.
  • The marketing teams of Snowflake, in collaboration with its sales team, has implemented an ABM solution that achieves 50% of the company downloaded from top 500 target customer accounts.

3. MAKE CUSTOMER DATA-BASED DECISIONS FOR HIGH-VALUE ACCOUNTS

  • Proceed by identifying the right accounts for the plan to target. Use customer’s data to determine the proper target accounts for the focus of account-based marketing.
  • Firmographic and technographic customer data (such as demographics and psychographics) are required to identify best-fit accounts.
  • Forbes recommends using data to target only the accounts that are most likely to close as a single right lead will generate more revenue than hundreds of the “wrong leads combined.”
  • Lead scoring using customer data is important as about 77% of all new business revenue originate from the top “26% of A and B leads.”
  • SalesLoft is one example of an enterprise that recently used its technographic customer data to identify its ideal customer profile (ICP) for account-based marketing. SalesLoft was able to target accounts having identified its perfect customer profile and closed a “$100k enterprise account.”

4. TIER PROSPECTIVE ACCOUNTS INTO GROUPS

  • According to Marketo, ABM essential strategies include “account segmentation” (account grouping).
  • Thomson Reuters has scaled its growth by leveraging on tiering of its prospective customers and grouping them into three groups/tiers for personalized communications for each group.
  • Through a strategic account tiering process based on fit, deal size, and buying cycle stage as well as implementing proven account-based marketing methods, the Thomson Reuters team recently implemented a scalable program that resulted in about “95% win rate, 80% of which was from renewal or expansion opportunities.”

5. USE DEDICATED PERSONNEL AND PERSONALIZED REACHOUT

  • Every message and communication/interaction must be tailored to address “the specific needs of prospective customers” at company-specific levels.
  • Target the customers should be reached using personalized adverts.
  • With help from its sales team, the marketing unit of SnowFlake has implemented a personalized messaging ABM solution that attracts about 50% of its content download traffic originating from the top 500 targeted accounts.
  • By pro grammatically personalizing their reach out in combination with some already discussed strategies, several organizations, including Thomson Reuters, have achieved up to 95% win rates in their ABM implementation and scale growth.
ACCOUNT-BASED MARKETING BEST PRACTICES (WITH CASE STUDIES)

6. MEASURE SUCCESS, ANALYZE, AND OPTIMIZE

  • After an ABM campaign has been implemented for 30 to 60 days, it is vital to measure as well as evaluate the effectiveness of the account-based marketing efforts by asking some critical questions.
  • Marketo web recommends regularly measuring and optimizing the ABM process holistically. This will help improve results at a pace that fast enough to remain relevant based on the comprehensive and latest states of targeted account profiles.
  • Tracking goal completion helps marketers follow through the path of engagement. Destination goals also help in identifying problems that occur in the funnel path of ABM campaigns. The best thing to do is track details like customer lifetime value, bounce rates, etc., and analyze, as well as adjust the tracking process as at when necessary.
  • After identifying the right target, Pramata uses “new metrics” to align with its updated strategy, consistently measure its success in relevant terms thereby no longer measuring its “success primarily on vanity metrics” such as impressions and page views. Pramata has measured and revealed a 60% reduction in its customer acquisition cost when compared to traditional inbound techniques, a 32% reduction in its average deal time and 2.5 times increase in the “mid-funnel pipeline.”

7. USE A MULTI-CHANNEL APPROACH FOR COMMUNICATION

  • According to Marketo, an Adobe Company, account-based marketing should be implemented across channels.
  • The use of a multi-channel approach for ad communication is known to give better results in AMB.
  • It is important not to overwhelm account prospects when using multi-channel by “bombarding them with repeat messages” across several channels. Do not hit a prospective customer with the same message repeatedly.
  • After utilizing several channels (an omnichannel approach) to display ads via “direct mail, email, and other channels” Invoca has noticed an increase of about 50-200% in the number of conversions and opportunities that arise from the more significant number of people that see their Terminus ads.

Account-Based Marketing: Case Studies

SalesLoft and Snowflake have successfully implemented account-based marketing strategies for user acquisition. SalesLoft achieved a 600% reach through Account-Based Marketing (ABM) while Snowflake’s 1-to-1 ABM campaigns drive 50% of content consumption.

SalesLoft

  • SalesLoft is a company that designs and develops prospecting automation software for its clients.
  • The company has had success with account-based marketing through its programs that are automated across various platforms including mobile, social, video, and display, just by clicking a button.
  • SalesLoft had its sales development team at work every week identifying new accounts to target.
  • The list of targeted accounts was prepared through a collaboration between the sales and marketing departments.
  • The company’s marketing team was responsible for developing advertising programs that target accounts for each of the companies that the sales development representatives (SDR) team were trying to reach.
  • From the prepared list of targeted accounts, each sales development representative (SDR) was assigned about 100 accounts to pursue within a month.
  • The SDR’s job was to do everything possible to catch the attention of people within the companies on their list—with the goal of setting appointments for account executives.
  • Through the targeted advertising, the company was able to increase its reach by over 600% among the accounts that were being targeted by the sales team.
  • Additionally, awareness was created among the influencers and key decision makers within the targeted companies.
  • To date, SalesLoft still leverages ABM to measure its most impactful activities and accelerate enterprise acquisition.
  • According to an article published on the ABM in Action website, SalesLoft in 2017 achieved a 115% increase in conversions following the implementation of ABM strategy.
ACCOUNT-BASED MARKETING BEST PRACTICES (WITH CASE STUDIES)

Snowflake

  • It has been two years since Snowflake started experimenting with account-based marketing. Today, the company has been able to refine and create a scaled account-based marketing practice that enables it to invest in high-quality content experiences that are designed in collaboration with sales.
  • The ABM process at Snowflake comprises four steps including: Target, Reach, Engage, and Measure.
  • At Snowflake, a team of six able account-based marketers run over 500 concurrent 1-to-1 campaigns.
  • The campaigns are developed in partnership with sales representatives who are well conversant with the accounts. It gives rise to content that genuinely adds value to the readers.
  • Snowflake’s strategy is to first build credibility with its target audience, and then employ retargeting tactics with those that engage to drive traditional conversions through free trials or weekly demos.
  • Snowflake is reaping big from its account based marketing tactics with over 50% of the content consumption on the company’s website generated from ABM related ads, and 50% of the content that is downloaded originating from the top 500 target accounts.
  • Click-through rates increased 149X on 1-to-11 ABM ads.
  • Targeted organizations consume about half of Snowflake’s content.
  • The company achieved 100% engaged accounts.
  • Also, the ABM team at Snowflake is delivering engaged accounts driven from targeted lists made in collaboration with the sales team.
  • According to Daniel G. Day, Snowflake’s ABM Director, he developed an ABM program that’s skyrocketed Snowflake’s sales results and through the same, the company has achieved 10x growth.
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