Chances are, you’re already using some aspects of an account-based marketing (ABM) strategy in your business. Most B2B marketers know who their most valuable accounts are and try to focus on and engage with those more than others. But not every B2B business is doing a good job tracking those efforts in a measurable way. That’s where an ABM and account-based (ABX) strategy comes into play.
What Is ABM or ABX?
Account-based marketing (ABM), or account-based experience (ABX), is a strategic marketing approach primarily used by B2B companies. B2B purchases are typically made by a buying committee composed of multiple people at different levels within an organization. Many of the people on these buying committees will end up in your lead funnel at some point. With ABM, instead of marketing and selling to these individual leads, you’ll be marketing and selling to accounts.
The marketing and sales teams work together to identify and target high-value accounts that have a higher likelihood of becoming customers. They personalize marketing and sales efforts to meet the needs and interests of each account. This can include creating customized content, developing targeted advertising campaigns and using personalized outreach tactics.
ABX takes that one step further and applies that same target account focus to all revenue teams, including customer success. It considers the customer journey as a whole and applies customer experience on top of the principles of ABM.
ABM and ABX have become almost interchangeable as more companies start growing their ABM programs into a more holistic ABX way of operating.
Indicators You’re Ready for ABM and ABX Marketing
Not every ABM journey begins in the same place. No matter where you begin, you should do an honest assessment of where you are and what you’ll need before jumping into an ABM strategy.
Here are some factors B2B businesses should consider first:
1. Organizational Readiness
It’s important to have buy-in and support from your organization’s leaders before you go too far down the road. Without their buy-in and support, your ABM program runs the risk of failing before it even begins. Ask these questions:
- How do sales and marketing think about and approach go-to-market strategies?
- Are sales and marketing leadership actively supporting the ABM program?
- What budget changes will need to be made to support an ABM program?
You should be able to answer these before you can nail down an ABM plan.
2. Sales and Marketing Alignment
Alignment between sales and marketing from the program’s inception to the deal close is critical to a successful ABM program.
To start, you’ll need an ideal customer profile (ICP) everyone can agree on. If you don’t already have ICPs in place, you’ll want to iron those out first. You can determine your ICP by looking at existing client data to see trends in accounts that have already had success. Then, look for other accounts that match these criteria.
3. Target Account List
Once you have your ICPs nailed down, the first thing your sales and marketing teams need to do is decide on a target account list (TAL). How you approach this list depends on several factors. First, you should be familiar with your ideal customer profiles and only focus on accounts that fit those criteria.
Criteria to consider are intent data and customer demographics, technographics and how closely they match other clients who have had success.
You’ll also want to identify the buying committees at those accounts, so you know who exactly to target. The more robust the data for your TAL is, the better you can target those accounts and support the sales team in closing deals.
4. Goals and Accomplishments
What are you hoping to achieve with an ABM or ABX program? Are you launching a new product? Acquiring a new business? Grow your existing customer base? This focus should be clear to all teams and leadership.
You should also take time to create a communication strategy that ensures everyone is always aware of and up to date on these goals. Make sure everyone knows which part of the program and communication strategy they are responsible for owning.
5. Technology and Insights
You can execute an ABM strategy without extra tech in your stack, but some basics will make things easier.
At a minimum, you’ll want a CRM everyone knows how to use. Your CRM is where you’ll track and report on data and contact information for your key accounts.
What tools will you use to gather insights about your target accounts or perform outreach? These are things to consider and make sure you have in place before you begin an ABM program. As your program progresses, you can identify gaps in technology.
6. Channels and Offers
What marketing channels and offers will you use in your program? Depending on your goals and your chosen ABM strategies, the channels you use for each account could be different.
For example, for your highest priority accounts, you may do targeted 1:1 outreach and use a gifting platform to try to secure a meeting. For many accounts, you may choose to do targeted awareness ads for their buying committees. Research and experimentation will be key here as you find the best ways to reach your target accounts.
7. Measurement and Reporting
What are your KPIs for your ABM program? Are sales and marketing aligned on these goals? Some common ABM KPIs are:
- Account engagement
- Deal-to-close time
- Net-new revenue
- Percent of deals closed
Regularly reviewing your progress will help you identify any gaps. You can clearly see what is working and what isn’t and change parts of your strategy.
Start Your ABX and ABM Strategy
When executed properly, ABM creates an immersive buyer experience leading to higher ROI and better customer satisfaction. If you’re ready to implement your own ABM and ABX strategy, we’re here to help. We have a team of market researchers, B2B strategists and data experts ready to help B2B marketers unlock unparalleled growth. Reach out today to find out how we can help.