As many have described it, ABM flips the funnel to start with a small, targeted group of accounts rather than casting a wide net for leads. ABM content holds the strategy together.
While Demand Gen Report’s 2019 ABM Benchmark Survey shows that 33% of businesses are still in the early stages of implementing ABM, businesses have increasingly recognized that ABM plays an essential role in meeting revenue goals as well as improving the customer experience and getting ahead of the competition. In the survey, only 6% of respondents said they have not yet dived into ABM.
Among the challenges businesses face when implementing successful ABM strategies is developing targeted content for specific accounts and personas (30% of respondents). This is where your role as a content marketer comes in. How can you help your company develop the targeted ABM content it needs? What tactics will help make your ABM efforts successful? How can you become a true partner for your sales force?
Align Your Tactics With Your ABM Strategy
SiriusDecisions breaks ABM down into four types. Here’s a quick summary.
- Large-account marketing focuses on a small number of high-value prospects. In this scenario, sales and marketing must work closely together and provide a one-to-one marketing experience.
- Named-account marketing takes a small group of current and prospective accounts, usually 10 to 50, that are assigned to a sales representative by geography or another criterion. This is typically one-to-few ABM.
- Industry/segment marketing limits marketing efforts to a specific industry or market segment. Sales reps in this case will focus on a single industry/segment. The strategy here is typically similar to named-account marketing; i.e., a one-to-few strategy.
- Customer marketing recognizes that businesses need to support the customer after the purchase. Here the focus is on retention, cross-selling, and upselling. This is most important for a small number of high-value accounts, products with periodic renewals and solutions with low switching costs.
ABM Content That Hits the Mark
Once your company has determined its ABM strategy or strategies, here are nine tactics to help you become a key contributor to success.
Tactic #1: Create content that demonstrates a deep understanding of the industry.
White papers, industry trend reports, blogs, content with high-profile industry influencers, market reports/outlooks and other content that includes hard data for support will build that trust with your target accounts.
For named-account marketing, you could focus on common forces driving all businesses in the region, like the economy or business climate. This content establishes your company as a reliable and expert source for information and advice and as a good business partner.
Tactic #2: Tap influencers.
Well-known industry analysts, business leaders and other industry influencers can support tactic #1. Use influencers for blogs, webinar presentations, research reports, industry-trend e-books and white papers.
Tactic #3: Customize content.
Customize web pages or landing pages for specific accounts (one-to-one) or a specific segment (one-to-few). Direct your accounts to pages created especially for them. Address their challenges and needs.
You can also customize by persona within a buying group. When you’re targeting a small, high-value group of accounts, you know the personas and buying groups, so use that knowledge to speak directly to them.
Tactic #4: Develop buyer-facing sales enablement tools.
ABM is all about sales and marketing working together as a team, and you need to support sales with high-value content. You have two customers you need to serve: the buyer/buying group and your sales rep. Content here could include sales decks, ROI calculators, solution briefs, case studies and case study portfolios, and best practices or implementation guides.
Tactic #5: Arm sales with internal-facing resources.
Following on tactic #3, make sure your sales team has the tools it needs to go into customer or prospect meetings well prepared. Some examples of content here include personas, persona messaging maps, campaign messaging guides, battle cards, campaign tool kits, solution comparison matrices, sales playbooks and emails that sales can personalize to communicate with customers and prospects.
Tactic #6: Get tactile.
When you’re wooing a big account, you need to pull out all the stops. These accounts represent a big chunk of revenue; don’t hesitate to spend money for a thoughtful, personalized gift. Make it something your recipients can keep on their desk or use frequently to keep your company top of mind.
I worked for a utility in the Southwest that sent baskets with chips and salsa, including silicon chips, to send the message that our region was attractive to technology companies.
Tactic #7: Accelerate the pipeline.
Identify those accounts that have stalled in the sales process. Then create content to get them moving again. It could be a personalized email from the sales rep with a newly published research report, a gift or an invitation to an upcoming event. For this tactic, don’t forget your field marketing team. You can tie a communication to a field marketing event.
Tactic #8: Reversion to scale your efforts.
We’ve been focusing on personalization and customization, but that doesn’t mean you have to start from scratch with every account. Take existing content and change the messaging as needed for your other targeted accounts. This will speed the content development process and help keep your costs down.
Tactic #9: Take care of your customers.
Give them helpful information on how to work with you or get the most from your solutions. Create cross-sell and upsell marketing campaigns to grow the business. Don’t forget retention campaigns to hold onto your valued customers. Content here could include periodic newsletters, customer-only web pages, periodic webinars to update them on your solutions and how-to videos.
Ready to dig into ABM content strategy? Check out “ABM Workout Plan: A Crawl, Walk, Run Approach to Obtaining Buyer Data.” Content4Demand works with companies at every level of experience with ABM to help create, tune and execute successful ABM campaigns. Let us know if we can help you get started or take your strategy to the next level.