The three pillars of Account-Based Marketing (ABM): Breakfast briefing recap

Pete Morgan

15 November 2019

This week the London office held a breakfast briefing discussing the topic of account-based marketing. The event was a great forum for knowledge sharing, with Metia clients discussing their previous ABM experiences and offering advice.

Despite having been around for several years in the form of key account marketing and relationship marketing, there is a lot of new buzz around ABM. There’s good reason for the increase in interest. When done correctly account-based marketing campaigns drive substantial business value (we’ve written a guide on ABM best practice if you’d like some tips on the right way to run a campaign).

Metia convened a group of clients to provide tangible advice on running a successful ABM campaign and create a platform for them to share experiences with their peers. There were three key pillars of discussion throughout the morning, answering the questions:

  1. How do you effectively plan an ABM strategy?
  2. How do you ensure your ABM campaign is engaging the right audience?
  3. How do you convert your ABM activity to the bottom line?
1. Effectively planning an ABM strategy

An effective ABM strategy starts with in-depth planning. Many embarking on their first ABM programme often don’t realise how much planning is necessary to successfully launch a campaign that provides return. The first question that must be answered is: which companies do you want to target and who within these companies do you want to engage?

Once targets have been established it is necessary to have a deep understanding of what makes these individuals tick and how you are going to encourage them to take a desired action. Whether you’re taking a one-to-one, one-to-few or one-to-many approach also impacts the steps needed to devise a strategy that will really perform.

2. Engaging the right audience

B2B is a complex space to navigate with lots of organisations and buyer types to understand. Running an ABM campaign adds to this complexity, demanding a need for greater understanding that extends beyond just knowing as much about the company as possible. Ultimately, the goal of any ABM campaign is to bring people together and engage them around a common interest. To do this it’s critical to know who your specific target individuals are, where they are and what will really capture their attention. Is this a particular type of content, a tailored event, an interesting direct mailer or something else?

Prioritizing both time and financial investment is fundamental to achieving success. Where do you want to spend your high, mid and low touch energy to achieve your business goals? Chasing the wrong people with the wrong method can be costly. And don’t invest all your resources into a technology platform without having the right plan and people to execute your strategy in place.

3. Converting ABM to the bottom line

Converting ABM activity to bottom line results is essentially about getting leads to take the right actions as a result of your conversation. Key to this is creating a fair value exchange and addressing early on how you’ll take your campaign through to point of sale. The later stages of an ABM strategy are where most people fall short.

Creating a fair value exchange by providing some sort of incentive gives prospects a reason to want to talk to you. This could come in the form of written content, social content, experiences or anything else your audience might engage with and find useful.

Once the fair value exchange has been established you need to think about how to move the needle to the point of sale. Ultimately this conversion push comes down to answering the following questions:

  1. How do you develop a level of confidence that enables conversations about a lead’s pain points?
  2. How do you hold the sales team actioning your strategy to account?
  3. What is your approach to testing, learning and optimising?

Providing the right tools and information will enable salespeople to get on with actioning the campaign. Without these, a successful ABM programme is impossible to develop. It’s the additional customer knowledge that sets this more targeted approach apart. Senior level buy-in is also fundamental as a campaign like this takes serious time investment.

That said, it’s important to realise failing fast is the best way to learn what will work and what won’t. Running a pilot programme could help maximise efficiency and highlight any red flags before taking the campaign to wider market.

Conclusion

All in all, our London ABM morning provided a rich variety of talking points and gave clients an opportunity to learn from the successes and failures their peers. Thank you to everyone that came down – we hope you’ll join us for the next session. In the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about running an ABM programme you can download our best practice guide on account-based marketing here.