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What is account based marketing (ABM)?

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Author photo: Katrina Oko-Odoi

Katrina Oko-Odoi

Sr. Content Marketing Manager

When you run a business, every new client you earn feels like a victory. While each client matters, sometimes your efforts are best spent going after bigger fish. After all, one $1 million contract easily dwarfs a handful of $5,000 contracts.

That’s why B2B marketers invest in account based marketing (ABM). With ABM, you funnel all of your marketing resources towards a small list of high-value target accounts. It’s a great way to save time and money, but ABM means you have to create personalized campaigns for each target account on your list—and that’s no small feat.

ABM might be a long-term game, but this marketing strategy has a huge payoff when you do it right. Let’s dive into how ABM works, why it matters, and 4 strategies you should follow for smarter ABM.

What is account based marketing?

As a B2B marketer, you know just how competitive and difficult it is to do lead generation. Many leads ghost you, which can waste thousands of dollars and hours of time.

Surely there’s a better way to find customers?

Instead of targeting every business decision maker under the sun, ABM helps you focus your efforts so you close bigger deals for less hassle. ABM is a holistic marketing approach that focuses on the quality of leads instead of quantity. Plus, there’s no need to worry about lead qualification because you already know the customer is a match.

Instead of pursuing a huge pool of potential customers, an account based marketing strategy guides brands to pursue just 5 - 10 key accounts. From there, you find the right contacts for these accounts to get in front of a group of decision makers. Once you know your target audience, you can start nurturing relationships that will (hopefully) lead to a contract.

Why is account based marketing important?

It might take more time to build relationships with these leads, but the payoff of a high-value account makes your investment in ABM tactics worthwhile. Account based marketing gives you sweet wins like:

  • Scoring bigger accounts: On average, account based marketing helps B2B marketers increase their contract values by 171%. Again, there’s nothing wrong with having a handful of smaller clients, but if you need to bring in the big guns to boost your revenue, ABM will make you profitable.
  • Finally aligning sales and marketing: It’s hard to get sales and marketing on the same page because these two teams are often very siloed. But when you implement ABM, you’ll have no choice but to align sales and marketing. With an ABM platform like Copper, your team can work off the same target account list, so they’ll know exactly what they need to do next.
  • Improving customer experience: Instead of spreading yourself thin by targeting everyone and their mother, ABM narrows your team’s focus. That means you can create more personalized, context-driven campaigns that get prospects’ attention. Since lead nurturing is all about forging deep relationships with your customers, ABM is a must to delight your clients at every stage of the buyer’s journey.
  • Measuring accurate ROI: Return on investment is an important metric, but it’s normally difficult to calculate. Well, when you go all-in on ABM, you’re only working with a handful of potential clients. It’s easy to track your investment and client contracts in a CRM like Copper.

87% of B2B marketers say their account based marketing campaigns out-perform their other digital marketing initiatives. You’re free to continue running your other campaigns, but when you need a bigger payoff from your marketing efforts, ABM is the way to go.

4 B2B account based marketing strategy best practices

Account based marketing is a popular approach for B2B marketing, but not all B2B businesses go all-in on ABM. If it’s time for your biz to try something new, you can get more mileage out of your ABM efforts with these 4 best practices

1) Marry ABM with sales enablement

The more you support your sales team, the better they’ll perform. Fortunately, you can use ABM to boost your sales enablement. With a system like Copper, your sales and marketing teams can seamlessly pass B2B leads to the right team member at the right time.

Instead of asking your sales team to focus on separate goals from your marketing team, their shared focus means everyone works the same leads at once. That gives your sales team more support from accounting, marketing, customer service and other departments so they can transform relationships into revenue.

2) Capture the right metrics and KPIs

ABM is easier to measure than other marketing strategies, but you still need to hold your team accountable to the right metrics. After all, the better your data, the easier it is to understand which ABM marketing efforts are working.

B2B marketers usually track account based marketing KPIs like:

  • Deal creation
  • Close rates
  • Account engagement rates
  • Account penetration
  • Close time

You might want to track more KPIs for your own team, but the goal is to see how quickly you’re closing deals, how deeply leads engage with your brand and how much revenue you earn. If leads are taking too long to convert or you aren’t closing specific accounts, look at your metrics to pinpoint the problem.

3) Invest in inbound content marketing

You’re free to try other tactics, like outbound calls, but that’s a sure-fire way to turn people off. Don’t approach the relationship too aggressively: inbound marketing is a great way to nurture ABM contacts in a low-cost way.

ABM and inbound marketing are different disciplines, but they go together like peanut butter and jelly. Inbound marketing gives your ABM leads the exact information they need, when they need it. That makes it much easier to get your prospects’ attention, especially when you invest in solid content marketing.

Instead of writing general content that applies to an entire industry, inbound marketing with ABM is tailored to your ideal customer profile. For example, if you’re targeting Acme Brick as a potential client, you need to create white papers, case studies or blogs that touch on Acme’s specific pain points. Take the same approach with the other contacts on your target account list to earn more high-value accounts.

4) Leverage a CRM platform

ABM saves time because you’re only focusing on a handful of accounts. But once you add a few leads to each account, the data really starts to add up. To keep all of your information straight, make sure you use a CRM like Copper to back up your ABM tactics.

Because B2B buyers always hire vendors by committee, you’ll need to track your touchpoints with multiple contacts at each company. Copper automatically logs every micro-interaction you have with these customers, which makes it easier to nurture relationships at scale.

With a CRM like Copper, you can:

  • Score leads
  • Ensure you log the correct data for each contact
  • Use marketing automation to streamline your workflow
  • Reach out to leads exactly when they want to hear from you
  • Transform lead generation data into actionable tasks

If you’re already investing in ABM, why not take your strategy as far as it can go? Plug your marketing strategy into an ABM platform like Copper to automatically nurture leads as you grow.

Master account based marketing at scale

Account based marketing saves you more time and money while improving the customer experience. It’s a win-win for everyone involved, but your team needs to carefully implement ABM to get more mileage out of your efforts. Follow these 4 best practices to jumpstart your foray into ABM.

It’s time to humanize the marketing experience. Try Copper for free to see how it helps B2B businesses create deeper relationships and long-term, recurring revenue.

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Instant activation, no credit card required. Give Copper a try today.

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