Marketing today is all about personalization.
It’s about reaching the right people in the right place at the right time. Account-based marketing (ABM) is no different and has been growing in popularity in recent years.
In fact, 87% of account-based marketers say ABM initiatives outperform other marketing investments.
Also, every fifth account that ABM targets is considered a qualifying opportunity.
For this reason, ABM is an important tactic when you are selling high quality B2B products or services to a limited number of companies that have a multi-person buying committee and require personalized content and engagement.
As a marketer, this seems like a daunting task as you’ve likely felt the pain of tools that were difficult to use, didn’t integrate with your systems, or made collaboration between teams difficult.
Because of this, it is a good idea to use marketing automation and ABM software to make the process seamless.
Here’s how you can automate your account-based marketing strategy.
Account-based marketing automation
- Create your ideal customer profile (ICP).
- Set up your target accounts.
- Integrate your ABM, your marketing automation software and your CRM.
- Build your campaigns.
- Personalize your content.
- Adjust your engagement.
- Set up a dashboard to evaluate ongoing efforts.
1. Create your ideal customer profile (ICP).
Before you can start with ABM, you need to define your ideal customer profile. This is similar to a buyer personality, except that it is aimed at entire organizations rather than individuals.
You want to know what types of businesses you want to target. For example, your ICP should include company size, revenue, industry, and location information.
With software like HubSpot’s ABM software, you can use ICP workflow templates to identify general characteristics that can be used to classify companies in your database based on their compliance with your ICP.
Ultimately, automation should help you identify and organize your target accounts. Once you’ve created your ICP, you should be able to use this information in your ABM software to help manage your target audience.
2. Set up your target accounts.
Once you’ve created your ICP, you should be able to set up your target accounts in your ABM software.
By checking “Target Accounts” in your software, you can manage your target audience through a Target Accounts Dashboard. With HubSpot’s ABM software, for example, you can mark accounts as target accounts and then categorize them as ICP Tier. Your priority accounts will be marked as Tier 1, while accounts with lower priority will be marked as Tier 3.
Additionally, great ABM software uses AI-powered target account recommendations to automate the process of researching companies that are a good fit for you.
These tools allow you to manage your lists and then segment them to provide personalized content for your target accounts.
3. Integrate your ABM, marketing automation software, and CRM.
Before you can start building your ABM campaigns, you should integrate your ABM software with your marketing automation software and CRM.
For example, HubSpot lets you use many of the ABM software features if you have Marketing or Sales Pro.
The integration of your marketing tools is important to the automation process. If your ABM software doesn’t interact with your email marketing software or advertising tools, you won’t be able to automate the process.
Additionally, if it doesn’t interact with your CRM, it’s impossible to know if leads are turning into accounts and to track the ROI of an account-based campaign.
By integrating these tools, you have your ICP research, target accounts, content and CRM in one place.
4. Create your campaigns.
Once you’ve set up your ABM software and marketing tools, it’s time to create your campaigns.
First of all, you want to decide which channels you want to use and which actions trigger an automated workflow.
First, take a look at your target accounts and find out where they spend their time online. For example, you can create an ad campaign based on the job title or company of people on LinkedIn and Facebook.
Then you should think about your customer journey and set up automated workflows. For example, you can have a task created for a sales rep when someone working in one of your target accounts is interacting with an email, website, or blog content.
5. Personalize your content.
You’ve probably started using ABM to personalize your marketing campaigns. To do this, you want to create your content and use your automation tools to segment your audience.
With HubSpot’s ABM software, for example, you can use business lists to create an ad group or use ad targeting for your LinkedIn ads.
With your ICP setup, it should be easy to build your content based on your target audience. The content of your ABM campaigns is similar to other marketing content, except that you are now targeting specific accounts and companies.
Ultimately, your messaging should address certain vulnerabilities and solve the problems of your target account.
6. Adjust your engagement.
Another aspect of your ABM strategy is working with your sales team so they can customize how they work with target accounts.
A great way to do this is with automation tools. That is why it is important that your CRM and ABM software work together.
With HubSpot’s ABM software and Sales Hub, for example, you can automate your follow-up emails and tasks based on the behavior of potential customers.
Remember, however, that while your focus is on automation right now, you should still personalize your sales performance and content.
7. Set up a dashboard to evaluate ongoing efforts.
The final step in automating your ABM strategy is to track and measure your efforts. With your ABM software, you want to see information at a glance.
For example, in your dashboard you can provide information about your target accounts such as company valuation, open deals, overall pipeline and the number of identified decision makers.
If business reviews are available for your ABM software, consider using them. This is similar to Lead Scoring, where you assign a rating based on the characteristics of your software.
Additionally, you should consider doing A / B testing when you start out with ABM automation so you can see which messages are attractive to your ICP.
While ABM requires careful planning and coordination, using ABM software tools – ideally those built into your CRM and marketing automation tools – can help you automate and scale your strategy.
You can find more information about the HubSpot offers in our ABM software.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2020 and has been updated for completeness.