ABM Level: Expert. Plus 6 ‘gets’ to help you get there.

Account Based Marketing – Makes sense doesn’t it? Of course it does. Treat a single account like a single market. I like the sound of that approach, it’ll work. And it does, but so many ABM campaigns fall short of what they could be with just a little more effort. Give a shit about your ABM campaigns and the results will be clear for all to see. If you take nothing else from this blog it’s that… give a shit about your ABM campaigns.

The late 2000’s and early 2010’s saw a boom in marketing technology. Social listening tools, marketing automation platforms, PURLS, decent CRM tools, content creation platforms, analytics, programmatic media, reverse-IP, re-targeting, point and click content management systems, bloody everything as-a-service.

Marketers went from throwing DM out the door and hoping for the best to being able to personalise, analyse, target, segment, listen, test, improve, make data-driven decisions and it’s a combination all these things that makes ABM what it is; the single best way to engage with customers and prospects, whilst delivering highly qualified sales leads to the business. And what marketer doesn’t want a piece of that action?

Before we start looking at what good looks like, here’s a few misconceptions

#1 – ABM doesn’t just apply to existing accounts – in fact, quite the contrary, if a prospect is important enough, show them, through a great ABM experience.

#2 – ABM is not a series of personalised emails (we’ve been doing that badly for years). Yes they may form a part of an ABM program, but alone? Forget it.

#3 – ABM is expensive. Damn right it can be, but it doesn’t have to be. If you really, really understand the target, low-cost tactics can be devastatingly powerful.

So, sales have approached you, they need more business, they have given you the name of a customer, or a prospect and in their usual fashion, chucked it as far as they can over the marketing fence, grabbed a beer and sat down on their backsides, waiting for the leads to flow. So whatcha gonna do? Here are some tips:

6 ‘gets’ to great ABM

Get clarity on your objectives
Sounds obvious doesn’t it? But I’ve seen hundreds of campaigns run in the past with no clear objective from the start. So what are they? SQLs? MQLs? Opportunities? $5m qualified pipeline? A positive shift in perception? Do you know the current perception? An improved CSAT or Net Promoter Score? It could be all of these things, some of these things, none of these things… but before you start, be clear.

Get researching
Whether it’s online, offline, telephone based, face to face, your ABM campaign will only be as good as the research you do during the planning phase. Interrogate your sales team. You need to know the end user’s drivers, challenges, objectives, their personal likes and dislikes, what they had for breakfast and where they like to go on holiday. Stalk them – across all channels. Build a persona, not a broad, marketing, campaign persona, but a persona based on one. Them. And if you have to do it ten times, a hundred times or a thousand times, do it, because this is where the magic begins.

Get personal
I remember my first meeting with Kirsty Dawe from Really B2B, a good meeting over a G&T in Smiths of Smithfield. She weaved in and out of business and personal chat and within 20 minutes we were talking about the renovations I was doing on my home, how hard it is to manage them and a job at the same time, how hard it is to find the time to relax… At this point, I wasn’t a customer, just a prospect.

Two days later, a box arrives, A Really B2B box, full of things to help me through the renovation. A book on renovating your home, a beer for relaxing, some coffee and a mug to get the energy levels up, a pair of earplugs to drown out the noise and lots of other home-related things. She made me feel like I was important to her and her business and that she had listened to me. I’d just been AMB’d and for once, it felt nice to be on the end of a ‘pitch.’

Ask yourself this “How many of your customers and prospects feel like you give a shit about them?”

And that right there is the magic of ABM.

One to one campaigns. Highly targeted, hyper personalised, feel good campaigns.

Get creative
B2B is often tarred with a brush, that we are not as cool or as innovative or as ground-breaking as our B2C counterparts. Well, we only have ourselves to blame. Too many campaigns in my opinion are safe. “We’ve always done it this way.” “It always gets results.” Time to innovate! And no better way than with great creative as part of an ABM program. We’re about to run a campaign into a travel company. There are 8 key targets who all have pretty much, their own campaign, completely personalised to them.

We know their challenges, we know their objectives, we have crafted an individual set of messages to each, on how NIIT Technologies can help them achieve their goals, all delivered through a myriad of tactics: email, InMails, LinkedIn sponsored content, telemarketing, face to face events, direct mail, premium direct mail, all pushing them to a completely personalised website for each contact. The premium direct mail piece will be a mock travel case, with the following inside: a personalised hardback book detailing the individuals challenges and how we can help overcome them, coupled with examples of the great work we have done in their industry. The book will have a Near Field Technology (NFT) tag in, which when scanned by a smart phone will take them straight to their dedicated website. A website built for 1, not a PURL, not simple personalisation, but an entire site built for one person, based on all the things we know about them. Powerful huh? We’ll also include a paperback book that relates to their personal interests, this shows we’ve taken the time to understand them as people, not just decision makers. The case will have a mock baggage tag attached to the front in NIIT branding. Here’s a sneak preview:

Get a good agency (if you need one)
This will largely depend on the structure and resources in your team, as well as your budget. However, I’ve always found that creativity is better from the outside. It’s so easy to conform to the brand when you’re in an internal team and go with a safe option. ABM is about standing out. Be bold with your agency brief, unleash their creativity, that’s what we’re paying them for ultimately. Don’t be scared to push the boundaries. People don’t remember safe campaigns, they don’t very often reply to them either.

Get Spending
If you’re not spending at least 25% plus of your marketing budget on ABM then you’re probably spending it in the wrong areas. You’ll find a million different views online about marketing budget allocation. For me, everything we spend should be directly or indirectly attributed to generating demand. ABM in my opinion is the single most effective way to achieve this, so allocate some decent budget to it, do it properly and let the results speak for themselves.

7 Key Takeaways

  1. Be really clear about your goals before you start.
  2. Research, research, research. Then research some more.
  3. Make it personal to the individual based on the research you’ve done.
  4. Deploy great creative across multiple channels – you have to stand out.
  5. Use an agency that knows ABM and isn’t scared to push creative boundaries.
  6. Allocate the right budget to ABM and track the results closely.
  7. Give a shit about ABM

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