Seven steps to getting started with Account-Based Marketing

Gavin Dimmock, Vice President and GM of EMEA for Terminus, offers a seven-step guide to getting started with Account-Based Marketing.

If you’ve been keeping up with our Account-Based Marketing (ABM) blog series, you now know what ABM is and understand its history and current trends. Now, onto the gritty stuff so you can walk the talk: how to actually create an ABM program! Below, we’ve outlined in detail seven steps to build an ABM program from the ground up. Let’s get started, shall we?

Step 1: Assemble Your ABM Team
To begin planning your first ABM campaign, first you need your core ABM team. Members will differ depending on your organizational needs, size, etc. At minimum though, it should consist of team leads from sales, sales development, customer success, and marketing. An ideal ABM dream team will include the following roles:

  • Business/Sales Development Reps
  • Sales Database Administrator
  • Marketing Operations Manager
  • Content Manager
  • Graphic Designer
  • Account Executives
  • Sales Leader
  • Customer Success Managers
  • Executive Stakeholders

Step 2: Define Your Goals and Strategy
Now that your main account-based marketing team is set up, onto defining your ABM goals. What do you wish to achieve with ABM? This will inform your strategy and ensure everyone on your ABM team is on the same page, which is very important!

Some common goals of ABM include:

  • Lowering cost of customer acquisition
  • Increasing brand awareness
  • New business generation
  • Pipeline acceleration
  • Customer retention or expansion
  • Product adoption
  • Shortening the sales cycle time period

Step 3: Select YOUR Technology
It’s time to choose your ABM weapons of choice. ABM, as you know, means understanding exactly who your most likely future customers are and then deploying an immersive and personalized end-to-end buyer experience for them. Using a smart tech stack is an absolute must for this. Here are the major must-haves when considering ideal ABM tech:

  • Attribution
  • Chat
  • CRM/Marketing Automation
  • Digital Advertising
  • Web Personalization
  • Email Signature Marketing
  • Sales Engagement
  • Intent Data
  • Direct Mail

Beyond cost considerations like subscription/service fees and implementation, another very important factor that impacts your tech stack is data. You’ll be collecting lots of rich analytics from each channel/solution above, but you’ll also need to see the full picture. Rather than purchasing a bunch of different single point solutions clumsily strung together, invest in a full ABM platform that ensures smooth data flow and allows full access for all stakeholders seeking one main source of truth.

For more, check out this infographic that lays out the modern marketer’s technology stack.

Step 4: Identify and Prioritize Target Accounts
Next, it’s time to define your company’s ideal customer profile (ICP). This is a description of the company – not the individual buyer or end user – that’s perfect for your product or service. Your ICP should focus on relevant characteristics of your target accounts such as:

  • Industry/vertical
  • Number of employees/company size
  • Annual revenue
  • Budget
  • Geography
  • Their current technology stack
  • Size of their own customer base
  • Level of organizational or technological maturity

With a defined ICP, you can now build detailed and dynamic audience segments full of future customers using first- and third-party data sources. Use intent data with your website activity and CRM data to further segment and prioritize these accounts by highest likelihood to purchase. This foundation will enable shorter sales cycles for your sales teams, fewer resources used, and, ultimately, the ability to provide a more personalized and helpful experience for your future customers. More data means a clearer picture of the accounts you’re targeting, so it’s important to collect all kinds of intent data from multiple sources.

Step 5: Select Your Channels and Craft Your Messaging
Delivering consistent, tailored messaging across many channels to your target accounts automatically places you ahead of your competition. Individually, particular channels may feel oversaturated and become less impactful. However, magic happens when used in sync and with a unified, personalized message. Find the best way to get your message in front of the right audiences, wherever they are.

Currently, these are the top channels to consider for your ABM strategy:

  • Targeted Display Advertising
  • Retargeting
  • LinkedIn Sponsored Content
  • Web Personalization
  • Account-Based Chat
  • Email Signature Marketing 

Step 6: Execute Campaigns and Begin Sales Outreach
ABM works best when all revenue teams are on the same wavelength. In other words, your marketing and sales teams should strive to be in concert with one another. As you target your top accounts with personalized advertising and start to see them interact with your brand, bring together the data, visibility, and alerts your sales and customer success teams need for outreach. Try these three substeps:

Centralize Account Information
First, string together relevant account and contact-level activity, engagement, relationship, and intent trends directly into your CRM.

Enable Faster, Better, Outreach
Track who and how many stakeholders from each account are visiting your website. Or, show your sales teams each touchpoint so they understand how an account interacts with your brand.

Understand Who to Talk to and What to Say
Then, use your engagement data to prioritize a list for your sales teams so they can get to work. Contact-level intent data allows sales to adapt their outreach to each prospect’s needs and interests.

Step 7: Evaluate and Optimize
Last but not least, the most important component of a successful ABM strategy is the ability to evaluate what’s working best (and what’s not). Constantly analyze campaign performance based on the channels that you use, shared content, messaging, and the like. Learn what works best and then do more of that. On the flip side, do less of what’s not resonating with your audiences. When one campaign ends, be sure to take the time to measure valuable KPIs to apply those learnings to your next targeted campaign. Effective and intelligent marketing translates to continuous optimization and improvement. Thanks to data, we can work smarter, not harder. But, that’s only after you’ve determined which KPIs are most important to measure.

More on that soon… For now, each of these steps (and much more) are covered in greater detail in our “Blueprint to Account-Based Marketing” eBook. Check it out here!