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Account Based Marketing

A strategic framework for ABM.

ABM is a strategy which focuses on developing customized marketing programs to a targeted list of accounts. It is a long term strategy that involves cooperation between multiple departments and a commitment of resources and can take over a year to start showing ROI. However, it can be up to 77% more effective* than traditional marketing initiatives.

 

There are many facets to an ABM strategy. I usually start with the TEAM framework, review the account lifecycle and take a 360 degree account view. Of course this is just a starting point and growth and flexibility of the strategy should be expected.

TEAM Framework

Target

Who is the ideal customer profile? When planning an ABM strategy I want to make sure I create a focused list of best accounts. I would do this by creating an "Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)". This is a description of the company, not the individuals in the company or the end-user. Having multiple ICPs for different services or products is not unusual.

Engage

Getting the message in front of every decision maker in out target accounts and engage them with personalized, relevant messaging tailored to their specific needs, wants and pain points.

Activate

Knowing when to have sales reach out with personalized messaging  using account level engagement data and intent signals.

Measure

This means adopting new success metrics that focus on account penetration and your target accounts progression throughout the customer life cycle.

Account Lifecycle

Acquisition
This is where you are looking to bring net new accounts into your pipeline. The KPIs should focus on accounts that are ready for sales outreach instead of qualified leads. 


Acceleration
By coordinating with sales to focus efforts on personalized messaging, you can accelerate the pipeline. There are two KPI's that should be focus on, average deal cycle and average deal size. 


Expansion
KPI's for expansion campaigns include new pipeline creation from existing customers as well as improvements in retention rates. 

360 Account View

This is where we would need to build an account intelligence database from different data sources. There are two distinct types of data that should be included, fit data and behavioral data.

Fit Data is comprised of specific aspects of a company like their size, industry, technographic profile and organizational structure.

Behavioral Data is about what the account has done. How is the account behaving in the market. What are they researching? How has the company engaged with our content? What aspects of our business resonate with them? How has the company interacted with our sales team? How have they engaged with campaigns and digital marketing?

Each of the points outlined on this page go much deeper than the few concepts outlined here, but it's a good place to start.

ABM Software

There are several ABM software companies that can be researched and interview to see if their services might accelerate the ABM process. They include:

  • Terminus

  • Demandbase

  • Triblio

  • 6 Sense

  • Engagio

* Source: ITSMA and ABM Leadership Alliance, 2020 ABM Benchmark Study, September 2020

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