Think about the most effective advertising and marketing campaigns — what do they have in common? If you had to condense it to a few short words, it would probably go something like this: They reach the right people at the right time with the right message.
That’s why a B2B account-based marketing (ABM) strategy is so effective — because it checks the box on all three: right people, right time, right message. In fact, an ABM strategy starts with people — in this case, your future customers — and builds from there.
B2B companies are investing in ABM because it works.
According to a recent survey, 84% of companies implementing ABM see pipeline growth, and 77% see revenue growth. Further, 72% of companies agree that ABM delivers higher ROI than other types of marketing.
That’s great, but you may be thinking, “HOW?” — how do you reach the right people in an ABM plan? And how do you know who the right people are and what message they’ll respond to?
Here are the three steps to find, reach, and convert the right people to become your buyers.
Step 1: Identify the Right People
Before you can reach the right people and turn them into buyers, you have to know who they are!
So, the first step in a successful B2B ABM plan is identifying your best-fit potential audiences based on your ideal customer profile (ICP) and buyer personas.
To build your ICP and personas, you’ll want to explore the features and attributes of your top customers — what needs, interests, and pain points they have that make your product or solution make sense for them. You may also want to look at company size, industry type, geography, revenue, and more.
Once you have your ICP, you can identify the accounts that fit best and build your target list through a combination of first-party data and third-party data.
As niche (or non-niche) as your list might be, it can be helpful to segment your target accounts into tiers to allocate the most time and resources to the prospects with the highest potential.
- Tier One: These accounts perfectly align with your ICP and are top priorities that may require more intention and effort to build highly personalized campaigns to target them effectively.
- Tier Two: These accounts are missing some key characteristics that qualify them for the first tier. They are still relevant prospects and would benefit from some marketing personalization.
- Tier Three: These accounts are still within your target but don’t fit as well as Tier One and Tier Two. Consider a more automated campaign approach for these.
Step 2: Develop Personalized Messaging to Engage the Right People
Now that you have a target account list based on your ICP, it’s time to engage them.
Highly personalized marketing campaigns and content meaningfully communicate your product and services while showing how your business can benefit them.
The most successful ABM plan will include customized content for each customer journey stage, including awareness, consideration, and conversion.
For each one of these stages, the campaign should educate prospects and nudge them to the next phase of the journey.
For example, you might take a phased approach that looks like this:
- Awareness phase: Includes your general company info and overarching product solutions
- Consideration phase: Specific details, answers, and pricing
- Conversion phase: An urgent message to drive action
Not only do messaging and content vary dramatically by stage, but they also change by persona. This is where customer segmentation also comes into play. It ensures you deliver unique, well-researched, and appropriate messaging to its recipient.
Remember, effective ABM campaigns:
- Are highly personalized and tailored to the customer
- Address a customer’s pain points
- Provide actionable and valuable — and often educational — information
- Customized to the stages in the customer journey
Step 3: Reach the Right People through Strategic Channels
While content marketing builds loyalty and trust in your company and increases the chances of conversion, it’s essential to ensure your content reaches its intended audiences — and in channels that make an impact.
A successful ABM plan requires a highly personalized, data-based approach to reach the right people. It also must have multiple advertising channels you constantly monitor and test to ensure your prospects are engaged.
Research tells us that B2B buyers consume three to five pieces of content before engaging with a salesperson when making a purchase decision — and three in 10 consume more than five pieces of content.
Here are some of the ways to move your target accounts through the customer journey:
- Paid social
- Programmatic ads
- Paid search
- Email marketing and newsletters
- Custom landing pages and product-specific pages
- Events and webinars
- Case studies and white papers
- Thought leadership and blog content
- Testimonials, interviews, and incentives
ABM tools like CRM, marketing automation, and even LinkedIn are also critical to ensure success and scalability. Additionally, many other ABM tools exist for engagement, automation, data enrichment, gifting, and more to explore or add to your tech stack.
ABM has many moving parts. That’s why having a partner by your side to ensure your ABM plan is as successful as possible is critical.
At Well Qualified, we are ABM experts with years of experience behind our technology- and data-focused approach. We designed our ABM process to align your sales and marketing goals in the long term and deliver sustainable, ongoing results. We don’t just build, plan, and implement it for you; we partner with you to help you grow and adapt.