In our most recent episode of Talk of the Trade, we sat down with Nick Bennett (Director of Field Marketing and ABM at Alyce) to talk about how to develop a successful Account-Based Marketing strategy.
Since ABM is so prevalent among B2B companies now, we wanted to find out from an expert what the secret is to setting up an ABM strategy that works. Read on for key takeaways from the episode – or listen to it here!
What is Account-Based Marketing (ABM)?
Let’s start with definitions. Account-Based Marketing (known as ABM for short) is a strategy that focuses on identifying your target accounts first and then tailoring your marketing for each account individually. Instead of using a broad net to attract leads from all over the market, your marketing becomes a spear used to provide highly personalized outreach that gets in front of the accounts that will convert the most revenue for your organization.
Should Marketing own ABM?
Since “marketing” puts the M in ABM, most organizations decide that ABM should be a marketing strategy. However, Nick warns against siloing this strategy within the marketing team. If marketing selects the target accounts without the input of sales, then there will be a major disconnect between stakeholders that will result in a lot of missed opportunities. In fact, since ABM is so targeted, sales must be bought into the strategy in order to execute on all necessary follow-up. So instead of thinking of it as a marketing strategy, Nick recommends thinking it of ABX or ABE – “Account-Based Execution” that requires cooperation of everyone on the revenue team.
How do you choose your target accounts for ABM?
There are lots of webinars and whitepapers dedicated to helping you set up a strategy for choosing the right target accounts for your organization. For Nick, it boils down to coordinating with sales. Alignment on ABM strategy should come from marketing and sales leadership, and from there, each department should work together to develop the criteria for target accounts.
For example, at Alyce, they prioritize accounts based on: potential for growth, most likely to be successful with the standard product, and credibility to the Alyce brand. Each organization will have different priorities, which is why it is so important to align with sales before setting your target account list.
How can Marketing and Sales improve their cooperation?
In many organizations, marketing and sales are two siloed teams. At best, they are working towards the same goal with different strategies. At worst, they don’t understand each other and see each other as obstacles to their own success.
As a marketer, Nick says his success comes from having a close relationship with sales. He has a couple of recommendations for more closely aligning with your sales partners, including:
- Make sure you work with sales from the beginning of your ABM strategy
- Set up regular meetings with all your sales partners.
- Set up a shared dashboard where everyone can access essential reports tracking your key performance indicators
What should your marketing and sales alignment meetings cover?
Nick stresses the importance of regular meetings to align with sales team members on all target accounts. He goes so far as to schedule weekly one-on-ones with each sales person. The check-ins turn into very valuable sessions because he uses them to make sure his campaigns are targeting the right accounts and to follow-up on any leads or opportunities. Plus, when they start targeting a new account, he partners with sales to create a “blueprint” of the account that shows every digital crumb about the company, which allows the marketing and sales campaigns to be that much more customized.
In the full podcast episode, Nick and Mike dig into each of these points more in-depth. Listen to the episode here!