Account Based Marketing

Part
01
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Part
01

Case Studies

Case studies surrounding a business' implementation of account-based marketing (ABM) include those from Phonic, Lead Agency, and Bizible. We have also provided additional resources with dozens of similar case studies. Below, you will find more details.

1) Phonic USED ABM TO DRIVE 100 MILLION IN REVENUE

  • Phonic, a semiconductor manufacturing company that specializes in cooling technology, needed a way to effectively reach the various business verticals they were targeting.
  • The team needed a more effective strategy because their previous marketing strategies were not producing the desired result partly because the verticals they were targeting were niched verticals and they lacked a robust contact database.
  • In addition, Phonic had budget constraints, while results from their cold email and other outbound campaigns were mediocre at best.
  • They decided to turn to ABM to help them overcome the above challenges and worked with a firm that specializes in ABM.
  • Using ABM marketing strategies, they were able to better target and drive engagement in the target niche markets, reaching decision-makers beyond their limited database.
  • They were also better able to "segment their messaging by vertical and persona in order to deliver precisely the right message to each person, even the most difficult-to-reach stakeholders."
  • As a result, their email open rates increased from 19.75% to 36.52% and prospects became 85% more likely to engage with Phonic.
  • About 9% of the account engaged using ABM strategies converted within four months, leading to over $10 million in revenue.

Lead Agency USED ABM TO CONVERT Customers

  • Lead Agency, a company that specializes in generating GDPR-compliant leads for clients, was looking to find high-value customers in the real estate space.
  • The company decided that the best approach to reach the specific customers they wanted was through account-based marketing and employed the services of an ABM specialist Six and Flow.
  • Together, they identified 35 companies they wanted to target, mapped the decision makers and influencers in the company, and created the appropriate content that addressed their needs.
  • They adopted a tiered marketing approach where more resources were devoted to larger and more appropriate accounts as needed.
  • They were able to convert 10 of the target companies to paying customers within 35 days using the ABM approach, a 29% conversion rate.

Bizible USED ABM TO INCREASE REVENUE

  • Bizible, a small marketing company focused on helping small businesses generate revenue rather just leads, needed to generate additional sales within a month in order to meet revenue target for the quarter.
  • The marketing team decided that their best chance of bringing in the required sales to meet the sales target was by employing account-based marketing to target the right prospect.
  • After identifying several targets, the team customized a direct mail message targeting the decision makers at each company.
  • The company's overall message was that they help companies grow their account so they "printed out the Total Economic Impact of Bizible (on recycled paper of course), wrote a custom card, and planted a handful of trees in the recipient's name."
  • They sent out a total of 37 mailers at a cost of about $750 and were able to generate $33,000 in extra revenue within a month.
  • The account-based marketing effort enabled Bizible to exceed their sales target for the quarter by over 15%.

Additional Case Studies.

  • Terminus has over 20 case studies on the successful implementation of ABM.
  • Ready Contacts has a compilation of 11 case studies on the successful implementation of ABM.
  • B2B Marketing Zone has over ten case studies on the successful implementation of ABM.
Part
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Part
02

Best & Worst Practices

Five best practices when implementing an account based marketing (ABM) solution are identifying high-value accounts, mapping individuals to accounts, defining and create targeted campaigns, developing a strategic playbook, and measuring and optimization. Three worst practices are not Identifying high-value accounts, misaligning the involved teams, and having untargeted campaigns.

Best Practices

Identify high-value accounts

  • The existing customer base should be analyzed in order to identify which ones would fit into the definition of a perfect customer.
  • The definition of a perfect customer can differ based on factors like industry. They are usually the most profitable, long-term, satisfied customers.
  • There should be a balance between existing and new customers.
  • New customers should be considered if they have an immediate need that can be addressed which would compel them to spend.
  • There should be transparency regarding why and how the selected accounts were chosen in order to make smart, customized decisions.

Map individuals to accounts

  • Those in the marketing and sales teams who can wield influence on customers to make the final buying decision should be identified. They are the team members who should be engaged and encouraged to take necessary actions.
  • In addition to sales and marketing teams, people from other teams like operations, customer success, and finance that would play a role in the success of an ABM strategy should be engaged as well.

Define and create targeted campaigns

  • Personalized campaigns should be created to resonate with the selected accounts. It is important to note that developing and nurturing relationships is key to implementing a successful ABM campaign.
  • The campaign would succeed if relevant consultation and education is provided and directed to the buying cycle of each account.
  • The interests and other data about the people who are part of the buying committee should be found so that they can be reached with the right message at the right time.

Develop a strategic playbook

  • Create a documentation that shows the roles and responsibilities of everyone involved in the ABM program. State the strategy that the team members would deploy to engage the customers.
  • Every team member should function effectively to make an ABM machine.

Measure and optimize

  • The measurement of the results of ABM programs is different from the measurement of the results of standard lead-generation strategies. Both marketing and sales teams are responsible for the success of ABM.
  • ABM deals with quality rather than quantity. Metrics should be designed around the ability to meet revenue targets.

Worst practices

spam account lists

Misaligning the Involved teams

  • If the relevant teams such as marketing and sales teams are working with different goals, the ABM program can be easily derailed.

Having untargeted campaigns

  • Contacting leads without discovering the best ways to reach them is another bad practice that could frustrate an ABM campaign.

Research strategy

To look for information on the best and worst practices when implementing an Account Based Marketing solution, we started by scouring scholarly sources and data-backed sources such as Sage, Wiley, Emerald Insight, and JSTOR. We found only one book from Wiley but it is behind a paywall.

We therefore explored other credible sources and we found the best practices on LinkedIn Business, Martech Today, Marketing Land, and IT Services Marketing Association (ITSMA). Martech Today and Marketing Land are top marketing news publications and ITSMA is the pioneer of the ABM concept. We did not include information on best practices from marketing companies.

However, the only direct references to the worst practices were only found on the blogs of marketing companies, but we only included information that could be inferred to be the opposite of the best practices we found from the earlier sources as they are more of opposites of the identified best practices.

We discovered that much of the information from these credible sources are available on the website of MESH Interactive Agency. However, we have included the information as they are from different authoritative sources and industry experts.

Part
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Part
03

Best & Worst Practices 2

Five additional best practices when implementing an account based marketing (ABM) solution are increasing impact within each of the three types of ABM, adopting a blended strategy with more than one type of ABM, investing in ABM teams, mastering storytelling, and leveraging technology. Three additional worst practices are using outdated customer data, poor implementation plan, and focusing on one ABM channel.

BEST PRACTICES

Increase impact within each of the three types of ABM

  • According to ITSMA and the ABM Leadership Alliance, three types of ABM which have recently emerged are One-to-One, One-to-Few, and One-to-Many.
  • The impact of One-to-One ABM can be increased by focusing on strengthening account relationships and the solidification of long-term growth.
  • The success of One-to-Few ABM can be boosted by applying a more sophisticated method in the clustering of target accounts through needs-based clustering and engaging with the main buyer personas within those accounts.
  • Increasing the impact of One-to-Many ABM can be achieved by strengthening the approaches through which account target lists are identified and developing more customized experiences which engages and nurtures prospective customers.

Adopt a blended strategy with more than one type of ABM

  • Blended ABM strategies entail “using different types of ABM for different types of accounts”. This shows an important growth of the approach.
  • Through blended ABM strategies, marketers can better align investment with the priorities and coverage of sales and provide focused investments to support essential corporate activities like “entering new markets, rolling out new solutions, and engaging new types of buyers”.
  • There is an increasing interest in blended ABM strategies.
  • The 2018 Benchmark Study by ITSMA and ABM Leadership Alliance found that 65% of companies used only one type of ABM in 2017 compared to 54% of companies in 2018. On the other hand, 35% of companies used a blended ABM strategy in 2017 compared to 46% in 2018.

Invest in ABM teams

  • Skill and team development remains a top priority for many ABM programs, especially as they continue to scale. Most organizations rely on training but selective outsourcing and partnering can fill essential gaps, as well.
  • According to the 2018 Benchmark Study, the three key competencies to develop in 2019 are “data and analytics, sales and marketing collaboration, and content creation and tailoring”.
  • 62% of respondents in the 2018 Benchmark Study want to develop their competence in data and analytics, 53% in sales and marketing collaboration, and 49% in content creation and tailoring.

Master storytelling

  • One of the key challenges for achieving success in ABM is developing germane, "compelling messages and content at scale".
  • It is important to develop and strengthen storytelling skills and strategies to provide a robust foundation for implementing ABM engagement at all levels.
  • ABM is not just about writing the story, but multiple stories which are tailored and targeted and delivered from different angles. It requires ideas and creativity, a one-size-fits-all method cannot be applied.

Leverage technology

  • There are important tools and platforms like "marketing automation, digital advertising, and insight tools" which are used to support ABM programs.
  • As ABM teams consolidate their strategies and programs, they can deploy and integrate a range of specialized tools to add new essential capabilities for successful ABM implementation.
  • One of the most important emerging new tools for ABM is artificial intelligence (AI). AI has great potential to enhance success, especially in strategy and program development, which are the most data-driven components of ABM.
  • AI enables engagement with site visitors via chatbots which can provide answers to important questions in real-time and connect key contacts with the relevant team members where necessary.
  • The three most popular processes in which respondents from the 2018 Benchmark Study are most likely to deploy AI in the near future are “account insight (61%), measuring ABM success/attribution (41%), and account/cluster selection (43%)”.

Worst PRACTICES

Outdated customer data

  • One of the worst practices in ABM implementation is using outdated data. This happens when the data which is being fed into the ABM program is not “structured, real-time, and connected across departments to allow for deep, relevant, and contextual insights”.
  • An outdated customer database can result in inaccurate or misleading account profiles which can hinder new business wins, cripple the sales process, and impede growth.

Poor implementation plan

  • An ABM program can be poorly implemented if the ABM team does not know where to begin, how many accounts to start with, or if the executive team of the company does not support it. These can generate problems that could become too big to handle.

Focus on a Single ABM Channel

  • Investing most resources into one ABM channel for lead generation will lead to a waste of money. ABM requires a wider view of the buyer’s journey, just like other marketing campaigns.
  • Also, insights into the effectiveness of efforts cannot be obtained there is no diversification to other channels.

Research strategy

To look for information on additional best and worst practices when implementing an account based marketing solution, we started by scouring scholarly sources and data-backed sources such as Sage, Wiley, Emerald Insight, and JSTOR. We could not find any other source apart from the book from Wiley which was also identified by the previous research and it is behind a paywall.
We therefore explored other credible sources and we found additional best and worst practices on the 2018 Benchmark Study by ITSMA and ABM Leadership Alliance from ITSMA website. We also found additional worst practices on Dun & Bradstreet. We found supporting information from other sources including LinkedIn Business and ReachForce. ITSMA is the pioneer of the ABM concept, Dun & Bradstreet is a key leader in commercial data and analytical insight, and ReachForce provides support services to marketing companies through data management solutions.

Apart from ITSMA, most of the best practices found in the other sources were already covered in the previous research. Also, we had to get one more additional worst practice from Iron Paper, a marketing company, because we couldn’t find up to three additional worst practices from non-marketing company sources.

Sources
Sources