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Putting ABM into Practice: 5 Tips to Get You Started

by Lori Maupas

Suddenly, everyone’s talking about Account-Based Marketing (ABM). It’s not really new, but it’s the newest buzzword among sales and marketing folks who have known all along that the best way to sell a product is directly to the customer with a personalized message. So why all the recent hype?

Well, thanks to emerging tools and technologies such as Progress Sitefinity, ABM is becoming more of a mainstream marketing approach. It enables marketers to focus their efforts on the target prospect with a tailored, personalized message. Before ABM, marketers would combine various techniques—integrated marketing, multi-channel programs and a sales-based marketing approach—for targeting “higher-value” accounts. Coordinating these efforts was time-consuming and costly, and capturing and analyzing data to help improve your effectiveness was unlikely—maybe impossible. ABM changes all that.

ABM yields the highest ROI of any marketing approach. In fact, according to ITSMA, 80% of marketers measuring ROI say ABM outperforms other marketing investments. Altera Group found 84% of marketers said ABM had significant benefits to retaining and expanding existing client relationships. But it has to be done right. Doing it wrong can damage the relationships you’ve built with key targets. Here are five tips to help get your ABM strategy off the ground:

1. Work hard to Align Sales and Marketing: ABM enables you to deliver sales-oriented messaging along with value propositions that speak directly to individual buyers. But tight alignment between marketing and sales is essential to success. A recent Forbes article notes B2B organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing operations achieved 24% faster three-year revenue growth and 27% faster three-year profit growth (source: SiriusDecisions). For ABM to be effective, sales needs to inform marketing about which accounts to target, approve the lists and provide insight to help mold the message. Marketing needs to incorporate feedback from sales in all communications and ensure well-timed delivery. When everything comes together, conversions can skyrocket.

2. Don’t Move Forward without Data: You have to understand the needs and pain points of your accounts before you can propose solutions to their problems. This requires data—accurate, timely data and the ability to analyze it. For ABM, you may also need contact data for C-level executives to send hard-hitting direct mail pieces or personalized follow-up emails. In addition to pulling data from your CRM, you can also leverage third-party resources and lists.

3. Use Every Available Channel: Today there are so many ways to connect with your customers, and every customer has different preferences. Pay equal attention to all channels—social, website, email, direct mail, phone contact and more. Consider how two or more channels can be used in concert to maximize the effectiveness of your efforts. For example, use the phone to follow up on a personalized email. Use email to send tailored content or drive traffic to a personalized landing page. Send direct physical mail to strategic accounts, then follow up with email, phone or an in-person meeting. The possibilities are endless.

4. Make Sure You Measure: The goal of ABM is to increase engagement with your brand within target accounts. As such, it’s important to measure prospect activity levels and engagement with your website to determine whether or not your campaigns are working. Conversion metrics and sales cycle length are also important metrics that help gauge the effectiveness of ABM. Fortunately, we have access to tools that create easy-to-digest, detailed reports you can tailor to different internal audiences. Some solutions enable you to link marketing activities to various stages of the sales funnel, as well, so you have a complete picture of your buyer’s journey from the first inquiry through implementation, enabling accurate campaign attribution. This insight is critical for refining campaigns and optimizing your strategy.

5. Choose the Right Marketing Technologies: Of course, all this depends on choosing the right technologies to execute on your ABM strategy. ABM requires careful coordination of many moving parts—lists, channels, content and data, to name just a few. And you have a lot of vendors to choose from. Look for platforms that provide multiple pieces of the ABM puzzle—predictive analytics, database management and automation, and personalization, to name a few. Does the solution enable you to measure ABM campaign metrics and track ROI? Will the solution integrate with existing systems? Does the vendor provide reliable support? These are all critical factors in delivering on the promise of ABM.

Progress can help you deliver on your ABM strategy. With Progress Sitefinity CMS and the Sitefinity Digital Experience Cloud (DEC), you can build engaging websites and track, analyze and shape every stage of the customer journey. Sitefinity DEC provides a 360-degree view of each customer along with measurement tools and personalization capabilities, so you can act on insight and provide best next experiences to optimize your impact on target accounts. Watch this video to find out more or start a trial.

2 comments

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  1. Chris Johnson Sep 14, 2016
    Very interesting article
  2. Cheri Sep 16, 2016
    Nice work!!  I need to try this type of marketing!

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