In our recent article on the topic, we covered the basics of account-based marketing (ABM). We talked about creating ideal customer profiles. Research for target accounts; Alignment of sales and marketing to central goals and processes; and the benefits of account-based marketing.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s turn to key best practices for using a unified CRM to fuel your ABM efforts.
Eight Best Practices for ABM Success with a Unified CRM
Use the following tactics to maximize the ROI of your ABM initiatives.
1. Secure buy-in from internal stakeholders
Your account-based marketing program will only be successful if you receive a buy-in from your sales and marketing directors. They allocate the respective budgets to their teams. Unless you are fully committed or convinced of the value of an ABM program, the chances of your work being successful are exponentially less.
Both teams and their leaders need to be involved in every step of the process. You don’t want to spend a month preparing your strategy and approach only to later discover that there isn’t enough budget or time to execute the strategy.
2. Build your ABM team
Who will drive your ABM efforts? You don’t want to apply your account-based marketing method to all prospect and customer upsell accounts. You need to choose the right people to join the program and distribute it to a select group of prospects.
A good start is to start with a pilot program to test the water (more on this below). Pick the people who you think are best suited for the job. This first team should include a marketer and at least one sales representative.
This sales rep should have few accounts due to the extensive research and public relations work. We recommend that you limit the accounts a single employee owns / manages to eight or fewer to start with. If you spread a salesperson too thinly, they may not be able to expend the time and effort it takes to make your ABM program a success.
PRO TYPE: Don’t forget to talk to key members of other teams, such as B. Customer success, which play a role in your program.
3. Align sales and marketing
When it comes to aligning sales and marketing, more than the two teams get along well. It requires them to align their thought processes with multiple variables and goals. This includes building consensus on how accounts are identified and aligned, how ABM plans are created, and what roles each team will play throughout the process.
4. Account identification and selection
From then on, you’ll be using your unified CRM to drive your program forward. All of the data stored in your CRM makes it easy to identify the accounts with the greatest potential for generating the highest revenue.
It is important that the data is entered into your CRM according to your established process. This data provides insight into the challenges, goals, and needs of each target account so you can personalize your reach and develop content that aligns with these variables.
In addition, you can find out in your CRM data which engagement channels the contacts of a target account use most often. They also get insight into their preferred content and the results of previous conversations with sales. This knowledge will help you in the planning phase.
PRO TYPE: As you move on, consider using your unified CRM to set up an account-based rating model. This model should give points to individual contacts if they take action that suggests they fit your ideal customer profile. Aggregate these points for a total score to identify new candidates for future ABM efforts.
5. Account Planning: Building Your ABM Strategy
At this stage, you want to document the types of contact that will best address your target account. They also define strategies for campaign cadence and prospect management.
Additional tactics for ABM account planning include:
- Creating account-specific messages to fuel content creation and face-to-face contact
- Developing personalized content that offers solutions to the challenges of any account
- Define the metrics that you are tracking to measure success
- Determine which channels your content should be delivered through and what stage of the buyer’s journey it should be delivered
PRO TYPE: Sales and marketing should work together on all of this from the start. Both teams need to be on the same page in all aspects of the process from start to finish.
6. Create automated workflows in your unified CRM
They use your CRM data to identify the best accounts to target. Then use the marketing automation features in your unified solution to create carefully defined workflows that control your reach and internal processes during an ABM campaign.
For example, you can set up an automated triggered email that is sent when a contact in your target account takes a certain action. This allows you to deliver personalized content to the right stakeholders on the prospect at the right time. This moves the account further through the sales cycle.
7. Start with a pilot campaign
When you first start, try a pilot campaign for one or two accounts and use your defined ABM method. Your ABM program may vary slightly from course. If so, you should minimize the impact of potential mistakes along the way.
A pilot program serves as a learning experience and shows you where to improve, what worked and ultimately refines your ABM strategy.
8. Measure ABM results and refine your methodology
Since you’ve already defined the metrics you want to track, it’s easy to measure the performance and results of your pilot program. Not least because your unified CRM tracks and collects data for analysis from day one.
The reports and analysis generated by your CRM will highlight areas for improvement so you can refine your approach.
Make it easier to get started with account-based marketing and continuously improve your strategy and the associated tactics. When you’re ready to shift your program into fifth gear, your methodology should be completely solid.
Ready to start?
If you follow the best practices above, you are much more likely to run a successful ABM program and achieve success in less time. As you try to give it wings, you will stomp through a series of mistakes caused by trial and error. With a set methodology in place, you’ll have a roadmap that outlines the steps you need to take to prepare, build, and launch your account-based marketing.