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6 steps for getting started with ABM

July 2, 2019

Account-based marketing is gaining in popularity across the B2B sector. Why? Because it works!

Data driven marketers who use ABM report upticks in almost every KPI. 

  • A study by Demandbase found that 19% of companies using ABM for at least a year reported more than 30% growth in revenue
  • A SiriusDecisions survey found that 91% of marketers using ABM see a larger deal size, with 25% seeing their deal sizes grow by more than 50%
  • ITSMA found that companies using ABM saw an 84% rise in reputation score and a 74% improvement in customer relationships

Some companies believe that switching from a conventional B2B sales and marketing strategy over to ABM is difficult. However, it’s actually really simple!

Here are our six tips for ABM success.

6 tips for ABM success

1 – Build your ABM team

ABM, focusing your B2B sales and marketing operations on a small number of highly-targeted accounts, requires a change in thinking around the way you sell.

One of these changes involves getting your marketing and sales teams to work much more closely. You need to build an ABM team of people with different roles, but common aims.

These could include:

  • Sales reps
  • Sales operations
  • Marketing operations
  • Content producers (e.g. writers, designers)
  • Customer success reps

2 – Define your ABM goals

If you don’t know what your goals are, how will you know when you have achieved success?

Plus, giving your ABM team clearly defined goals helps focus their efforts. Think about what you want to accomplish from your new ABM strategy.

Start by asking yourself some questions:

  • Are you using ABM to launch a new product to the market?
  • Do you want to target a new customer segment?
  • Are you looking for new business or more spend from existing customers?

Once you have defined your goals, make sure you have the right technology in your organisation to help your ABM team achieve them.

For example, will you need lead generation tech to help you identify your targets? Will you need sales automation software? Will you need to adapt your CRM to help you find ABM victory?

3 – Select your target accounts

The next stage of getting started with ABM is possibly the most important.

Who are the companies you are going to target?

Think about the goals you have set out at the last stage.

One way to define your target accounts is to consider what kind of companies are already your customers. Then, look at their competitors. If you are providing value to several companies in a specific industry, it’s likely you can provide value to all the others too.

There may also be companies you dream of landing as customers, for the money, the prestige or both. ABM puts you in a great position to hit these ambitious targets.

The next step is to find out everything you can about your target accounts. You need to discover who is on the decision-making committee for your target accounts.

In particular, you'll need to discover the following:

  • What are the motivating factors for everyone who would have an input into purchasing your product?
  • How can you reach them with the kind of messaging that will make them want to buy?

4 – Create personalised messaging

ABM is all about creating content that resonates with every individual who has an input into buying decisions at your target account.

The more personal you can get, the better.

Ideally, you want to create one-off content, addressing their specific needs - no copy and pasting.

Think about what sort of content will work best with each particular individual:

  • Email
  • Social media
  • Video
  • Articles or whitepapers
  • Programmatic advertising
  • Webinars

You may even go as far as putting on events for your target accounts. 

Next, it’s time to get creative.

5 – Just do it!

Preparation over. It’s time to get ABMing!

Use your chosen tech to start distributing the content you have created to the people you have chosen.

You also need to deploy your sales reps to start making inroads into your target accounts. Get them to make cold calls, set up meetings and demos.

If your targeting is accurate, account based selling is going to provide an increased conversion rate and shorter sales cycle than traditional sales.

If your content is good and well-dispersed, your buyers will already know who you are. You know the interest they have in your product. You see the solution you provide for them. It’s time to move them through your customer journey.

6 – Evaluate and iterate

Starting with ABM can be a trial and error process. Your sales intelligence software should be able to tell you after a short while what kinds of messages are resonating and what are not.

Your sales reps will hear from their prospects what lines of attack work better than others.

If something is working well, double down on it. If something else is failing, switch it out. Use A/B testing to hone your ABM strategy to perfection.

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