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What You Need to Know to Get Started with Account-Based Marketing

January 18, 2017

By Joshua Nite

Account-based marketing (ABM) is a white-hot buzzword for B2B marketers right now. You see it everywhere: guides, eBooks, infographics, blog posts by handsome bald content marketers–the works. Yet as much as everyone is talking about ABM, there’s still plenty of confusion about what it is and how best to do it.

It’s all well and good to say, “We should get some of that sweet account-based marketing; I hear it’s a gold mine.” But implementing a program in a strategic way takes a little more digging.

What Is Account-Based Marketing?

My favorite definition of ABM comes from Engagio CEO Jon Miller:

“Account-based marketing: a strategic approach that coordinates personalized marketing and sales efforts to open doors and deepen engagement at specific accounts.” – Jon Miller, Engagio

Think of traditional marketing as a confetti cannon. You set it off, it blankets the entire audience in confetti, and hopefully the one or two people you really wanted to confetti-ize get covered.

In a similar metaphor, ABM is a T-shirt cannon. It aims to deliver a valuable payload directly to specific roles–even specific individuals–in key accounts. Instead of roping in and audience that might include your most valuable people, you’re identifying the most valuable ones ahead of time and not wasting effort on anyone else.

Like content marketing, ABM is a concept that has been around for a long time, but technology makes it more feasible to do it at scale. The ad men of the 60’s went after big-money accounts with laser precision, spending hours crafting elaborate proposals on spec.

Now with email automation software, CRM, targeting platforms, and other martech, finding the right audience and personalizing content is much more efficient than it used to be. Some level of ABM is bound to be the right fit for your organization. Here’s how to get started.

#1: Sit Down with Sales

ABM is situated somewhere between sales and marketing. Neither department fully owns it; they need to work closely together to be successful. Sales will need to identify key accounts. Marketing needs to produce the content salespeople can use to create and nurture relationships. Sales needs to report back on what content is working, identify gaps, and request content to fill them. And so on.

This whole delicate back-and-forth will only work if your sales and marketing departments are tightly aligned. Now is the time to sit down together, schedule regular joint meetings for the foreseeable future, and start a genuine conversation. Agree on definitions, purpose, and goals. Discuss the rest of this list with sales and make decisions together.

When you’re running a successful ABM campaign, the lines between your two departments should start to blur. Think of it as creating a new team: The Department of Revenue. That has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

#2: Choose Your Level

There is no single right way to do ABM. Note …read more

Source:: Top Rank Blog