April 22, 2024

How Can Businesses Get Started With ABM?

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3 min

ABM. Account-Based Marketing. The term sets off images of enterprise marketing teams with an army of specialists for audiences, emails, content, graphic design, and video production. Buy-in from sales leaders, sign-offs from the CFO for top-of-the-line tech. And many more marketing operations resources that may seem unavailable to most businesses.

While this type of structure can work well for high-stakes situations, where making the right or wrong impression can mean the difference in million-dollar contracts, there are still ways to run simple ABM campaigns that can have a huge impact on a small investment.

What is ABM?

The first step to starting account-based marketing is understanding ABM in its simplest forms. ABM is the practice of building marketing motions for one or more key accounts.

Often, this takes the form of delivering custom content and marketing assets to one or more companies. The ultimate goal is to facilitate sales conversations, but the campaign goal is to have your audience consume your content or offer and leave with an improved impression of your brand, also known as brand lift.

The payoff for the prospect can range from content such as case studies, whitepapers, podcasts, or webinars, or it can be a gift, an event meeting invite, or even a personalized sales demo invitation. With this type of campaign, getting the prospect interested in the content is just the beginning. Since you’re not trying to collect lead form completions, you’re trying to show your audience that you understand them and their needs, the key is that what you offer must be both valuable and personalized.

Once you have your This can include paid ad campaigns on specialized platforms like DemandBase and 6Sense, targeted campaigns on LinkedIn, hyper-targeted remarketing campaigns on a wide range of platforms, email marketing, and direct mail.

How Should SMBs and Mid-Market Companies Approach ABM?

ABM is not for everyone, especially not companies that sell to consumers. But companies that sell to other businesses in some form can usually benefit from ABM, in fact, many B2B companies are already running campaigns that might qualify as ABM campaigns.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you operate an IT Agency specializing in network setup and maintenance. You recognize that many of the clients who contract your agency for setup work, do not follow up with a maintenance contract. Naturally, you promote your maintenance services heavily to this segment by sending regular emails and even targeting contacts at these companies with social media ads.

Congratulations, you have run an ABM campaign where your account list is your list of past customers. Current and past customers are important ABM segments and cross-sell campaigns are a great way to run low-cost, high-return marketing motions.

You can refine this campaign by understanding which companies are most likely to pursue maintenance contracts, such as those with no dedicated internal IT employees. Now you can personalize your content for execs who are too busy to handle IT themselves and find they need help with it. As you get feedback on the campaign from your prospects and sales team, you can continue to refine your targeting and your messaging

Get Started With ABM

Once you realize how simple and effective basic ABM campaigns can be, it almost feels like cheating.

Start with the accounts you already know well, your current and former customers, and find ways to inform and delight them while promoting your solutions that they haven’t adopted yet and that fit their needs.

When you understand the basic principles of ABM marketing you’ll see your advertising and outreach efforts in a new light and be better able to tie together different tactics into fully fleshed-out strategies and playbooks.

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