What is Account Based Marketing?
Account-Based Marketing is a growth strategy in which marketing and sales work together to create personalized buying experiences for a select set of high value companies. Learn the five steps for building and executing an ABM strategy.
Inbound and ABM complement each other really well. When people think about inbound marketing, they think about volume based marketing techniques that focus on attracting as many website visitors as possible, but that’s only one part of inbound.
What really is Inbound? It’s a method of growing an organisation by building lasting relationships with people and helping them reach their goals. Thinking of Sales, marketing and service offerings all have attract, engage and delight phases. The aim is to create an amazing customer experience. You should build your account based marketing on top of your Inbound marketing strategies. This can be achieved through content marketing and SEO.
How is ABM Different?
Some companies are easier to engage with and they respond well to a more standard nurturing and marketing approach. Other companies require a more tailored approach designed specifically around them. In other words highly personalised messaging and content possibly for a specific set of companies or a unique campaign for just one particular company.
1. ABM would typically involve an intense level of personalisation just for a small group of customers, but this is only viable for companies that possess the following:
- Your product costs a lot. If purchasing your product typically requires approval of a finance department, ABM will help you streamline the process and get that approval.
- You have a finite number of prospects. If you can only sell your product to the biggest companies in the world or to companies in a specific niche, ABM will help you target those companies.
- You sell to a committee of people. If you regularly sell to buying groups or at least 3 people, ABM will help you assemble that committee and win them over.
2. Larger size high value deals
ABM is all about focusing on your biggest opportunities, so you’ll naturally close larger deals. If there’s a lot of effort in tailoring a campaign specific to a smaller audience, then it has to be worth while putting the time into the content and messaging.
3. Better Collaboration
ABM transforms marketing and sales from separate departments to focused, collaborative task forces that build better and more influential buying experiences with better results.
4. Improved Sales Velocity
Your deals will close quicker because of this improved focus and better alignment and increased competency for handling larger deals.
Hubspot ABM Account Plan Best Practices
There are 5 steps to building an Account Based Marketing Plan:
1. Create a taskforce of at least one marketer and at least one salesperson that markets and sells to an assigned list of target accounts.
It’s best to start small, and build out the team gradually. One Marketer can support up to 10 Salespeople. Also, limit the number of accounts based on the number of salespeople. Say, one salesperson can support up to 10 accounts. Any more
2. Identify Target Accounts.
You are probably already using inbound channels to drive traffic to your website. If you see higher value companies, then mark them as ‘target accounts’ and start creating a more personalised experience for them. You can also target current deals and invest some time in closing them sooner.
3. You could also look at the biggest deals you’ve closed recently, and upsell further products and services to them.
4. I recommend creating an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). In other words companies that fit a specific criteria in terms of customer success and what they have in common.
5. Most importantly, Sales and Marketing need to be on the same page and formally agree on the type of companies you are going to target.
Steps to Building Account Plans for ABM
After your task force has agreed on your target accounts, they will need to build account plans. Marketing and sales need to work together to map out the sorts of people they need to attract and engage and what content they’ll need in order to do that.
It’s really important for Marketing to collaborate with Sales so they can create a more personalised experience that mirrors the same proposition that the Sales people are offering in the meetings and communications material.
- Account Plans maybe very similar from account to account, but they shouldn’t be identical
- Account plans can be short and simple as long as they answer two key Questions. Who will be on the buying committee? What content will you need for each member of the buying committee?
Effective account based marketing with Hubspot requires detailed planning and we have a defined step by step plan and a finely tuned the process for success. Get in touch if you require assistance with Hubspot Account Based marketing.
Common Buying Committee Members
You may already be in contact with some of them, but you need to find a ways to empower those members to empower other members. As you think about what each member needs both for themselves and to win over others, each committee members need different content. Maybe the decision maker cares about outcomes where as the Budget holder needs to see cost efficiencies and examples of tangible savings. But you should have special nurturing plans for your blockers to keep them from derailing the deal.
These are the different committee members; Decision Maker, Champion, Budget Holder, Influencer, Blocker, Legal and Compliance, Executive Sponsor and End User.
Think about what content you’ll need like education around problem definition all they way through to close with proposals, road mapping and technical specs. You can take some existing content and personalise it for a specific account, then this will save time, but you will also want to create fresh, content ideas and develop these for specific account members. Building custom web pages with personalised content for specific accounts like relevant case studies.
- Repurposed content from your general inbound efforts
- Personalised web pages
- A report or evaluation about their company
- Create a personalised video
If you don’t have contacts from your target accounts, go to learn about solutions like yours and ensure your company is well represented there. Here are some of the things you can do to gain traffic and generate leads and enquiries.
You can utilise these tactics conferences, events, industry newsletters, get on review sites, utilise industry influencers, display advertising and sponsored social media posts and advertising. Make sure you limit yourself to places your target contacts will already be. Ensure your content is engaging, relevant and personalised to them. Also limit yourself to tactics that fit into your budget.
Watch these metrics while attracting contacts
- Page views and sessions from target accounts – need to see this increasing
- Conversion rates – contacts need to to consuming your content.
- Contacts created at target accounts
- Average cost per conversion.
Engage the Buying Committee
As you add contacts, do discovery, map the buying committee and create a deal. Sales and Marketing should work together, marketing can assist by creating awareness, reinforcing messaging across non-sales channels and creating content where needed. It’s important to keep the sale moving forwards.
Watch these metrics while engaging the buying committee:
- Target accounts with buyers
- Number/Type of Buyers
- Deal creation rate
- Deal velocity or time in deal stage
- Close rate
- Initial revenue from target accounts
Account Based Tools In Hubspot: supporting your account based marketing strategy
Lets walk through the Hubspot features that will support your account based marketing.
Identify Target Accounts
In Hubspot, goto the ‘Contacts’ menu and select ‘target accounts’. Next click ‘GET STARTED’
Click on ‘Contacts’ and select ‘Companies. Here you can filter your company records and create views to help you identify companies you might want to target. You may filter on location, number of employees, industry and number of sessions. If there are a lot of companies that match your criteria, you can use a property called ‘Ideal Customer Profile Tier’ to rank them and only target the highest ranked companies. This is property is useful in company lists and LinkedIn add on as well. Next, edit the company property called ‘target account’ for companies you want to target, and set that to ‘true’.
If you now open one of the company records, you will see on the right hand side an Account Overview section.
If you click the view ‘ account details button’, you can see several important metrics; New Contacts, Email, Meetings and Logged calls. You can select the time period at the top RHS and filter on say the last month.
The target account dashboard is like a command and control centre for all your ABM companies. Here you can view the overall progress of each account including open deals, last touch, engagement and more.
You can click the actions button next to a company and create a note or a task against the company to monitor progress and manage the process.
If you click on a company, you will then see another window open showing activity like, PAGE VIEWS, NEW CONTACTS, EMAIL, MEETINGS AND LOGGED CALLS.
There is a section called ‘Contacts’ where you can view engagement with the different buying roles including; LAST TOUCH, LAST ENGAGEMENT AND SCHEDULED COMMUNICATIONS.
You can also view how far you have progressed with each stakeholder, including ‘total activity’, last touch engagement and if any emails/tasks are scheduled.
The page views section shows which pages have been seen by which stakeholders.
On the left hand side of the ABM dashboard at the bottom, there is a ‘Recommendation’ that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to serve up good fit companies that need to be marked as target accounts. Prospects shows you a list of companies that have visited your website. These are useful tools to help find new ABM target accounts.
ABM Accounts Reports & Dashboards
You will want to view reports on how well your ABM accounts are progressing. If you choose ‘Reports’ – ‘Dashboards’ from the top menu and create the ABM Target Accounts Dashboards using the inbuilt Hubspot templates.
1. Account Based Marketing Dashboard
- Marketing managers
- Ideal Customers
- Contacts created at target accounts monthly
- Target accounts by page views
- Buying role by target account
- Contact source report by target account
- Deal stage by target accounts
- Target accounts by active deal amount
2. My target Accounts Dashboard
- Sales reps
- Sales managers
- How to use this dashboard
- Target accounts by time last seen
- Target accounts by recent conversion
- Target accounts by sales activity dates
- Buying roles by target account
- Target accounts with no decision maker
- Target accounts with no buying roles identified
3. My target Accounts Dashboard
- Marketing managers
- Sales managers
Buying roles by target account
Ideal customer profile tiers
Target accounts by industry
Target accounts by number of employees
Target accounts by number of associated contacts
Target accounts by annual revenue
Target accounts by number of form submissions
Target accounts by page views