How To Accelerate Success With Account-Based Marketing: 3 Key Tips

***Originally posted in the ABM in Action E-Zine here***

ABM has grown from an interesting trend for B2B companies to a full-blown, widely accepted model for sales and marketing teams to go to market. The ROI is real. According to a research report published by TOPO for the ABM Leadership Alliance, companies implementing ABM reported and average of 171% lift in annual contract value (ACV) when comparing pre- and post- ABM periods. This overwhelming success with ABM can be attributed to ABM practitioners nurturing the perception of one-to-one personalization. From the first touch point where a major account’s contact lands on a website, to every email they open, world-class ABM practitioners are dedicated to ensuring customers feel special throughout their entire journey.

The notion of personalization might lead many people to assume scalability isn’t possible. And, that can be true if your team isn’t equipped with the right tools. While trying to achieve personalization, sales and marketing teams are typically faced with three headwinds that can make the efforts far too difficult or the returns too modest to pay off:

  • Bad Target Account Lists — Getting your list of ABM target accounts right is mission-critical. If your team finds the task of delivering personalized experiences at scale daunting, your target account list may end up being incomplete or too small. On the other hand, if your team does a poor job of selecting target accounts, you may end up with ill-fitting companies on your list, resulting in wasted time and little success. 
  • Inability To Find Key Decision Makers — One thing that successful ABM practitioners know is that ABM, at its core, is all about people. People still pick up phones and sign contracts. So, the ability to source high-quality contacts who can serve as decision makers and deal champions are key to a team’s success with ABM.
  • Inability To Run Personalized Campaigns At Scale — Once teams have settled on the right accounts and the right contacts within those accounts, the daunting task of personalizing each customer’s journey remains. The key here is perception — perception of personalization. It’s a fool’s errand to try to deliver personalized content to each account on a target list. The time commitment alone would take thousands of hours annually, and it’s simply too expensive.

To be successful with ABM, sales and marketing teams need to find a way to overcome these three headwinds. The good news is that there are many services and tools that equip customers for success, such as offering unlimited access to a Rolodex of business lists to kick off ABM efforts. To ensure your ABM efforts are as efficient and effective as possible, try implementing these three tips:

  1. Build The Best Target Account List
    Be specific in selecting target accounts, but not overly stringent. I recommend that marketers carefully line out the right fit-based account characteristics, and then build a comprehensive list that encompasses all the prospects that match up. Focus on hard-and-fast firmographics, such as industry, number of employees and annual revenue, that aren’t likely to change within the calendar year and render your product or service obsolete.
  1. Increase Contact Coverage To Avoid Single-Threaded Accounts
    I’ve seen marketers aim to minimize the number of leads they get because years of buying lead lists has trained them to think more records equal more money. This doesn’t have to be the case. Before embarking on your ABM journey, look for services that offer unlimited access to a list of business contacts. The ability to source as many contacts as needed to find information on champions, influencers, executives, users and even gatekeepers will drive deals across the finish line.
  1. Segment With Rich Business Signals For Personalized Campaigns
    It’s impossible to have a customized message for each contact in your account list. The key is segmenting your account list into smaller groups of very similar companies. Then, with a good content marketer and the ability to focus on targeted groups within your contact list, you can make the perception of personalization a reality.

In-depth personalization might sound complicated and time-consuming to achieve, but given the right tools and focus, sales and marketing teams can easily apply this type of personalization for all prospects. The truth is, there are many things to consider and work on with ABM, but in my opinion, the three covered here are critical.

Beau Scroggins leads product management at Radius. He’s currently focused on helping go-to-market teams of all shapes and sizes deliver great customer experiences.