Account-Based Marketing has been a B2B marketing buzzword for some time now. While everyone’s talking about it, it can be complicated to execute. As we’ve said in the past, ABM is built on a number of components and steps.
First, sales and marketing teams have to get aligned. Then, the two departments may work together to identify a list of target or best-fit accounts. Research and market intelligence helps shed insights on these accounts. Finally, the organization needs to implement its ABM campaign, which is a combination of creative outreach incorporating customer insights and selecting the best execution options for each customer or group of customers, followed by assessments.
These actions loosely correlate with four stages Forrester has outlined and reported on about Account-Based Marketing: account targeting and selection, gathering insights about target accounts, designing engagement strategies, and orchestrating engagement efforts.
While ABM is complicated, there’s no shortage of tools available to help when executing campaigns. A great way to organize these tools is by where in the process they typically come into play.
- LinkedIn: Helpful throughout the ABM campaign process, this social platform offers free insights as well as a series of professional targeting options. According to LinkedIn, its professional targeting services let businesses combine targeting criteria to build the ideal persona, such as IT decision makers, C-level executives, prospective students, or small business owners. The platform says what makes its data different, is that with LinkedIn, professionals have an incentive to keep their profiles accurate and up-to-date. The platform also lets businesses further customize targeted accounts or contacts with Website Retargeting, Contact Targeting and Account Targeting.
- ABM Software: Comprehensive ABM tools such as DemandBase and Engagio have features for multiple stages of ABM implementation, and for many programs, new features are being added all the time. They can help organizations target accounts and personalize marketing efforts by using artificial intelligence to monitor for signals of B2B buying intent and identify the most relevant buyers within a group of target accounts. This allows organizations to focus their marketing efforts on those accounts showing signs of being ready to buy. These platforms may also have special features allowing organizations to personalize pages of their website for specific accounts and gain insights about targeted clients.
- Marketing Intelligence Tools: According to Forbes, market intelligence and analytics tools can help organizations target and rank accounts in terms of their return on investment. Many are designed to provide marketing intelligence on not only which targeted accounts to pursue, but also how to time outreach efforts and how to set up an engaging go-to-market strategy. They also may offer website analytics features to provide specific insights about website traffic.
- Marketing Automation Platforms: When it comes to actually executing ABM campaigns, services and systems such as Marketo, HubSpot and Pardot are helpful for their ability to execute advanced email, social media, and mobile campaigns and then to monitor the results. What makes these tools useful is their ability to integrate with customer relationship management programs which makes for a much easier and more efficient implementation. These tools may also allow for personalized messaging, customized to an account and their stage in the buying journey.
A Google search will show you there’s no shortage of ABM tools on the market, and sometimes tools overlap in what they will do for you. However, breaking tools up into loose categories based on what they are built to do and how they integrate with other tools is a helpful way to understand what’s available and make decisions on which add-ons will be most beneficial.
In the next post, we’ll focus on one of the key early steps in ABM, how to identify target accounts. Until then, if you have questions or challenges regarding any ABM tools you’re considering, don’t hesitate to reach out for a conversation.