Account Based Marketing is a strategy where the sales and marketing department works actively together and long-term with a really good mix of content, social media, ads and customer contacts to create business with a careful selection of customers.Many companies in B2B today work actively with marketing to reach their potential customers in different ways.
Usually, companies work quite broadly with their marketing to attract new customers, which of course can be good. However, this is not always the best strategy if you want to try to get those carefully selected dream customers.
In Account Based Marketing, it is not just about getting a lot of new customers, but it is about following the customer journey itself and not just the purchase journey. The goal is to constantly make your customers grow and develop together with you as a company.
Why should I start working with Account Based Marketing?
You should start working with Account Based Marketing if you have a complex product where the sales processes are longer and only suit a few customers (about 2-100). Preferably a few fewer companies that are carefully selected and that sales already work with. Account Based Marketing is not for lead generation but to improve and support the sales process. With the help of Account Based Marketing you will more easily reach your dream customers. It should also be added that it takes time to achieve a really good result so if you think it only takes a month or two to succeed, you are wrong. As I said, it is important to work strategically and long-term in order for you to achieve your goals.
Why should the marketing and sales department work together with Account Based Marketing?
What should you do if you want to start working with Account Based Marketing? First of all, you need to create a small, close-knit team with someone from the sales department and someone from the marketing department.
It is really important here that both parties understand why you are doing this and are interested in starting to work in this way. A good start is for the seller to bring a list of carefully selected customers who have previously been difficult to contact.
Based on this list of about 2-100 companies, sales and marketing talk about the challenges these customers face:
- which decision-makers are involved in each deal
- what different types of content trigger these decision-makers
- in which channels they are in (social media, Google, Google Ads, or IP-driven advertising or geo-driven advertising etc)
- How they are linked to each other (how decision-makers work together)
- The nature of their business and their challenges and needs (long and short term)You could say that a specific marketing plan is developed for these customers.
When the marketing plan is set, a concrete action plan needs to be set and what goals it will achieve. What content needs to be produced for each decision maker, e.g. videos, texts - deeply technical or more general and easy to understand. Which channels should be used and how much and how often should these things be done.
How do I set goals for my Account Based Marketing?
It is very important that targets are set for this. Here you must think long-term. If you want to get your dream customers who have a value of X, it may be profitable to let it take anywhere from 1 year to 3 years to get this business.
It is always good to start from the current situation when it comes to setting goals. For example, how long will it take you to close a big deal today, how many of your dream customers visit your website, how many of them download something from your website and how many more meetings will you have with these customers and how many more decision makers will you talk to etc.
Based on this, you can then set goals. It is also important to set sub-goals such as how many of the selected companies do you manage to get a first meeting with, etc. Develop some different types of goals that are measurable and relevant and work towards these.
What are the different strategies when it comes to Account Based Marketing?
One strategy that I have written about above is to open the doors to the customers that you really want to work with and that you think will benefit from your offer. In addition to creating more business with the selected customers, this is also about developing existing customers on an ongoing basis so that these accounts will grow over time.
The second strategy is to enable existing customer accounts to grow. It takes a good plan to get in touch with more decision-makers of an existing customer. In most cases, there are opportunities for expanded cooperation with existing customers if you manage to build more trust with them. With a really good Account Based Marketing strategy, this is possible.
Then the focus is not just on the buying journey but on the important and long-term customer journey. There are also different strategies when it comes to the concrete action plan and activity plan. Then I think about which channels you should use to reach a specific decision maker, what type of content is suitable for this particular person, how often you should publish content adapted for that person and should you buy ad space to reach these people or should you work mostly with the organic result.
If you need help identifying your different decision-makers/personas, you can use this persona template. You can download it for free by clicking here!
Most of the time, you probably have a pretty good idea of what works and what has worked well in the past, but no one knows exactly what will work best in the future. That's why it's a good idea to test and then measure what worked best. For example, was it boosting a blog post on Facebook targeted at a specific decision maker or was it a sponsored post on LinkedIn targeted at a selected company. Here you have to test and optimise to get the best results.
Common mistakes when it comes to Account Based Marketing?
- Focus on too many customers at once!
I write above that the list should be between 2-100 accounts. If there should be several accounts, these need to be companies that you already know and that sales is actively working on. Because here it is important that marketing supports the sales work on selected accounts.
- Are you communicating to the right person?
When you have drawn up the list of companies that you are going to invest in, it is important to find out who the various decision-makers are. Here it is easy to make a mistake as many may go through previous data to see who has signed the previous agreements. For example, if you sell complex IT systems for HR departments, it is usually the CIO of larger companies who signs these, but the question is whether it was the CIO who was the one who demanded a system to solve the challenges facing the business.
It was probably the HR manager who started looking for solutions and then showed the different solutions to the CIO. What I want to get to is that it is very important that you look at the whole picture to get all potential decision-makers involved in the decision-making process. Then it is important to develop content that is suitable for each person and role.
- Marketing materials-miss
When it comes to Account Based Marketing, it is important that the material developed is tailored to the carefully selected industry, companies and key people etc. A common mistake is that companies take their existing material that has been used in the past in other campaigns or marketing purposes. This is not good as the material needs to be incredibly niche in order for the potential customer and decision maker to be curious or want to make contact in some way.
How long will it take before I see results?
As with any strategy to achieve a good result, it takes time and commitment. If both sales and marketing work as a really good team and see this as a long-term investment, this will work. However, what needs to be taken into account is that it can take anywhere from 6 months to 3 years to see a tangible result. So have ice in your stomach and don't give up too easily.
Some quick tips on how to get started with Account Based Marketing!
- Put together a small, well-knit team. One tip is to ask around among the salespeople if anyone is interested in starting to work in this way. This requires that the salesperson or salespeople who are part of the team with the marketing person are committed and want to do this.
- Start small. Make a list of 2-5 companies that you can start working with to test out.
- Do a basic job of mapping out all the different decision makers and decide what kind of content is appropriate for the people and companies you want to reach.
- Test out which channels work best and which message appeals to your chosen decision-makers.
- Don't forget to measure all the efforts you make so you can analyse and then optimise and do more of what works well.
In conclusion, I would like to say that Account Based Marketing is not for all companies, but this is for companies that want to work long-term and where sales and marketing can work together and dare to challenge themselves to think new. If you want to learn more about how we can help you get started with Account Based Marketing, feel free to book a free consultation with us by clicking below.