This guide provides a comprehensive introduction to ABM basics and detailed core concepts. In as little as four steps you can create, develop, implement and measure an ABM program.
The Four-Step ABM Framework
Your ABM program can be as simple or as complex as you want. Regardless of the scale you choose, it’s easiest to get started by using the following framework with has four phases. Each element is completely flexible and can be dialed up or down depending on available resources and relative priority. Our framework is comprised of four distinct steps.
Step 1 | Plan & Strategize:
Establish an account map and journey
“AMB helps shift the advantage away from digitally empowered buyers by reapplying fundamental marketing principles like segmenting, targeting, developing rich customer insights, testing, aligning across channels, and acting in response to results.”
Identify and Prioritize Target Accounts
The first step in rolling out an ABM program involves Sales and Marketing defining which companies to target and engage. This list is based on a comprehensive combination of factors, including the perceived difficulty of breaking through to engage with decision-makers at a particular company, and the anticipated account value. This initial identification and ranking ensures the most desirable accounts float to the top, and also clarifies their distinct attributes so effective strategies can be employed across the lifespan of engagement.
Due to the high level of investment, ABM initiatives should focus on accounts that have the potential for the greatest return, but are the hardest to penetrate. Your company’s revenue team should collaborate to group your target accounts into three tiers, based on priority.
As your ABM strategy matures over time, your company will want to consider investing in a system that is capable of analyzing Salesforce (or the like) to identify target accounts with a high degree of accuracy based on historical performance. This task can be completed manually, or through the use of MarTech options specifically dedicated to solving for ABM models.
Develop Your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)
Identify which industries or verticals best align with your overarching business development and growth goals.
Research ideal companies or accounts by size that would be a good fit for your marketing efforts and sales cycle.
Uncover key revenue requirements for your ideal-fit customer. For instance, a prospective organization could be an excellent fit by industry and company size, but if they don’t have the revenue to support your technology solution you will end up draining time, money, and resources moving them down your ABM nurture path.
Outline Marketing Initiatives by Tier
Consider the resources available for your ABM program and assign budgets to each tier of target accounts. It’s helpful to document all known constraints upfront to set expectations with all stakeholders who will be impacted. This will also guide parameters for the program as a whole, including an implementation timeline with milestones, goals and KPIs used to track success, and deliverables needed to launch.
Take time to think through what the account journey should look like. The account journey takes into consideration the experiences of multiple stakeholders at an organization instead of focusing on a sole individual. This journey should document and map out each touchpoint and opportunity you have to engage your targets.
– Adapted from DemandBase
Select Channels & Personalization Activities
With a clear understanding of the types of marketing initiatives used for each account, choose the channels that will best deliver the content and drive action at each point in their journey. Determine the appropriate balance of paid and owned channels based on budget, available tools, timelines, and goals.
Uncover opportunities to personalize each element of the account journey for top tier accounts. Don’t underestimate the power of a unique, customized experience. Given the resources and opportunity, when you take the extra step to personalize, you have a chance to delight your target, and earn their attention (and business).
Ideally, your target account will strongly sense that you are already a part of their world. You’re not outside the velvet rope trying to bribe your way into the party. You’re already there, mingling with people who matter in their industry. Position yourself to be seen as an insider.
Content customization has been known to terrorize teams because of the threat of resource drainage. While this absolutely can occur, it can also be avoided with proper planning. This is where the earlier exercise to assign accounts to tiers becomes really useful to ensure your resources are directed at the right accounts.
Points of Customization
- Cover pages
- Background images
- Industry jargon
- Targeting parameters
- Ad creative
- Conversion points
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The full guide contains:
- A comprehensive introduction to ABM (basics + detailed core concepts)
- The components needed for an ABM playbook
- A case study featuring a real-world SaaS company
- A BONUS section covering MarTech solutions for ABM