[5 Steps] Account-Based Marketing when Targeting Training & HR

Posted on Sep 21, 2020 in Blog, Principles of Success, Training and HR

If you’re not yet using Account-Based Marketing in your B2B outreach, it is certainly worth investigating…

As a matter of fact, ABM can have a huge positive impact on your company’s bottom line as evidenced by the following. Of companies using an ABM strategy:

  • 87% report that ABM outperforms every other marketing investment (Source: ITSMA)
  • 91% increased their average deal size, and 25% of respondents saw increases of > 50% revenue per deal. (Source: SiriusDecisions)
  • The average annual contract value increased by > 170% (Source: ABM Leadership Alliance)

Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is a strategic, highly targeted approach to B2B marketing and sales. Instead of mass marketing to individual buyers at hundreds of accounts, ABM focuses on specific high-value target accounts by engaging with key decision-makers in a more meaningful way. The process of Account-Based Marketing thus requires close alignment between marketing and sales to create personalized buying experiences (i.e. targeted content) for those target accounts and buyers. This allows you to engage with decision-makers at a deeper level – faster.

And yet, up to 30% of companies are not yet using Account-Based Marketing. We say, “Why not?”.

The goal of an ABM strategy is to infiltrate each specified account from multiple angles (i.e. working with multiple decision-maker contacts) to gain access, understand pains/needs, and provide aligned solutions to help address those issues across a large, complex business. Using this approach, companies provide highly personalized content to those key decision-makers to develop a multi-pronged account relationship, ultimately working together to help achieve that company’s goals.

So – Is Account-Based Marketing right for your business?

Account-Based Marketing often works well for B2B companies with goals to infiltrate large, key accounts with multiple locations or business units. For example, companies targeting Fortune 500 or Fortune 1000 accounts will be able to more fully unlock the potential of each target account using an ABM approach.

In the broadest sense, Account-Based Marketing consists of the following steps:

  1. Identify a set of key target accounts
  2. Build a network of multiple decision-maker contacts within each target account (MTG’s database can help with this!)
  3. Research those Accounts and Contacts to learn about their market strategy, service offerings, news releases, product announcements, business units, multiple locations, organizational/management structure, etc.
  4. Use highly personalized and tailored marketing campaigns to generate interest among those contacts.
  5. Set measurable goals and track results.

Let’s dig into each of these components further with key tips for launching a successful Account-Based Marketing strategy.

1. Identify Key Accounts to Target with an ABM Approach:

  • Determine the methodology you will use to identify key target accounts.
  • To assist, look at where have you had the most success to date…
    • What is the target company size? Industry? Revenue? # Employees? Geography?
  • Determine target titles/levels of influence within the organization. (Director, VP, C-Suite…)
  • Using these criteria, build an initial list of key target accounts.

2. Build a Network of Contacts within those Accounts:

  • The ABM approach to marketing is based on the assumption that B2B buying decisions are often made and/or influenced by a select group of people rather than a single person. So, to perform Account-Based Marketing effectively, you must have multiple key contacts within each target company. In essence, by using Account-Based Marketing, each account is its own target market to which you will sell and market your services.
  • Therefore, you must build or purchase a list of key decision-maker contacts within each of your target accounts. Ideally, this list should include each contact’s name, title, phone number, email address, and physical mailing address.
  • Where will you find this decision-maker contact information?

3. Research Required:

  • Account-Based Marketing/Selling requires a strategic marketing approach to each target account. Develop an arsenal of research about each account.
  • Dig in to uncover trends, new product lines, business units, key locations, mergers, acquisitions, leadership changes, etc. Gain some understanding of each account by investigating their website, recent news releases, etc.
  • Learn about your key contacts within each target account. What is their background and schooling? How long have they been at the present company? In the present role? All of this information will help you ask the right questions to quickly develop rapport, establish a relationship, and uncover needs.
  • The better insight you have, the better you’ll be able to align your marketing and sales efforts toward the potential needs and current reality of your target key accounts. This is paramount for an Account-Based Marketing approach to work well.

4. Personalize Your Outreach:

  • Develop highly targeted, personalized email and phone campaigns.
  • The goal of Account-Based Marketing is to develop relationships within key target accounts, to build a network of multiple decision-makers and influencers, all involved in making the final decision to buy. It is imperative to use your company research findings to customize all messaging. Leverage key information about the company’s products and services, the latest news releases, product launches, trade show attendance, etc. Understand their challenges and create content that addresses those issues.
  • By targeting your messaging according to this research, your audience will know you’ve done your homework, resulting in a higher response rate and increased level of trust. As trust increases, you will be able to develop a relationship with the key contacts on your target list to help them achieve the company’s goals and objectives. Become their trusted resource.
  • Engaging stakeholders at various levels and establishing a relationship with each will likely result in increased brand awareness across the target company, as well as a growing knowledge about your company’s offerings, solutions, and services.
  • Remember, people buy from people they like. Build a network of people who know and trust you within each target account. Eventually, these contacts will look to you as the preferred vendor-partner, the trusted expert for their business needs.

5. Set Measurable Goals and Track Results:

  • Develop objectives and measurable goals for each account, and each location, or business unit.
  • Test, track, and measure your ABM campaigns to determine what is working and what’s not.
  • Continue to tweak and improve marketing content.
  • Test other marketing methods to infiltrate these key accounts, such as a webinar or targeted direct-mail piece.
  • Consider instituting a referral program as you seek other in-roads into each business unit or company location.

Most of all, always seek to achieve the following results with each Contact within every Target Account:

  • Understand your potential buyer and their pain points.
  • Provide them with highly targeted, value-added content for free that will help them in their role.
  • Build trust. Act as their personal consultant in your company’s area of expertise.
  • Provide optimal service at all times. Account retention is paramount, as are the resulting opportunities that will naturally arise from internal networking, cross-selling, and/or up-selling within each target account.
  • After a successful client engagement, remember to ask for referrals to other business units or locations.

One final note: How does ABM fit within your Overall Marketing Plan?

Develop a comprehensive marketing plan that specifically addresses each of your target sectors: small, medium, and large key accounts. The ABM approach assumes marketing and sales are closely aligned, to avoid over-marketing to key accounts. Ideally, one key account manager is assigned per target account, and they help develop and manage a comprehensive, highly personalized marketing and sales outreach plan to each account.

You can overlay an Account-Based Marketing strategy on top of a once-a-month, high-value email newsletter. But remember, do not to over-market “standard” marketing content to these important target accountsThe whole point of ABM is to provide highly customized, highly targeted outreach to key contacts at these select accounts.  

By following the steps outlined above, over time you will develop deep in-roads into larger high-value target accounts while providing continuous value-added content to ALL prospects on a consistent basis.

Do you have questions about MTG’s database of decision-maker contacts in Corporate Training & HR? We’re here to help. We have detailed contact information for more than 40,000 decision-makers in your target market.

Contact us today to learn more. We’re here to help you, whenever you’re ready! Happy Selling!

Call: (651) 457-8600, Ext. 1

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