By its nature, account-based marketing (ABM) begins with an understanding of the business or businesses that match your sales success criteria and the members of the buying group that you need to target. It’s based on some share of market that’s a portion of the total addressable market that you believe you can capture.
You already know the account names, industries and firmographics for your target accounts. You should also have identified at least some of the decision makers you want to target, and probably have some in your customer relationship management system.
You should build your content marketing strategy and tactics on this foundation to reach its full potential for success. There are several flavors of ABM. With a sound strategy in place, whatever that means for your unique business, here are six tactics to help ensure ABM success.
#1: Look for Common Themes
While ABM gives you the advantage of being able to personalize for each account, it also adds the challenge of targeting multiple individuals within the buying group. SiriusDecisions research found that 80% of B2B buyers said three or more individuals make up a buying committee or buying group. Of the remaining 20%, most said there were at least two people involved.
Sometimes, you can create content that speaks to several key players in the buying group without losing your focus on your primary target buyer. You can accomplish this by analyzing your personas and searching for common themes or key words that cross persona lines.
Let’s use an example of an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. You may be targeting three different personas, but all three have a common pain point of not being able to get an accurate and complete view into their business because systems aren’t integrated, and different data are coming from different systems. Build on this common theme in your content.
#2: Run Concurrent Campaigns
Another tactic is to target several members of the buying group with different but concurrent content marketing campaigns. Since these individuals are working together to evaluate and choose a particular solution, each can be armed with information to share with the group and/or champion specific needs.
Taking the ERP example again, we might run campaigns targeting the financial, operations and IT decision makers. With the financial decision maker, the messaging may focus on simplifying and shortening the month-end closing process. With the operations manager, the messaging may revolve around maintaining optimal inventory levels. With the IT decision maker, you may want to use messaging that focuses on ensuring data security.
#3: Repurpose Across the Committee
Closely tied to tactic #2, here you want to make sure that you’re not unnecessarily reinventing the wheel with every piece of content. If you’re running three different campaigns to three personas, use re-versioned assets of the same content format for every component of the campaign, wherever that’s possible.
You may use the same template to deliver checklists with content tailored to three different personas. You may even find that a significant chunk of the content applies to different personas with little or no tweaking.
#4: Cover Buyer & Sales Enablement
With ABM, marketing and sales efforts need to work in concert. Buyer enablement content is generally middle- to late-stage content that provides points of consideration and solution information that helps the buyer make a purchase decision. Sales enablement content extends that conversation into the final buying stages.
Buyer enablement content, for example, may include evaluation checklists, best practices guides or case studies. Sales enablement content gives your sales team ammunition when it’s meeting (virtually or in person) with the buying group members. Formats that work well here are presentation decks or ROI calculators (prospect- or customer-facing) or battlecards (internal-facing).
For a more in-depth discussion of buyer enablement content, be sure to register for our upcoming session in Demand Gen Report’s Buyer Insights & Intelligence Series on July 24: New Trends in Buyer Enablement Content: Top Formats & Tactics That Drive Conversations and Build Trust.
#5: Persona Focus with Tentacles
We already talked about creating persona-focused content that can speak to more than one member of the buying group by addressing common challenges or common themes. That’s one way to extend the reach of your targeted content.
Another way is to provide links or embed content In targeted assets that address the needs of other buying members. A day-in-the-life g-book targeting a marketing executive may include an embedded video or a link to a Q&A that the persona could use to make a business case to the executive who may have to approve the purchase.
In another possibility, an E-book targeting a business decision maker could include one or a series of sidebars that specifically address IT’s concerns. You could highlight these sidebars with a title like “Technical Deep Dive.”
#6: Turn Customers Into Influencers
With ABM, you’re targeting accounts in specific industries. If you already have customers within those industries, use their success stories to help sell to new accounts. There are a number of ways you can do this. After all, they share the same challenges.
First, you can create case studies as digital assets. If customers are willing, you can also create case study videos or podcasts where you sit down with customers and discuss the challenges they faced, the solution they chose and the results they achieved.
Your customers are also influencers. Because they lend an objective voice to your marketing messaging, see if they would agree to write a guest blog or participate as part of a panel of experts in an influencer E-book on the state of the industry.
These are just six possible ways to create content that boosts your ABM success. There are many more out there. Be creative, always aligning with your overall ABM strategy.
Be sure to read our E-book Maximizing ABM Success for more smart tactics and videos from seven top ABM influencers.
Brenda Caine is a senior content strategist at Content4Demand. She works with B2B clients on content marketing strategy, personas, messaging and ideation; content audits, gap analysis and content mapping; blogs; content development and more. Brenda has a black belt in karate, and when she’s not immersed in technology, you can find her dancing in the ballet studio, lifting weights at the gym or strolling down the avenue in a 1930s dress with a smart hat to match.