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5th September 2023

A Quick ABM Definition: What is Account-Based Marketing?

Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is a simple concept. ABM is a focused approach to B2B marketing that directs marketing resources towards targeting those prospective customers who are the best fit for a given product or service. 

When creating ABM campaigns, marketing and sales teams should work closely together as part of an overall ABM strategy, to identify the right accounts to target.

Furthermore, aligning your sales and marketing teams will also help you generate account-specific messaging that will appeal to your chosen prospects.

Once you've generated your leads using an Account-Based Marketing approach, both teams should continue to work together to nurture your leads through the buyer's journey.

Instead of trying many different messages and channels aimed at a broad market, ABM enables you to focus on specific accounts. As a result, you can research the challenges your product or service solves for these accounts and develop clear messaging that will resonate more deeply.

You can also uncover which marketing channels are likely to be most effective for targeting these accounts. This allows you to concentrate your marketing budget to get the best results.

Account-Based Marketing prioritizes your most relevant targets, helping you cut through the noise.

In today’s fast-paced business world, getting the attention of decision-makers and busy executives is more challenging than ever. With so many marketing channels and digital devices, information overload can be a real barrier to getting your message across. That's where ABM comes in. 

ABM strategies allow B2B marketers to cut through the noise and get noticed by prospective customers. But what is account-based marketing? How does it work? What are the benefits of ABM, and what are the potential pitfalls? 

How ABM Marketing Campaigns Work

Most ABM campaigns will follow the same steps:

Step One: Define your target account list. You can consider several different criteria for this, depending on your company’s strategic priorities. Commonly used criteria include highest potential value, best fit for your product or service, and those accounts you think could convert the fastest.

Step Two: Research accounts and identifies key influencers or decision-makers.

Step Three: Uncover your target accounts’ most significant challenges and work out messaging that will resonate with them. Then, think about how your messaging and content will focus on solving their challenges.

Step Four: Figure out which channels work best to reach them. First, try all the channels where you think your target market spends time. Then, focus your efforts on them once you’ve worked out which channel(s) work best.

Step Five: Execute targeted campaigns. Align efforts across your Sales and Marketing teams—coordinate messaging across your channels if using more than one.

Step Six: Work with a specialist ABM supplier or agency. Working with an ABM lead generation specialist will help you create a highly targeted campaign, helping you reach the prospects on your target account list more effectively and often on a cost-per-lead basis (CPL) so you know how far your budget will stretch. Take a look at our ABM lead generation services as an example.

Step Seven: Test, measure, and optimize. The secret to successful ABM is maximizing your return on investment (ROI). To do this, you need to analyze your results both for individual accounts and across campaigns so you can do more of what works and drop what doesn’t.

Benefits of ABM

There are several benefits to Account-Based Marketing.

Firstly, you can maximize your appeal and relevance to high-value accounts. Secondly, you can deliver consistent customer experiences by aligning Sales and Marketing efforts. And finally, you can retain a genuine customer focus by thinking customer-first when designing your content and messaging – and tailoring that messaging. 

In turn, an ABM strategy helps you to grow your business by building deeper relationships with prospects even before they become customers.

You can streamline your marketing efforts and the sales cycle by cutting down on what doesn’t work. This also optimizes your budget. And, of course, doing all of this – while also targeting specific accounts – will increase your ROI.

Effective B2B ABM Strategies

You can use many ABM strategies or ABM tactics to maximize your B2B Account-Based Marketing effectiveness. In fact, there are so many that it can become easy to get overwhelmed!

Worse, many B2B marketers try too many different tactics at once, diluting their efforts and losing the focus that is key to success.

Because of this, we recommend researching the various ABM strategies available, such as ABM lead generation. Think about what might fit your organization and your prospective client base best. We also suggest focusing on just one or two tactics at a time and testing their effectiveness before moving on to the next.

One ABM strategy example that works particularly well is using syndicated content.

Content syndication can be used for ABM lead generation, in fact, it's one of our most popular services at Headley Media.

ABM content syndication is one of the ABM strategies available which directly focuses on generating high-quality leads, using your target account list (TAL) of priority companies.

Content syndication works by publishing your content – for example, a white paper, eBook, research study, or report – on platforms you don’t own. In B2B marketing, the content is usually gated, so readers must enter their professional details to access it. Once they enter their information, they will become a marketing lead you can nurture, typically via email.

Partnering with a trusted lead generation provider works particularly well when they own their content syndication platforms because they can effectively target your content to audiences on your ABM target account list (TAL), using transparent methods to generate high-quality leads.

Working with a transparent and trustworthy ABM specialist will help you to maximize the number of relevant leads generated, who will be more likely to engage with your content.

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Common ABM Pitfalls to Avoid

As with any marketing strategy, Account-Based Marketing comes with its own set of potential pitfalls.

When using ABM to enhance your lead generation, scoping out the accounts you want to target and why is the first step to success. However, one of the common pitfalls we see is when marketers find themselves without a suitable target account list or one at all.

For example, your TAL may be too small to be effective, or the quality of your data may be unreliable or out of date.

An expert in ABM lead gen will be able to expand your pool of target accounts and help you create a suitable TAL based on your targeting requirements and campaign objectives.

For example, one common way to enhance your TAL is by creating 'lookalike' audiences to expand your list further. Plus, working with a trusted supplier will also give you confidence in the reliability of your TAL’s data, as they will be able to show you where the data has come from and how your lists have been created.

Our eBook, 5 Account-Based Marketing Pitfalls All B2B Tech Marketers Should Avoid, explores the common ABM mistakes we've seen over the years and gives you tips on how to avoid them and strategies for success.

Read Our ABM Pitfalls eBook