Account-based marketing lead generation is a highly targeted and personalized approach to finding new customers.
ABM lead generation is effective, and it's growing.
LinkedIn surveyed over 800 B2B marketers globally and found that over half of them (56%) used account-based marketing. And over 80% were planning to boost their budget for ABM over the next year.
There are a lot of benefits of ABM lead generation which make it so popular, including:
- Targeted lead generation - ABM helps you focus on reaching the right companies and accounts for your business.
- Improved alignment between Marketing and Sales teams, according to 82% of LinkedIn's survey respondents.
- And even better, 84% of marketers in an Alterra Group study said ABM provided significant benefits in retaining and expanding existing relationships.
If you're not yet one of the B2B marketers running ABM lead generation campaigns and want to join the club, this blog is for you: a guide to getting started with ABM lead generation, with some clever ABM marketing tactics thrown in for good measure!
What Is ABM Lead Generation?
Firstly, account-based marketing is the customer-first approach to lead generation.
It's not a new buzzword but a proven strategy: it's about finding the companies and individuals most likely to buy your product and tailoring your campaigns to each of those accounts.
A good ABM lead generation strategy focuses on a select list of target accounts. Once your target accounts have been chosen, your Marketing and Sales teams need to work together to identify their business needs and nurture them along the funnel towards a sale.
ABM is the difference between a bulk email disguised as a personalized one and the real thing. In our experience, most professionals can easily detect the former and will delete it without reading, but they are much more likely to take the time to read and digest the latter.
It's more than simply knowing your target's name: ABM is about getting to know the challenges your target audiences are facing and then helping them overcome those challenges.
Getting Started With ABM Lead Generation
The most important thing to start with is to ensure you've got a strong hit list – or a target account list (TAL) as it's known amongst seasoned B2B Marketers.
If you don't have a TAL and you don't know where to start, a reputable ABM lead generation company will be able to help you create a suitable TAL using their own, 1st party data.
Once you've created your TAL, you'll need to choose the best ABM marketing tactics for your business based on your overall marketing objectives. We'll focus on our favorite; content syndication – but ABM email campaigns are also very popular, as well as targeted social media.
Let's get into the details.
1. Create Your Target Account List (TAL)
One of the trickiest parts of ABM is building a list – your TAL – and ensuring it contains high-quality and up-to-date data.
To get started with ABM lead generation, you will need to work with your Sales team during the planning stages to ensure your campaign runs smoothly.
Off the top of your head, you can probably name a handful of companies that you've already been targeting because they're a good fit for your product. You've perhaps worked with the Sales team to find those companies, or you've looked at who your competitors are working with. If that's the case, you've probably already engaged in ABM lead generation without realizing it. So now, how do you grow that list?
Firstly, don't be afraid to target more than one or two individuals in an organization. All sorts of people get involved with B2B technology purchases, and the person you think is the decision-maker may differ per company.
Say you're a Marketing Manager for an employee expenses app. Yes, you'll want to engage with the company's Financial decision-makers, influencers, and ultimately budget holders. However, when the technology affects other departments, they will also be involved in the purchase decision.
For example, implementing an employee expenses app is likely to include the company's IT department and any other teams that may use the software, such as HR, Marketing, and Sales.
Also, it's important to remember that the job titles of key decision-makers may vary per company or region.
You might miss some key influencers in the decision-making process by only going after the Managing Director or purchase manager. Therefore, it is worth adding those influential individuals to your TAL and targeting your communications to them, too.
Another way to expand your TAL is to use 'lookalike' audiences based on your existing targets. Your ABM lead generation supplier can help you expand your TAL this way. Plus, if you don't already have a TAL, they can use the same methods to help you build one.
2. Use Content Syndication
We would say this, but it's true: content syndication is one of the most effective ABM tactics, and it works really well for account-based marketing lead generation.
Working with a specialist lead gen supplier, you can syndicate your valuable content, such as eBooks, whitepapers, research reports, and case studies, via a trusted content library that is used by professionals in your target audience(s).
With content syndication lead generation, your content will be promoted to your target ABM prospects, who will then be able to access your content for free in return for their business contact details.
Most ABM content syndication campaigns are delivered on an agreed and fixed cost-per-lead (CPL) basis, so you'll know exactly how many leads your campaign will generate before it begins. A fixed CPL approach is a great way to run your ABM lead generation campaign as it helps you budget with confidence for each target account you want to reach. Take a look at our lead generation process for an example of ABM lead generation delivered via a fixed CPL.
A reputable content syndication specialist will be able to help you create an effective ABM lead generation campaign based on the target audience(s) you need to reach.
3. Provide Value From the Start
When you're getting started with ABM lead generation, we recommend focusing on providing value for your target audience from the start. For example, by giving your target accounts valuable and educational content for free.
Your leads will be happier to hear from you and more open to your communications if they already know you as a trusted and valuable source of content.
One of the major account-based marketing benefits is that you get to form a two-way relationship with your marketing leads before you start selling to them, and they're much more likely to engage with you positively when you do.
Your ABM leads will already know who you are, as they'll have been exposed to your brand, sometimes even multiple times before they reach your CRM.
For example, if you run a content syndication campaign that nurtures your ABM leads before they are delivered to you, they'll be much more receptive to your follow-up communications (for example, like a Nurture Track campaign).
4. Align With Your Sales Team
B2B lead generation campaigns that use account-based marketing need alignment between Sales and Marketing teams to work.
Practically speaking, alignment first involves working with your Sales team to identify your target accounts.
When running ABM lead generation campaigns, alignment also extends to identifying the pain points your target accounts experience. By understanding the challenges your audience face, you will be able to create the right messaging to appeal to them - and your Sales colleagues can help you do that.
Communication with your Sales colleagues will help you deliver the right campaign for your audience.
5. Validate Your Leads
Once your ABM leads have been generated, you'll want to ensure they are validated to a high standard. Essentially, that means you'll want to feel confident that the data you receive is accurate- for example, the contact details you receive are up to date, and your leads have directly consented to hear from you.
As we all know, an individual's business contact details can change regularly. For example, a contact might move role or company, or even change their name and get a new email address. When you combine changes to an individual's details with business priorities and strategies changing, it's easy to see why validating your ABM leads is so important.
Another benefit of working with a trusted ABM lead generation company is that they will authenticate each lead for you before they are delivered. Validating your leads gives you peace of mind that all the information you receive is correct.
For example, at Headley Media, we use a dual AI and manual validation process to authenticate each ABM lead before they are delivered to our clients.
We use multiple sources to authenticate our leads, ranging from our own custom-built AI validation tool, Headley Validate, to LinkedIn data and state registry information.
6. Work With a Trustworthy ABM Supplier
Our final ABM tactic to help you get started is to choose a trustworthy ABM supplier.
The ABM lead generation industry has more than its fair share of shady players. So how do you know who to trust?
Plenty of ABM content syndication suppliers will not be able to deliver on their promises, often because they're buying lists from a 3rd party supplier or using someone else's websites to host your content.
The best sign of a good lead gen company is complete transparency: they should be able to show you exactly where your leads have come from.
They'll work with you to find out exactly what sort of audience you're targeting and will give you the full picture of each lead's reader journey - from the first time they downloaded a piece of your content through to the lead validation process we spoke about earlier on.
When doing your research on ABM lead generation suppliers, use our handy Quality Lead Generation Checklist to help you evaluate which supplier to work with.