84% of companies with account-based marketing state that ABM campaigns deliver higher ROI than other marketing approaches. But what is it that makes them so powerful?
Used predominantly for B2B marketing, ABM programs enable businesses to target enterprise-level partners on an individual basis. Marketing and sales teams join efforts to customize the customer journey for each account. They conduct target research to provide relevant content, offers, and communications. This helps to avoid squandering money on fruitless marketing moves and increases the odds of customer conversion.
Another factor that increases the effectiveness of ABM campaigns is the use of offline channels. Real-life interactions feel more personal and, thus, more convincing than digital communications. They help to build a strong connection between B2B partners that is bound to increase the return on investment.
To find out more about the role of offline channels in account-based marketing, read about:
- What is account-based marketing and why you need target research for ABM campaigns?
- Offline channels in account-based marketing
- ABM strategy automation and integration tips
What Is Account-Based Marketing?
Account-based marketing (ABM) is a B2B marketing technique in which every customer is treated as a separate account. This means that the targeted company receives marketing materials and messages that perfectly fit its needs and expectations. To provide such customer experience, it’s necessary to align sales and marketing teams. The departments collaborate to run target research and determine a set of high-value accounts. Once the most valuable leads are selected, marketing and sales teams synchronize their actions to make them convert.
Why do you need target research for ABM campaigns?
Target research is indispensable for successful ABM campaigns. It’s a preparatory stage that enables B2B businesses to find out where and how to channel their marketing efforts. In the course of target research, you will need to choose the accounts with a high average deal size. These are the most profitable leads that are likely to benefit your ROI.
Once you know the target audience, find out what stakeholders influence the decision to cooperate with your company. B2B is always about nurturing several people from a buying committee or other body responsible for critical business choices. At this stage of the target research, you need to analyze the accounts and align sales and marketing teams to develop a data-driven ABM strategy.
“My company The Art of Service, has an assessment for Account-Based Marketing, checking nothing is overlooked. We’ve helped thousands of people progressing, and we release updated and new assessments frequently. We analyzed hundreds of Account-Based Marketing projects and initiatives, and the data we gathered is uncovered and boiled down in the assessment covering hundreds of criteria. The assessment’s users now know which criteria are relevant, and where, in the maturity of an Account-Based Marketing initiative or project,” said Gerard Blokdyk, The Art of Service, stressing the importance of proper target research for ABM campaigns.
Such target research will allow you to ensure the marketing materials and sales pitches are centered around the same idea. This makes the offer more convincing and helps to sign the deal.
Offline Channels in Account-Based Marketing
Long-term relationships with enterprise-level customers call for unique solutions. Although every decision-maker uses social media, has an email, reads blogs, and interacts with other digital marketing channels, they usually don’t pay much attention to online messages. That’s why for demand generation, you also need to target accounts offline. Here are the most common ways to nurture key accounts through offline channels:
It’s one of the most common approaches used in ABM campaigns. Today, almost every company invests in branded pens, T-shirts, sweatshirts, backpacks, and other stuff. Although there is nothing special in branded products, such an ABM campaign boosts brand awareness by making your logo and name more recognizable. This increases the chance that — when choosing a partner for their next project — the key accounts will incline towards your company as a more familiar and reliable option.
Gifts in ABM campaigns are used similarly to branded products. You can send them to all new accounts or deliver on special occasions like the anniversary of the cooperation or project completion. The main difference is that gifts are usually more pricey than branded items and provoke a stronger positive reaction. Just make sure that gifts are high-quality, customized, and appropriate for business relationships.
Find a way to arrange a meeting with your target accounts. Invite them to your office, organize a charitable event, participate in trade shows, etc. These are all great occasions to strengthen the connection with high-value customers and boost your ABM campaigns. Large and medium businesses are more likely to collaborate with someone they know personally.
Calling your customers, you can detect their pain points and discuss the possible deal much faster than by email. Besides, a phone conversation allows sales teams to understand how target accounts react to their offer and adapt the ABM campaigns offered by marketers accordingly. This will make your marketing message better tailored to specific accounts. Moreover, since only 42% of marketers communicate with their leads during the audience research to determine which content would be relevant, phone calls can also give you a competitive edge.
Mail marketing has a 10 times higher response rate than top online channels, including social media, online ads, and emails. Therefore, it’s a great substitution or support for digital account-based marketing. Direct mail has multiple formats and applications in ABM campaigns. You can greet your partners with holiday postcards, send them custom catalogs with new arrivals, deliver personalized invitations to events, etc. It’s also possible to optimize mail delivery with Inkit’s API integrations platform to send personalized mail pieces based on triggers and events.
And one more thing. The core offline inbound marketing tactics you need to focus on is quality customer experience. Without the readiness to back up your customer and offer them the best value, your ABM campaigns will be fruitless.
ABM Strategy Automation and Integration Tips
Even though the number of targeted customers in ABM campaigns is limited and can be handled manually, for truly a personalized and data-driven experience, you will need marketing technology. It enables B2B companies to segment the target audience, collect more information about their preferences, and, as a result, launch more effective account-based marketing. Mariona Prat Vila, Global Director of Marketing for zeotap, shares her ideas on running ABM campaigns:
“ABM up-sell efforts can be improved based off 2 important points:
- Handpicking the right customers with the highest propensity to be upsold to.
- Selecting the right channels to engage with those customers.
On the first point, the secret lies in figuring out the right segmentation strategy for your industry and type of customer base. You could be segmenting based on something as simple as the number of purchases and average purchase spend, or something a bit more advanced such as using your own or off-the-shelve algorithms to automatically detect based on AI the customers with the highest propensity to be upsold to. This allows you to be more targeted in your approach and avoid spamming the rest of your customers unnecessarily.
On the second point, since most ABM strategies start off email addresses, direct mailing tens to be the most used channel when engaging with customers. However, brands should be thinking omnichannel since the person behind that email is browsing through the web, spending time on apps, and brands should want to reach them across all those channels. The best way to go about this is to work with a 3rd party identity resolution provider who can link email addresses to other online identifiers across the online domain.” – Mariona Prat Vila, Global Director of Marketing for zeotap.
Here are some other handy tips on automation and integration of ABM campaigns:
- Don’t focus solely on online or offline account-based marketing. Build an omnichannel marketing strategy to create a smooth customer journey and provide the same customer experience across all channels
- Choose marketing software that supports numerous integrations and can be easily connected with other tools
- Automate as many processes as you can to focus on strategic planning and target research instead of routine tasks
- Build custom marketing workflows with automation tools to adapt each next step in the customer journey based on their previous actions
- Pick software with A/B testing functionality to make sure the account-based marketing works and generates the expected ROI before launching the campaign.
Want to include direct mail into your omnichannel marketing campaigns? Let us help you with this.