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You’ve heard it. I’ve heard it. We’ve all heard it. Three little letters being passed around the marketing blogosphere… ABM. But what is ABM? Automated behavior marketing? Awesome blogger mixer? Articulate book moms? If you nodded ‘yes’ to any of those options, it’s a good thing you’re here. 

ABM stands for account-based marketing – and revolves around the concept of targeting a specific set of people or businesses. In the 2017 State of Account-Based Marketing report, 93% of respondents said that ABM is very important or extremely important to their business growth efforts. Moreover, 30.5% reported that the average deal size in their pipeline was 21-50% larger when ABM was used. So, bigger deals and a more customized approach... what’s not to like?

But getting started with account-based marketing can be intimidating if you don't even know where to begin. Below you’ll find a three-step approach to ABM that businesses of all sizes can implement. Let’s get started!

Let’s get this ABM show on the road!

Alright. You’ve committed to creating an ABM strategy for your business. You and your team have decided to nurture a select group of companies to a sale. Don’t blow it by spamming these precious desired accounts with irrelevant emails, offers, and ads that make them snore—or worse—annoyed.

It’s 2018. The online world is your oyster. Use it to maximize your potential for success and to conduct in-depth research on these target accounts before diving into content creation. 

This read focuses on Step #2 of executing a topnotch ABM strategy:

  1. Pulling together a list of target accounts
  2. Doing your research to create a killer content strategy

Step #1. Look within… 

Within your website analytics, that is. If you use a tool like HubSpot, you’ll be able to view the online activity of current contacts and customers who are similar to your target accounts. Review the past activities and interactions the decision makers had with various components of your online marketing efforts, paying close attention to the content that helped kick off your current successful relationship. Then, ask yourself…

  • What content did they download? 
  • What pages did they view?
  • What emails were they opening and engaging with?

You can find this information by viewing the timeline in their contact record.

Sample Contact Record Timeline

Use the results from this research to map out your target account’s buyer’s journey. Be sure to mirror any patterns in steps multiple contacts took as they completed important actions on their way down the funnel.

Step #2. Research the individual decision makers.

Next, search for freely available online information about the decision makers at each of your target accounts. You can do so by leveraging widely used (and acceptable) tools—like LinkedIn, Twitter, and their company website. Find out what they like and share that relates to what you do.

For example, let's say I'm doing LinkedIn research on Maureen, one of our PMG Principals...

Make note of not only content topics, but also content formats that they prefer. On their website, see if they’ve written any blog posts or if the company has shared any relevant news or press releases that can provide insight into their preferred style.

3. Just ask!

Remember that buyer persona research you started a couple years ago? Or maybe it was that buyer persona research you talked about starting? Well, it’s time to dig back in. Sometimes, it’s as easy as picking up the phone, calling up your top customers, and asking them a couple well thought-out questions. You can use helpful tools like HubSpot's new (and free) Make My Persona tool!

Interviewing your best customers leads to powerful insights about why they decided to do business with you, why they continue doing business with you, and, most importantly, why they continue choosing you over the plethora of competitors. The information you glean from these conversations with clients can guide the messaging, value propositions, format, and tone of your new content.

  • Did three of your top customers mention they loved your user-friendly website and matter-of-fact messaging? Use that same style into your new content. 
  • Did they also mention that, during the sales process, you were the only company that stood out because of your in-depth industry knowledge? Sprinkle bits of that expertise into your new content.

The ability to have all this information at our fingertips means there’s no excuse for not continuously improving your content to make it increasingly relevant and attractive to your prospects—except for having the time to do it, of course. In the age of content saturation and endless emails, we need all the help we can get to create winning content that our target accounts are actually impressed with enough to engage. These three tips should get you well on your way to creating effective custom content that will land you those target accounts.

In summary, to get started with account-based marketing, remember to:

  1. Use HubSpot or a similar tool to review the website activities of ideal contacts and customers.
  2. Assess prospect behavior and content preferences using social media.
  3. Finish those pesky personas and interview your existing clients for insight into prospect predilections.

If you need more information, check out this guide: Drive Sales with Content that Converts. And, don’t forget, you don’t have to go it alone. Let Precision Marketing Group be your go-to ABM experts. Contact us to learn more.

Free Download: Drive Sales with Content That Converts

About the Author

Sheila Villalobos | Account Manager
pmg
Sheila Villalobos, Account Manager

Sheila Villalobos is a PMG Account Manager and trend tracking extraordinaire. When she’s not being her naturally resourceful self and figuring out new ways to use old marketing tools, you can find her staying up to date on all things web design, ABM, contextual marketing and strategy (and writing blogs about them).

 Tags: Account-Based Marketing

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