How to use Account Based Marketing in South Africa

Written by
Ace Morwalle

What is Account-Based Marketing?

Account-Based Marketing or ABM is a strategic approach in which an organisation considers and communicates with individual prospect or customer accounts as individual markets. Basically, through a research process, you decide which businesses or accounts you want to do business with and you market to the decision-makers in those companies.

Why is ABM important to your business?

An ABM strategy compliments the traditional short-term marketing goals of generating leads with efforts aimed at driving long-term revenue growth. An ABM strategy can help your marketing team be laser-focused on the best potential clients. For example, instead of broadly targeting going after small businesses and enterprises, you can start by focusing on those accounts that have the highest need and the required budget.

Preparing your business for ABM

Preparing for Account-Based Marketing in an organisation mainly involves securing organisational ABM alignment and building the account-based marketing team. To create a consistent experience for your accounts which is efficient and streamlined, all internal stakeholders will need to have an understanding of various factors related to your ABM strategy:

  • Organisational members directly involved in the strategy
  • Buyer committee members and account stakeholders
  • The internal point-of-difference for each account
  • ABM budget and resources
  • ABM goals and KPIs.

With everyone on the same page, leaders in the discussion regarding how the ABM strategy will be carried out then have the task of identifying marketing and sales reps who will be completely dedicated to the accounts chosen. Choosing the right people for these accounts is important because they will be responsible for creating and publishing content for the accounts. They will also do the work required to manage and close deals with each account’s buying committee.

The Process

1. Identify your target

To start, marketing and sales teams need to work together to develop a key list of target accounts. They can do this effectively by looking at a number of factors such as industry, company size, location revenue in addition to other strategic factors such as market influence and the likelihood of a repeat purchase. Think of the ideal customer or deal your business would love to replicate. With the experience of your sales and marketing teams, a small set of target accounts can be produced that you want to centre you your business around.

2. Research your accounts

Here you want your marketing and sales teams digging further into the list of high-value accounts and creating plans for those accounts. The goal is to understand what the company structure is, where the key players sit within those accounts, who the decision-makers and influencers are, where they can be found, and so forth. Data on these buying committee members will be imperative to crafting a marketing and sales SLA.

3. Create your content

Once you know who the key players are, the idea is to create brand new content for each of these target accounts that speak to their specific pain points. In this way, you are then less focused on creating content based on personas and casting a wide net at the top of the funnel for new business. Instead, you are able to focus on personalised or single-specific deals at specific organisations.

4. Choose your channels

There are a number of ways to go about distributing your content, including:

  • Engaging accounts on social media by joining groups they’re in, or contributing to conversations they are about,  and sharing helpful and relevant content that you have created.
  • Producing a podcast of video series and inviting a leader from the account to be a special guest.
  • Sponsoring a booth at a target accounts conference or event.
  • Sending a direct message via social media or a direct email or post.
  • Building custom landing pages tailored to their needs questions and concerns.
  • Creating ad campaigns and social ads to target different factors such as location skill and job title.

The key concept is to coordinate the messaging across your channels. The idea would be not to send different messages to the same person or account through different channels. The point of all these tailored interactions is to help you forge strong relationships between you and buying committee members through consistent efforts, whether online or in person.

5. Run and measure campaign results

Monitoring success is part of any process, so need to be tracking metrics that can help explain your success in order to replicate and tweak where necessary. In the case of an ABM strategy, rather than asking questions about individuals, you're asking questions about the companies themselves.

Are we growing a list of the individuals at a certain target company? How much revenue has been generated from a specific set of target accounts? Not: How many leads do we have in total or how many companies have we generated in total?

The idea is that you are focused on a specific set of target accounts and are measuring your results against that set of specific accounts.

How your business benefits

1. Marketing and Sales Alignment

You can deliver a better return on effort in the B2B space with ABM. When you implement ABM, marketing teams benefit because sales see the marketing team as a trusted ally that can be relied upon. It brings the two teams together, creating a defined list that both teams agree to make the most promising targets.

2. Streamlining the sales cycle

The whole strategy perfectly complements the account-based approach sales teams have embraced for years. When there is buy-in from the marketing team and therefore an increase in resources towards an ABM strategy, sales teams can better personalise their outreach.

Nurturing target members of the buying committee with appropriate marketing messages will help speed up the sales process allowing sales to achieve better close rates while closing bigger deals faster.

3. Maximising business relevance among high-value accounts

Leverage ABM to better serve your customers. Buyers prefer personalised interactions, which ABM delivers on. Serving targeted content and messages that resonate does not take upfront work, but customers will recognise and appreciate this and the fact that you don’t waste their time with ads that miss the mark and will turn buyers into ambassadors.

Final Thoughts

Account-based marketing can be overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be. By implementing software — such as HubSpot’s ABM software — you’ll be able to identify valuable accounts more efficiently, reduce any friction impacting your processes, and grow better.

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