B2B Articles - June 23, 2018

The seven most effective account-based marketing activities

As your marketing efforts become more complex, they can also become more time-consuming. One of the reasons some organizations remain loyal to an ineffective sales approach is because making the leap to an inbound marketing, account-based marketing, and agile marketing methodologies takes investment, thoughtfulness, and learning through experience. Even once this new process is set up, it will require refinement over time to ensure it works optimally.

Most effective account-based marketing activities

Evaluating which marketing tactics and investments help to make your team more effective is a vital part of the process. No one wants to feel that they are wasting time on activities and channels that don’t help grow the business, or worse yet, stuck performing futile tasks because management has yet to recognize the inefficiency they see daily. We see these “stick fetching” activities all the time when we audit the marketing practices of companies--yet they persist.

Though every organization must develop a distinct set of account-based marketing activities that help to keep the pipeline full of leads, these seven are some of the most likely to be part of your process. Regardless of organization size and structure, these processes can help streamline the workload of both sales and marketing.

Most effective account-based marketing activities

  1. Develop an agile research process.

With prospects constantly growing and evolving, research is an ongoing process that can take up a large chunk of time, unless you develop an agile process to learn more about the companies you are targeting. Some of the best ways to streamline your research include:

  • Understand your buyer before you start working on campaigns to reach them by building personas and studying the market. Having a good baseline of knowledge will help you craft the right narratives and focus on relevant pain points. This is one area where the combined knowledge and data of your sales and marketing teams can be key. While sales is more likely to know the industry, company size and annual revenue of a target company, marketing can be more informed about their influence and reach in the marketplace (Zantal-Wiener). But, don't stop with a one-time research project.
  • Invest time in proactively researching your target companies instead of waiting until there is an issue to react. A few hours of research time each week to keep your findings current will help to keep you connected with your buyers.
  • Continuously learn and adapt to your findings. Put processes in place that allow changes to be made quickly based on key metrics instead of slowly reacting to what the numbers are telling you.
  • Ask better questions of your leads, buyers, customers, and lost deals to continuously learn from your engagements. Create a forum internally to share these insights to feed messaging, marketing, sales, leadership, and customer experience teams.
  1. Create customized high-value offers

High-value offers are more compelling than offers of general consultations and bland appointment setting. Create offers that help educate buyers about how to resolve acute pain points relative to their industry, role, and specific line of business. Offers that promise to show how other companies in the same field are achieving their goals or reveal processes used by well known, successful companies can be especially effective (Rosenberg).

Awareness stage content strategy: categorize content

  1. Use content to span the buyer’s journey

Buyer journey stages for content strategy

95% of buyers chose a vendor that provided content to navigate each stage of the buying process

(Demand Gen Report) See more Sales Stats

Create content that spans the entire buyer's journey from the early stages of learning about what you offer to decide to convert. Educate them about the specific value you can provide, outcomes you can ensure, pain points you can solve, and how you can help them overcome the obstacles that they face.

digital marketing audit lead nurturing

  1. Educating leads instead of pitching them

This point is crucial. We see this mistake way too often.

Spam email

Filling your sales pipeline with leads is just the beginning. Leads must be educated, nurtured, inspired, and motivated. Instead of trying to close a deal each time you appear in front of a prospect, offer them more knowledge and deeper reasons to do business with your company. This will help move them to the next stage of the buyer’s journey. Use your buyer research from point one to create a messaging and engagement framework. Shift your approach to focus on the motivations of your buyers -- not your overt need to sell. This will lend more importance to what you are sharing and align better with the buyer's perspective.

  1. Develop a multi-channel approach

Account-based marketing is all about casting a wide net to try and attract a diverse range of prospects. Some of the tactics that should be part of your arsenal include:

  • Targeted ads and remarketing
  • Linkedin InMail and web forms
  • Twitter, Linkedin feeds, Facebook (esp. for remarketing or targeting)
  • Different types of emails, including one-to-one personalized emails and highly segmented and personalized drip campaigns
  • Phone calls & event invitations
  • Website dynamic personalization
  • Creating account-relevant content within your blog and social channels based on the specific needs/motivations of your ABM target group
  • Developing thought-leadership in the specific areas of influence for your ABM target group
  1. Use your website to target specific prospects

Use dynamic personalization to make your website specific and relevant to the types of accounts you wish to attract.

Personalization for website design

Personalization isn’t limited to including a prospect’s name in content (which isn't always useful), it can also mean offering them content on companies related to their industry, reporting on what influencers in the space are doing and pieces that speak to their specific pain points. Similar to email, your website can be personalized with relevant content based on an array of factors such as segmentation lists, lifecycle stage, persona, industry, and even role/title.

HubSpot dynamic personalization tokens

  1. Strengthen the bond between sales and marketing

Your marketing and sales team must be committed to gains and not blame. They must help each other--not point fingers. It's a joint effort of combined skill and talent.  Figuring out how sales and marketing align helps to provide the structure behind every campaign (Devaney), which results in a smoother handoff of qualified prospects.

Identifying the activities that lead to success in account-based marketing and refining them can take time, but with proper planning and tracking, you can begin to denote the ones that are truly vital to your unique process and those that aren’t worth the time investment. Plus, if marketing and sales teams have aligned goals and a process designed to build mutual support (rather than a contest between the groups) the business will benefit. Even marketing and sales SLAs should be tested, designed for alignment, and tweaked over time to foster creativity, accountability, and positive energy.

Further reading on the subject: What to Do With Purchased Lead Lists in Your Inbound Marketing Strategy

Works Cited

Devaney, Erik. 5 Account-Based Marketing Experts Share Their Most Successful Campaigns. 26 April 2017.

Rosenberg, Craig. Account-based marketing: 11 Tactics to Drive Your ABM Process. n.d. <http://blog.topohq.com/account-based-marketing-11-tactics-to-drive-your-abm-process/>.

Zantal-Wiener, Amanda. The Ultimate Guide to Account-Based Marketing: 6 Key Steps. n.d. <https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/account-based-marketing-guide>.

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