What Is Account-Based Marketing (ABM)?

Posted on March 31, 2024 | Updated on June 11, 2024

In business, hot leads are your most valuable assets. Turning prospects into customers is easy when they’re highly interested in your products and services. However, converting leads consistently and efficiently is challenging for many small businesses. While your sales team tries its best to create high-end customer experiences, you need a systematic approach that makes personalized customer journeys. 

One way to do this is through ABM (account-based marketing). ABM is an increasingly popular sales and marketing practice that places the best-fitting accounts front and center. It lets your business stay focused on your most promising leads, providing numerous opportunities. To implement this marketing tactic, you must learn the ins and outs of ABM so you can achieve your sales goals efficiently.

What Is ABM and How Does It Work?

Account-based marketing is a business tactic companies use to target certain people they want as customers. Instead of marketing to a broad audience, your team chooses several top accounts, collaborates, and uses their skills to win more results. 

Unlike traditional marketing, where you use inbound strategies to target a wider audience, ABM targets specific individuals. For each target account, the business creates a unique marketing plan tailored to the particular needs and interests of that company. The business then communicates with the target accounts using personalized messages. This could be done through emails, social media or in-person meetings. 

The goal is to build a strong relationship with each target account. To do this, your team would try to understand their challenges and how your products may help. ABM can be highly effective when you execute in the right direction. 

Why Small Businesses Use Account-Based Marketing

Using account-based marketing can be beneficial for small businesses in several ways. One of the reasons you might implement ABM is because it helps you use your resources more efficiently. Small businesses often have limited budgets and workforce. With ABM, you can concentrate your resources on a few high-value targets rather than spreading them thin. As such, you save time and money by maximizing what you have.

Another reason small businesses use ABM is because of better alignment between marketing and sales. Cross-team collaboration is beneficial to any company wanting to achieve growth. When you have marketing and sales working together, the accounts you work with are consistent. In other words, one team member can pick up where the other left off because of effective communication. In turn, customers have a more enjoyable experience, leading to more sales. 

While there are plenty of other benefits ABM offers, the most important reason companies use this marketing strategy is the customer relationships. ABM focuses on building long-term relationships with key accounts. Each account must have an experience where they feel like they’re the only one. This approach can lead to sustained business growth, as these customers often become loyal and repeat buyers. In fact, one survey found that 90% of consumers prefer to spend more money on businesses that offer personalized services or products. 

What Are Some Examples of ABM?

The one perk you get with account-based marketing is that it works through numerous different channels. Therefore, you can reach your specific audience in various ways through your own mix of marketing tactics. Your approach to target an account depends on that individual’s needs. Accordingly, the marketing channel you choose must be relevant, as they’ll have the most impact on your small business. The following examples show how marketers can use ABM with various tactics.

Website Personalization

Driving traffic to your website through inbound marketing campaigns is great. However, successful ABM requires you to customize visitors’ website experience through personalization technology. This way, you target account-specific prospects and make your website more relevant.

Webinars

Webinars can also be effective in engaging target accounts. Businesses can customize webinars to address their challenges and invite them to learn more about how they can help them overcome their obstacles. By asking key decision-makers to join you in an exclusive webinar, you can show off your expertise and build a closer relationship with a prospect in a focused, more interactive setting.

One-to-One Email Campaigns

Email is still a highly effective ABM strategy. Businesses can craft individualized emails instead of automated marketing messages to the entire subscriber list. This approach involves creating emails about the company’s interests and its decision-makers. It fosters a direct and personal connection, increasing your chances of engaging the recipient and building strong business relationships.

Paid Advertising

PPC (pay-per-click) and social media advertising can be highly targeted in account-based marketing. For example, you can use social platforms like LinkedIn to reach decision-makers at specific companies through advertisements. However, you must target your ads to accounts using AI targeting and retargeting and tailor your content to their needs.

Account-Specific Events

In-person events have been a great way to deepen relationships. Whether it’s a private workshop or a VIP dinner, you can host something that directly engages with decision-makers. After the event, you can always follow up with these individuals to develop a possible partnership. 

Direct Mail

Direct mail may seem like an outdated marketing method. However, it can be an effective way to reach the prospects of a certain company. To target accounts through direct mail, you could include personalized gifts, branded merchandise and tailored informational materials. Providing something more tangible instead of digital can be a delightful surprise and create a memorable impression that differentiates you from competitors. 

How To Implement Account-Based Marketing

Implementing ABM can be broken down into five simple steps:

  1. Identify your most high-valued target accounts: Start by choosing the companies you want to target. These should be firms that are likely to benefit most from your offerings and contribute the most revenue.
  2. Gather insights: Learn as much as possible about these companies. Understand their pain points, needs, and where they are in the customer journey.
  3. Create personalized content: Develop marketing materials based on the information you’ve gained. That way, the content speaks directly to each target account.
  4. Choose the right channels: Decide on the most effective channels to reach these companies, whether through email, social media, direct mail or other methods.
  5. Execute and measure: Launch your ABM campaigns and closely monitor their performance. Use the insights gained to refine your approach and improve future campaigns.

Make Growth More Sustainable and Efficient With ABM

Account-based marketing can be easy to implement when you create a step-by-step plan. Yet, once you gain traction with ABM, you’ll understand what you need to do to improve. ABM requires a structured, focused approach, and providing a more personalized experience will help you achieve more business growth.

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